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Hosea

June 3, 2009

Background

I. Introduction Hosea 1:1

II. Hosea Lives the Word of the Lord Hosea 1:2-3:4

III. Hosea Speaks the Word of the Lord Hosea 4:1-7:16

  1. Israel’s Sin Exposed                                Hosea 4:1-19
  2. Israel and Judah are Chastised           Hosea 5:1-15
  3. A Call to Repent                                         Hosea 6:1-7:16

IV. Why the Lord Blows His Trumpet Hosea 8:1-13:16

  1. Israel Has Rejected God                                  Hosea 8:1-14
  2. Israel Has Rejected God’s Law                     Hosea 9:1-17
  3. Israel Has Rejected God’s Purpose              Hosea 10:1-15
  4. Israel Has Rejected God’s Love                        Hosea 11:1-11
  5. Israel Has Rejected God’s Will                          Hosea 11:12:12:14
  6. Israel Has Rejected Their Lord and Savior    Hosea 13:1-16
  7. A Short Summary                                                     Hosea 8:1-13:16

V. Repentance is the Prerequisite for Redemption Hosea 14:1-9

Background

Hosea prophesied exclusively to the northern kingdom, Israel, approximately
757-725 BC. Essentially, he followed Amos [765-753 BC] but for a short time
they were contemporaries of one another. Hosea is the last of God’s prophets
to Israel in that Israel was exiled to Assyria in 722 BC. He prophesied during
the reigns of Jeroboam II, Zechariah [6 mo.], Shallum [1 mo.], Manahem and Pehahiah
as co-rulers with Pekah, and Hoshea. It was a time of much upheaval in Israel.
Isaiah and Micah were also contemporaries of Hosea in Judah.

Our knowledge of Hosea is again limited. He is the last of five prophets associated
with the northern kingdom, Israel. Elijah, Elisha, Jonah, and Hosea lived in
Israel. Amos did not. Isaiah and Micah lived and prophesied in the south, Judah,
but some of their prophecies also related to Israel in the north. In one sense,
Hosea’s prophetic writings were the only ones surviving in Israel. Elijah’s
and Elisha’s stories were more history than prophetic and recorded in I Kings.
Jonah’s record was historical too concerning Nineveh. Amos lived south of Bethlehem
even though he prophesied at Bethel on the border between Israel and Judah.
That leaves Hosea, who lived and prophesied in Israel. This proves the point
I have made when commenting on the writings of Hosea’s contemporaries, that
the Lord’s prophets living in Israel were under severe persecution and feared
for their lives. They may have been bold in speech, assuming they even existed,
but they left no hard evidence which could convict them or their writings were
found and destroyed. See Amos 5:10, 12-13.

There is a lesson here and that is when government oppresses freedom of expression
[i.e. speech, censorship, religion, etc], they fall to insignificance at a faster
rate. Such freedom bothers us when it works against our beliefs but it is that
same freedom which enables us to be bold without fear of persecution when presenting
God’s Word as Truth.

Introduction                                                                Hosea 1:1

Hosea is the son of Beeri and prophesied during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham,
Ahaz, and Hezekiah in Judah and during the reign of Jeroboam II in Israel. Therefore,
he was a contemporary of Isaiah, prophesying in Israel when Isaiah was prophesying
to Judah. This is really all we know about Hosea except for his personal life
in Hosea 1:2-3:4. We believe he prophesied and lived in Israel because his words
are specifically directed to Israel. The fact that Hosea lists both the kings
of Judah and of Israel gives credibility to my conclusions in Isaiah that God
still views His people as one nation even though they are divided. God’s covenant
is still valid and it covers all His people, Israel and Judah.

The Word of the Lord came to Hosea, the same as for Amos. There is no mention
of visions as was true for Isaiah and Micah prophesying in Judah. This is interesting
but probably not an important distinction. The Word of the Lord is what is important.
The vehicle by which it is delivered is not important. We are to be open to
His Word and not concern ourselves with His method of delivery. We are to be
open and discerning, verifying what is said with Scripture or we are apt to
fall prey to charlatans, false prophets, those whose only purpose is to gain
wealth at the expense of needy people. Be open- minded, discerning, objective,
and confirm what you hear with His Word, the Bible. God does not contradict
Himself. Look for true humility in God’s messengers. There is true humility,
there are those who pretend to be humble, and there are people of arrogance.
God’s servants are those having humility. Be patient. Discernment takes time
and much prayer. Discernment is God’s gift to His humble servants. Serve the
Lord in humility and with humility. Hosea did.

