An overview of the book of Hosea
HOSEA – – Lesson #28
Books of the Bible
WRITER: HOSEA, the prophet of the Northern Kingdom.
His name means “God is salvation,” which is synonymous with the names Joshua and Jesus (Deut. 32:44; Matt. 1;21; Acts 7:45).
Hosea was the son of Beeri.
He was a man of sensitivity and nobility of soul.
He was a man faithful to God at any price.
He was willing, for the sake of his message to endure intense personal anguish of soul.
He loved his God and his nation without reservation.
DATE: The Book was written about 725 B. C. and covers a period of sixty years (from 785-725 B. C.)
Hosea and Amos were prophesying in Israel.
Isaiah and Micah were prophesying in Judah.
THEME: The Book of Hosea is the story of a broken home and a broken heart.
HOSEA 6:1,2 – Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for He hath torn, and He will heal us: He hath smitten, and He will bind us up. After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight.
PERSONAL SECTION (1-3)
TRAGEDY IN HOSEA’S HOME LIFE
POLITICAL AND PROPHETICAL SECTION (4-14)
TRAGEDY IN HOSEA’S HOMELAND
FACTS: It was a time of great prosperity. Military victories in the past had enlarged the land. Trade was flourishing. Several forms of religion were observed. At the same time, the nation was decaying. The people were discontent. There was oppression from corrupt rulers. BaaI worship with its wicked ceremonies was eating out purity and uprightness of the nation. It is said of all the kings of Israel during this time that “they did evil in the sight of the Lord.”
DESCRIPTION OF ISRAEL IN HOSEA
Israel is called a . . .
SIGNIFICANCE OF NAMES OF HOSEA’S CHILDREN
The first little boy’s name means “TO BE SCATTERED,” primarily predicting the Syrian invasion and the scattering of the Jews throughout the Babylonian Empire.
This name means “NO MORE MERCY.” This indicated that God’s judgment was just around the corner.
This name means “NOT MY PEOPLE,” indicating that the Lord would disown and no longer be their God.
The lessons of recent weeks have been built around the captivity of the Jews in Babylon. The prophet Jeremiah was the one who prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem, and he was the one who stayed in the land with the poor people that the Babylonians did not want. The prophet Ezekiel went to Babylon and ministered to the wealthy and the tradesmen who were captives in Babylon for seventy years. The prophet Isaiah prophesied mainly before the captivity, waning Israel of coming judgment. Such is also the case with Hosea. Hosea ministered before the captivity, warning the Jews and predicting the captivity.
Hosea is written from a very strange standpoint. He is called upon by God to give a biographical sketch of his own life and experiences.
The prophets were given unusual commissions as wake up calls to apostate people for their wretchedness. They were the toughest military soldiers of the LORD. God ordered Hosea to take a woman in marriage after he was told that she was a wicked woman. This was a sign to the nation of Israel of the adultery against God. Gomer played the harlot against Hosea as Israel played the harlot against God (Isaiah 50:1; Jer. 3:8).
There were several reasons for this . . .
THE EXPERIMENTAL REASON
By marrying an unfaithful woman, it would be possible for Hosea to understand, better than anyone, the anguish in God’s heart over the unfaithfulness of the Northern Kingdom and its people, who were continually committing spiritual fornication and adultery against Jehovah.
There are several places in the Bible where God compares His relationship to that of a marriage. (Isaiah 62:5; Hosea 2:19; Jeremiah 3:14)
THE ILLUSTRATIVE REASON
His own marriage would become a walking and visible example of his message to Israel.
THE PROPHETICAL REASON
God would command him to name his children by those titles which would describe the future punishment and eventual restoration of all Israel.
PURPOSE: To help reveal God’s yearning love for His unfaithful people, Israel.
The Spirit of the Lord helps us understand that broken laws also break God’s heart. As one author suggested, “Hosea illustrates the love that many waters cannot quench.”