Hosea Lives the Word of the Lord                                   Hosea 1:2-3:4

The Lord speaks to Hosea and asks him to take a wife of harlotry and have
children of harlotry because Israel is acting like a harlot with God. This is
such an unorthodox request from God that many believe it is a myth. Perhaps
Gomer was not originally a harlot but God knew her heart and her weakness. Perhaps
Gomer herself was a child of a harlot. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Hosea took
Gomer as his wife and they had three children. The first born was a son named
Jezreel meaning “punishment” because soon God was going to punish
the descendants of Jehu because he killed more than God intended or authorized
and God was going to bring punishment upon Israel for her sin. In fact Assyria
would do battle with Israel in the valley of Jezreel and conquer her. Gomer
conceives again and has a daughter named Ruhamah meaning “lack of compassion”
because God no longer had compassion for Israel. Gomer’s third child was another
son named Ammi meaning “you are not mine” because God was no longer
Israel’s God. Scholars speculate, correctly I believe, that Jezreel was the
product of Hosea and Gomer whereas Ruhamah and Ammi were the products of Gomer’s
harlot experiences [Hosea 2:1-5].

In spite of this unfortunate beginning between God and Israel [Hosea and Gomer],
Israel can look forward to many descendants and being reinstated as God’s children.
In fact, Israel and Judah will be one nation again under one king [vs. 10-11].
Jezreel is the legitimate child, the godly remnant that will be restored one
day. Their king will be the King of Kings, the Lord God, their Messiah, the
Lord Jesus Christ who will return to rule over them in the Millennium [see Rev.
19-20].

Marriage is a good analogy with which to picture and portray our relationship
with God. The Lord used it often to reveal that we are His children [I John
1:12], the Church is His bride [Rev. 19:7, 21:9], that He is the bridegroom
[Matt. 25:1, 5], and that our marriage feast will be with Him in heaven [Matt.
25:10]. Faithfulness is what makes a marriage good, sound, beautiful, and fulfilling.
God is always faithful but we have failures. God was faithful to Israel but
Israel was not faithful to God. Hosea was faithful to Gomer but Gomer was not
faithful to Hosea. Nothing breaks the bond of marriage quicker than unfaithfulness.
And such was true between Hosea and Gomer and between God and Israel. In Chapter
2:1-5 we sense the disappointment, pain, and anger Hosea has toward Gomer. In
verses 7-8 we learn that Hosea attempts to protect her, shield her, support
her, and, therefore, woo Gomer back as his faithful wife. It doesn’t work so
Hosea has no choice but to expose her harlotry and cut off her support [vs.
9-13]. Instead of loving his wife, Hosea now resorts to punishing his wife.
They have now separated, each going their own way. So in conclusion, the relationship
between God and Israel is no different than the relationship between Hosea and
Gomer. The relationship is broken and no longer exists. God and Hosea have both
attempted to heal and restore their relationship with Israel and Gomer respectively.
It hasn’t worked so now Israel and Gomer must suffer the consequences for their
unfaithfulness.

Chapter 2:14-23 focuses on Israel only. God talks about how He plans to restore
Israel to her former place of honor and respect. God is going to take Israel
into the wilderness where there are no distractions and speak kindly to her.
God is going to woo her all over again. He is going to give her gifts and hope.
Her emotions will change from sadness to joy and she will sing. Her idols will
be replaced by God. God will have a new program [covenant] in place, protecting
them from wild beasts and war. They will live safe and secure in righteousness,
justice, loving-kindness, compassion, and faithfulness because they will know
the Lord God. It will be a time of prosperity and blessing. Israel will return
to her land [they did in 1948] because of the Lord’s compassion [forgiveness]
toward them. Israel will become God’s people again and confess that the Lord
God is their God. Once again Israel will call upon the Lord and depend on Him.

The story of Hosea’s life returns in Chapter 3 verses 1-5. It mirrors what
God has just said concerning His own restoration with Israel. Hosea is told
to go love an adulteress woman. God’s love never left Israel and Hosea’s love
for Gomer is still alive even though they have gone separate ways. Hosea buys
Gomer back as a slave. This symbolizes Jesus Christ dying for our sin that we
might live. Gomer is being weaned from her life of harlotry by Hosea’s love,
devotion, and protection. The same is true for Israel and for each of us. We
are all born in sin and need a Savior which is Christ the Lord. God has redeemed
us with His Son, Jesus Christ. He has paid the price for our sin. We need to
believe Him, believe on Him, depend on Him, and place our faith in Him.

He, the Lord Jesus Christ, is showering us with His love and protection because
He wants us to know Him as Lord and Savior, our King of Kings. This is happening
to us each day as individuals created by Him and for Him. It is happening to
Israel as they re-habitate their land. It happened to Gomer because of Hosea’s
unconditional love toward her. One day soon, Israel will tremble and acknowledge
the Lord God and their King, the Lord Jesus Christ. In the last days, God’s
goodness will reign. Therefore, we have seen God’s plan for Israel, to love
her, to bring her back home, to bless her, and to reveal Himself to her as their
King. Today, Israel is without a king, or prince, or sacrificial system. Soon
Israel will tremble at His feet and acknowledge their Messiah and King. God’s
plan is in motion soon to be completed. Praise His Holy Name. Let us experience
God’s forgiveness and goodness by bowing at His feet and calling Him Lord and
King of our lives.

This has been a general overview of Chapters 1-3. Read it more closely noting
the detail written about the prophecy of the Lord God concerning Israel as described
in the lives of Hosea and Gomer. May our sadness turn to joy and hope because
we know the Lord God.

Hosea Speaks the Word of the Lord                             Hosea 4:1-7:16

Israel’s Sin Exposed                                      Hosea 4:1-19

The Lord’s Word comes to Hosea and he clearly defines Israel’s sin against
the Lord. Here is a list of specifics.

Sins of Omission Sins of Commission
Faithfulness [vs. 1]Love [vs. 1]

Acknowledge God [vs.1]

Discipline & self-control [vs. 2]

Cursing [vs. 2]Lying [vs. 2]

Murder [vs. 2[

Stealing [vs. 2]

Adultery [vs. 2]

Bloodshed [vs. 2]

Mourning [vs. 3]

Sickness [vs. 3]

Death [vs. 3]

Verse 4 discusses Israel’s sins in a more general and inclusive manner. No
one is free of wrong doing. Even the priests are guilty. The people sin day
and night and the prophets [those who follow God] are too weak to resist the
people. Therefore, destruction will fall upon Israel because Israel lacks knowledge
of God, including the priests. God’s Laws are not revered, respected, or taught,
let alone obeyed. In fact, the priests are leading the people astray, away from
God’s Laws, away from God’s Word. The more the people sin, the wealthier the
priests become. They engage in prostitution instead of God’s Word. They worship
idols instead of the Lord God. Even their children engage in prostitution. The
priests have no wisdom or knowledge of right and wrong.

God promises not to punish their daughters and daughters-in-law for engaging
in prostitution or adultery. God accuses the men for promoting it because they
engage in adultery and visit harlots. They, as leaders of their families, have
failed to take responsibility for their behavior or the behavior of their family
members.

Hosea cautions Judah [vs. 15] not to follow in Israel’s footsteps. Judah is
exhorted to avoid visiting Israel’s pagan shrines. Judah is advised not to be
stubborn as is Israel. Israel is so stubborn that when the wine is gone they
still continue to engage in their shameful ways. Therefore, Israel will be swept
away along with all their sinful practices like a whirlwind sweeps the land.
The whirlwind will expose Israel’s shame.

Disobeying the Lord is serious. We may think the Lord doesn’t see us or care
but He is grieved by our sinful behavior. God will do all in His power to turn
us around and point us in the right direction. Refusal on our part leaves Him
no choice but to wipe the slate clean and expose our shame. The Lord gives us
many chances to change our ways and follow Him. Failure to change guarantees
punishment and even death. Only by humbly seeking Him and repenting of our sin
can we receive forgiveness for our sin and restoration as His child. Follow
the Lord and His Word, not the crowd or culture in which we live.

Israel and Judah are Chastised                                         Hosea 5:1-15

Hosea “shouts” to get the attention of all Israel but especially
its’ leaders, the priests, and those in government positions. Israel is corrupt
[vs. 3]. They have prostituted themselves and turned to other gods [vs. 4].
They are arrogant [vs. 5]. The leaders have led the people astray [vs. 1]. Their
deeds have entrapped them such that they are unable to repent and turn to God
[vs. 4]. See also Hebrews 6. The people of Israel are wandering and stumbling
in sin as is Judah [probably under King Ahaz]. They willingly sacrifice to the
Lord but their hearts are not right. They are just going through the motions.
Intermarriage with pagan cultures is acceptable and so is the worship of idols.
They have no further desire to be God’s chosen people, pure and holy before
Him. They prefer to be like those nations around them instead of being separated
unto God.

Therefore, the Lord is blowing His trumpet and sounding the battle cry. The
Lord is going to war against Israel [vs. 8-9]. Judah is included [vs. 10, 12,
13]. Israel will even attempt to appease the Assyrians by paying tribute to
Tiglath-Pileser III. But God is sovereign and has committed to punish Israel
and Judah with exile [vs. 14]. God is abandoning His people until they can admit
their sin and repent [vs. 15]. Israel and Judah will fall as a nation to such
a low point that they will eventually turn back to the Lord.

This is what we call “tough love” today. God still loves His people
but He is willing to impose drastic measures in order to prevent His people
from destroying themselves completely. He is willing to let them fall so low
that they can only look up at His face. What God’s love is willing to do for
Israel is no different than He is willing to do for any nation and any individual.
“God is the same; yesterday, today , and forever [Heb. 13:6].” God’s
love is unconditional but it doesn’t preclude His discipline and judgment against
us when we refuse to follow Him. God’s wants to redeem us and restore us unto
Him [John 3:16-21]. It is we who choose to condemn ourselves by refusing to
seek God and acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior. God is full of mercy and love
but He must judge sin for what it is; failure to acknowledge God as God Almighty
and accept Him as Savior and Lord. At this time, are you and I acting like Israelites
or one of God’s prophets? Let’s take heed, repent, and turn to the Lord God.
He will receive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness, restoring us as
His Child. Praise His Name and Glorify Him today and forever.

A Call to Repent                                      Hosea 6:1-7:16

Hosea calls Israel and Judah to repent of their sin so the Lord can heal them.
The Lord has already begun punishing His people for their sin but not to the
extent that He can not bind up their wounds, revive them as His chosen people,
and usher them into His Presence. If that is to happen, Israel must acknowledge
the Lord as their God. If Israel repents, God is faithful and will restore them.

Israel’s and Judah’s love for the Lord is compared to a morning mist or dew.
It is present for only a short time and then disappears. It is neither genuine
nor lasting. Therefore, God has been sending prophets to warn them and to exhort
them to repent and seek the Lord before He exercises His judgment upon them.
God wants Israel to be merciful and loving to one another as He is.

Israel and Judah have much to repent for. They have broken God’s covenant
and been unfaithful to God. They have shed much blood. Even the priests have
participated in the shedding of innocent blood. Israel is concerned with themselves
and not others. It’s “I” and “me” instead of “you”
and “them”. Idol worship trumps the worship of the Lord God. They
have defiled their covenant to be God’s people and resorted to idol worship,
prostituting themselves before the Lord. Hosea focuses on Israel but Judah is
also guilty and will experience the Lords’ wrath [vs. 11].

Chapter 7 retreats back to the theme in Chapter 4, revealing their sins. If
Israel is to be restored, their sin must be revealed. In other words, repentance
requires that one acknowledge their sin. It is impossible to repent of a sinful
act if one refuses to understand it is sinful. That is why God gave Israel His
Ten Commandments. The Commandments reveal to Israel that stealing is sin, lying
is sin, adultery is sin, refusing to acknowledge and worship God is sin, killing
their rulers is sin, intermarriage is sin, pride and arrogance is sin, and refusing
to seek the Lord is sin.

Israel is easily deceived and they seek security through treaties with Egypt
and Assyria instead of relying on God to protect them. Therefore, God is going
to gather them together like “flocking birds” and destroy them because
they have rebelled against the Lord God. God longs to redeem them but they refuse
to seek God. They refuse to be redeemed by God. In fact, they plot evil against
the Lord. Therefore, their leaders will be killed and Egypt will ridicule them.
Israel is no longer a nation who honors God and is a witness to other nations
that the God who brought them out of Egypt is the one and only Lord God Almighty,
the Creator God.

We must acknowledge our sin, repent, and acknowledge the Lord God, seeking
His mercy and His power of redemption and restoration as His people. Failure
to do so guarantees our destruction whereas repentance guarantees His Presence
in our lives. There is only one way to live and that is to possess His peace
and assurance through repenting of our sin and seeking His mercy and forgiveness.
Then our hearts will be filled with joy in genuine praise and worship to the
Almighty Lord God.

Why the Lord Blows His Trumpet                            Hosea 8:1-10:15

Israel Has Rejected God                                      Hosea 8:1-14

God is punishing Israel for who she has become. The Lord is blowing His trumpet
announcing judgment upon His children. Israel has broken their covenant with
God [vs. 1], rebelled against God’s Law [vs. 1], and rejected the Lord God [vs.
3]. Israel cries out to God but their cries are heartless. Their cries are ceremony
and not worship. They do not seek the Lord God with humble hearts asking forgiveness
of their sins and seeking wisdom from God. God is left out of their key decisions
such as choosing their kings and leaders. Their wealth/blessings from God are
directed toward idol worship instead of helping the needy. They no longer bear
fruit and glorify God and, therefore, are no longer a witness for God to the
surrounding nations [vs. 7]. Israel would rather be like the other nations,
worthless to God. Israel depends on themselves and other nations for protection.
They have many worship centers but they carry no meaning. They have chosen to
ignore God and His Word. God is not happy with their wickedness and, therefore,
commits them back into slavery [like Egypt] and destruction. Unfortunately,
Judah is following in Israel’s footsteps.

Rejecting God guarantees our destruction. The Lord God requires that we worship
Him. He created us in love and called us to glorify and worship Him. Failure
to do so brings His rejection and judgment. It isn’t enough to just attend worship
services. We are to WORSHIP HIM with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.
Worship is not an activity, it is a lifestyle of the heart. We are to worship
Him in Spirit and truth [John 4:21-24]. We are to love and obey God’s Word.
We are to include Him in all the decisions we make, asking His wisdom. True
genuine worship is critical to knowing and understanding God’s Will. It is serious
business. There are many styles and formats for worship but the style we choose
must promote true and genuine worship of God in our hearts. Worship is not a
performance but a personal genuine humbling of oneself before God. The elements
of worship must include praise, thanksgiving, prayer, seeking forgiveness, and
the hearing of God’s Word. It is to be orderly as opposed to chaotic. The elements
of true genuine worship are best found in the book of Leviticus, a book calling
us to Holiness.

Israel Has Rejected God’s Law                                 Hosea 9:1-17

God accuses Israel of being unfaithful to Him. Not only have they rejected
God but they have turned to idolatry. Thus, God is going to cause their food
supply to vanish and force them out of their land in order to sustain themselves
[vs. 2-3]. They will seek help from Egypt and Assyria but they are really destined
for slavery and exile. Food will be so scarce that none will be offered to the
Lord nor would they be able to if they wanted to do so. They will mourn over
their situation, continue ignoring God and His feasts, and refuse to place their
faith in Him. Any remaining wealth will be used to purchase food. Their land
will become desolate and filled with thorns. Their economy will be in recession
and they will live in a depression because God is punishing them by removing
His blessings.

Israel has been hostile toward God’s prophets and corrupt [vs. 9]. Israel
was once blessed by God, especially during the time of the Patriarchs. But the
idol Baal entered the picture when Israel was in the vicinity of Moab [Num.
25:1-4] and idol worship has been a thorn in their side ever since. So God is
removing His blessing resulting in fewer descendants. In fact, God has turned
away from Israel and no longer considers them as His children [vs. 12]. God
is literally kicking them out because of their wickedness and sinful deeds [vs.
15]. God is no longer counting on Israel to be His witness on earth. Israel
has been unfaithful and disobedient. They prefer their idols over the Lord God.
Therefore, God has rejected them because of their disobedience.

Faithfulness is an important attribute for God’s people to remain in God’s
favor and continue to receive His blessing. As Christians, God’s chosen, we
must remain faithful to God while rejecting any and all forms of idolatry. God
wants us to be His witness showing forth who He is to others. Our faith is to
be in Him and not man. His light must shine through us so others will seek Him
and worship Him. This is the plan God has chosen to make Himself known before
men. God has given us this unique and important responsibility to carry out
with the help of His Spirit, His power, and His presence in our lives [Matt.
28: 16-20].

Faithfulness to the Lord God is the foundation of our assurance of being His
children. Unfaithfulness, exchanging God for idols and ignoring His Law, removes
His blessing in our lives and our security in Him. Let us be faithful always
and in all things for His glory. That is the definition of true and genuine
worship of the Creator God [Rom. 12:1-2]. A faithful heart is the sacrifice
that truly pleases God. Hosea was faithful to his calling and to his “wife”.
Let us follow in his example.

Israel Has Rejected God’s Purpose                             Hosea 10:1-15

Verse 1 can be interpreted as a positive or a negative in a satirical sense.
Israel was blessed earlier in their history when they did worship the Lord.
However, I believe this verse is a negative satire of Israel’s selfishness.
The rich got richer and the poor got poorer. Love and mercy were not part of
their vocabulary. They had faithless hearts [vs. 2] and engaged in deceitful
worship [vs. 3-5]. They depend on their king and not the King of Kings. Lawsuits
and broken promises are the norm. Idolatry reigns. Israel’s former splendor
will be removed and they will be exiled to Assyria in shame [vs. 6-10] and disgrace.
Then the Lord will destroy their places of idol worship and desolate their land.
God is going to literally harness Israel’s waywardness [vs. 11]. They have lost
sight of their purpose, God’s purpose for them. Hosea challenges/exhorts Israel
to sow righteousness, kindness, and seek the Lord [vs. 12]. They have been doing
just the opposite; sowing wickedness, injustice, lies, and trusting in themselves.
Therefore, God will destroy them and they will cease to have an identity.

God has created each of us to love Him, obey Him, serve Him, and worship Him.
God loves to bless those who honor Him as Lord God Almighty. Consequences befall
those who refuse to be called according to His purpose [see Rom. 8:28]. God’s
true character of love, justice, and mercy is revealed in God’s relationship
to His people, Israel. Here Hosea reveals God’s disappointment with Israel and
His disciplinary plan to bring them back to Him. God is willing to destroy the
wicked and start anew to fulfill His Divine Will, that anyone who calls upon
Him will be saved. As Christians, that is our purpose; to be His witnesses,
His ambassadors, proclaiming His Gospel. Placing our desires above His Will
brings destruction. Theses three chapters are a warning for us Christians to
take our commitment, faith, and trust in Him seriously. God surely does.

Israel Has Rejected God’s Love                                 Hosea 11:1-11

God loved Israel at their conception and God loves Israel as a father loves
his children. God loved Israel in Egypt and called her out of slavery into the
Promised Land. God revealed Himself through the ten plagues, the parting of
the Red Sea, the Ten Commandments, the establishment of the moral and civil
law, the worship feasts and sacrifices, the cloud and pillar of fire, and through
His prophet Moses. Their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land was a period
of sanctification, making Israel holy and preparing them to enter and occupy
the Promised Land. All through Israel’s exodus God was expressing His love and
kindness toward His people, healing them, feeding them, providing for them,
protecting them, and leading them. In spite of this outpouring of God’s love,
Israel refuses to remember their past, learn from it, and repent.

God still loves Israel. They deserve the full wrath of God for their rejection
of Him but God is compassionate. God is in control of His anger. He will punish
Israel for their sin but He will not destroy them completely. God, in His love,
will call them once again unto Himself. He has not given up on Israel because
he still loves them. God still considers Israel as His children.

Remember Hosea’s life? God instructed Hosea to go and buy back Gomer and redeem
her. God is doing the same for Israel. God has done the same for each of us
through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. God loves us so
much that He gave His Son, Jesus Christ, as the sacrifice for all our sin in
order that we might be redeemed [John 3:16]. God loves us. He has done all that
is required in His power to redeem us. We are to receive His love and, in turn,
love Him and place our faith in Him. Israel is rejecting God’s love even though
He continues to love them. Let us accept God’s love and enjoy fellowshipping
with Him as Father and child. To reject God’s love as Israel did is not desirable
or wise. God’s character has been revealed to us through Israel. Take heed.

Israel Has Rejected God’s Will                       Hosea 11:12-12:14

God’s Will is that we love Him and obey His commands. We are to love our neighbor
as our self and practice mercy and justice [see Deut. 6; Deut16:18-20; Micah
6:8]. Israel is practicing lies, deceit, and violence. Instead of depending
on God, they depend on Egypt and Assyria for help in protecting their borders.
Judah is also included in the accusations by God. Hosea recalls the example
of Jacob deceiving Isaac and taking advantage of his brother Esau’s weakness.
Jacob is portrayed as a person struggling/wrestling with God. The key is that
Jacob surrendered and submitted to God at Bethel. Jacob acknowledged that God
was sovereign over him and all that he did. The nation Israel is in the same
state of affairs. They are struggling with God and going against God’s Will.
Israel is exhorted to return to God, to practice love and justice, and to depend
on Him [vs. 6]. In New Testament terms, Israel needs to be “born again”.
They need a new start.

Israel has chosen not to depend on God but to depend on their wealth gained
in fraudulent ways. They plan to buy themselves out of any troubles coming their
way i.e. tributes to Egypt and Assyria. As a result, God is going to remove
them from the Promised Land and they will be nomads once again as they were
for 38 years in the desert. Israel is not listening to God’s prophets just as
they refused to listen to Moses. Bloodshed, as at Gilead, is not punished so
God is angry and is destined to take action against Israel to bring them to
justice and into His Will, to practice justice, mercy, and love.

God’s Will, that is God’s message, is very clear. We are to obey His Word.
Unfortunately, we are sinful by nature and find is easy and desirable to “do
our own thing”. God’s discipline in our lives is necessary because we hear
and do not listen. We see but do not comprehend. We are stubborn and refuse
to take God and His Word seriously. We are just like Israel. We are in need
of God’s punishment/discipline to get our attention. The more stubborn we are,
the greater His discipline. Jacob learned through his wrestling match. Israel
had to be exiled. Judah had to be exiled too and then only a remnant learned
their lesson and returned to God. LISTEN! Comprehend what God is teaching us.
We are to submit to His Will and obey His statutes. We are to come before His
throne daily in humble adoration. That is the only way to live faithfully before
Him. If God’s discipline enters our lives, we must quickly return to Him, thank
Him, and recommit to doing His Will. That is true repentance.

I have stated before that God’s Will is that:

  1. We know Him personally.
  2. We grow in knowledge of Him.
  3. We glorify Him proclaiming His Name to all.

This portion of Scripture exemplifies the importance of knowing God and growing
in Him, knowing what God does not tolerate. We are to examine our lives and
return to Him with thanksgiving and praise for His loving-kindness, mercy, and
grace. We are to let His Spirit enter our lives and cleanse us from all unrighteousness,
making us pure and holy once again.

Israel Has Rejected their Lord and Savior                 Hosea 13:1-16

Throughout Hosea the tribe of Ephraim is used to represent Israel, the northern
kingdom. This is because they are the dominate tribe of Israel’s ten tribes
of the north; great in number, great in historical significance [Joseph’s son,
Joshua, Jeroboam], and great in influence. When they spoke, Israel listened
and followed. Unfortunately, they followed Baal and other idols instead of the
Lord God. Their idols were works of art and their worship experience included
the sacrifice of humans. Consequently, God will destroy them completely.

Beginning with verse 4, God reiterates who He is. He is the Lord God. He brought
them out of Egypt, He is their Savior, and He has sustained them. God has been
good to His people but Israel has rejected God’s goodness. They have become
proud and forgotten who God is and how He has loved and cared for them. Therefore,
God is promising to come upon them as a lion, as a leopard, and as a bear attacks
their prey. They will be destroyed [vs. 9].

God chides Israel as to where their king is and why he isn’t resolving their
problems. After all Israel asked for a king and God gave them a king over His
better judgment. Their king was their salvation but has led them into sin instead.
Thus, Israel is in pain and without wisdom. They have rejected their Godly Savior
in favor of a human savior.

In verse 14, God promises to redeem Israel but first they will experience
a famine and lose their treasury. Many will die by the sword fighting their
enemies because they have rebelled against God. The Lord God, who became their
Lord and Savior during the Exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land, has been
rejected by Israel. They prefer their king to the King of Kings. They prefer
their god to the true God Almighty. They prefer to be their own lord and savior
and reject the true Lord and Savior. They prefer their wisdom to the wisdom
of God.

In whom/what are we placing our faith and trust? Is our faith placed in government,
in Wall Street, in education, in our own ability and ambition, in our children,
and/or in our wealth OR is our faith in God’s Son, Jesus Christ, as Lord and
Savior? Are we seeking the wisdom of man or the wisdom of God? Are we bent on
rejecting God or focused on seeking God? Remember, God has blessed each of us
just as He called and blessed the Israelites during their Exodus. Give credit
where credit is due. Honor the Lord God and acknowledge that only He has the
power to save us. Let us open our hearts and minds enabling God to accomplish
His redeeming work. Israel rejected God as their Lord and Savior. Let us change
course and accept God, Jesus Christ, as our Lord and Savior. Let us praise Him
for being our Redeemer.

A Short Summary                                      Hosea 8:1-13:16

I chose to divide this section into six sections similar to the divisions
in the NIV text. However, there are just two recurring themes. First, Israel
has rejected God and all He is. Second, Israel’s rejection of God and resulting
sins runs deep into their culture and God must deal with it in a severe manner.
Therefore, God blows His trumpet.

It’s analogous to having a disease, refusing to acknowledge the symptoms and
seek preventive measures, and then having to accept major surgery with an extensive
and long rehabilitation in order to survive. Rejecting God and sinning against
Him is a cancer to our soul. Go to the Great Physician early on. Let us humble
ourselves before Him, repent, and receive His healing. That is the wise course
of action. Waiting is way too risky if one wishes to live as a recipient of
His Promises and blessings.

Repentance is the Prerequisite for Redemption                   Hosea 14:1-9

Hosea exhorts Israel to return to the Lord. They are to ask forgiveness for
their sins and request to be reinstated as God’s children. They are to repent
and confess/acknowledge that neither Assyria nor they themselves can save them
and that they will no longer worship idols. They are to humble themselves before
God’s throne seeking His compassion and mercy. Repentance is a prerequisite
for redemption and restoration.

If and when Israel does this, God promises to heal their waywardness and love
them. He, the Lord God, will instill in them His power to resist temptation.
He will no longer be angry but flood them with His love. God promises to fulfill
His covenant with Israel, blessing them, multiplying their descendents, and
to make them a great nation capable of showing forth His glory and blessing to
others [vs. 6-7]. God will protect them and care for them. He will restore their
influence and wealth [vs. 8].

Hosea asks Israel to “take heed and listen”. Those who are wise
and discerning will understand the truth of these words. They will walk in them,
obey them, and be righteous. Those who rebel will stumble and fall. God’s ways
are right and just. Hosea could not make the Lord’s way any clearer or any more
understandable. Repentance is a prerequisite for redemption.

Come before the throne of God.

Humbly bow and confess your sin.

Ask the Lord to forgive you and restore you.

Accept His love and healing.

Allow Him to fulfill His purpose through you.

Rejoice and be glad for you have been redeemed

Repentance Is The Prerequisite For Redemption!

There is no other way.

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