THE STORY: In preaching to the Jews, the prophet Hosea used an illustration concerning the events of his own life. He had married, but his wife had become a harlot. She had committed open sins and harlotry. She went to the depth of sin, leaving her family, and selling her body to the hands of wicked men. For years she was the worst kind of fallen woman. As an old man, Hosea went to the slave market one day. As he was watching the slaves auctioned off, he saw an old woman who was his wife. He purchased her to himself and took her to his own home. This personal experience in the life of Hosea was used by him in his warning of Israel. Let us notice the applications.
ISRAEL WAS TYPIFIED BY HOSEA’S ADULTEROUS WIFE. Israel had committed spiritual harlotry. She had gone after other gods and had forsaken Jehovah. Hosea prophesied that she would come to no good end because of this sin, but that same day God would redeem her to Himself, and she would return once again to the land of Israel. In the Bible, Israel is pictured as the wife of Jehovah, and the coming captivity is pictured by Hosea’s wife being gone so long in sin. God is telling them, however, that just as Hosea’s wife was bought back, He will buy Israel back. He points to the day when they shall return to their land. He also points to the day when the kingdom will come and Jesus shall reign for a thousand years. Then they will safely inhabit their land.
THE STORY ALSO PICTURES THE LOVE OF GOD FOR SINNERS.
Just as Israel is the wife of Jehovah, the New Testament Christians form the bride of Christ. The plan of salvation is pictured here in the fact that all of us are sinners by nature, but we have been redeemed by the One against Whom we have fought.
Backsliding is also pictured here. Though we have gone into sin and have gone away from God, God wants us back, and He accepts us back when we come.
III. LESSONS. There are several lessons to be learned from the story.
Young people should be taught to stay clean. They should be warned of the sins of the wife of Hosea. Worldliness in the lives of God’s people is the same as the “harlotry” (Hosea 1:2) and “spiritual adultery” (James 4:4).
We should be forgiving one to the other. We are not to hold grudges and possess an unforgiving spirit. The two hardest things in the Christian life is faith and forgiveness. True forgiveness is a character trait the world cannot imitate. We learn from this story that God is always ready to forgive us. To be a Christian would be to do the same.
John 13:34‑35 A new commandment I give unto you,
That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Matthew 18:21‑33 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
Forgiveness is born of love.
True forgiveness includes forgetting or trying to forget, but remember: only the LORD can truly “forgive AND forget.”
Hebrews 10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
To not to try to forget is to not forgive. To not forgive is to not love. To not love is to not be Christ-like.
Matthew 6:14‑15 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
If you do not forgive, you will not know the joy and peace that comes from being forgiven.
Matthew 18:33‑35 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
Since I did everything to Christ, and He forgave me
Crown of thorns – every thought
Whipped mouth – every word I said
Pierced hands – every wrong thing done with my hands
Pierced feet – every place I have ever gone that God didn’t want me to go.
Is there any reason for me to not forgive someone who wrongs me?
Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
We need to be thankful that God is not like us.
Lack of forgiveness grows into a grudge. A grudge grows into bitterness.
We are told not to hold grudges – James 5:9
We are told to watch out for bitterness – Eph 4:31 & Heb 12:15
Sin brings sad results. Hosea’s wife certainly pictures this. Many long years she continued her downward way. (Teacher, think of the people in the Bible who sinned. Think of the judgment and results that followed. Think of Samson, David, Naomi, Cain, Lot and others. The far-reaching consequence of sin is unbelievable.)
When Leonardo da Vinci was painting his masterpiece The Last Supper, he sought long for a model for his Christ. At last he located a chorister in one of the churches of Rome who was lovely in life and features, a young man named Pietro Bandinelli.
Years passed, and the painting was still unfinished. All the disciples had been portrayed save one—Judas Iscariot. Now he started to find a man whose face was hardened and distorted by sin—and at last he found a beggar on the streets of Rome with a face so villainous, he shuddered when he looked at him. He hired the man to sit for him as he painted the face of Judas on his canvas. When he was about to dismiss the man, he said, “I have not yet found out your name.” “I am Pietro Bandinelli,” he replied, “I also sat for you as your model of Christ.”
God is a forgiving God and will accept us back. Think of the wonderful verses and promises that remind us of the forgiveness of God, such as Isaiah 1:18 and I John 1:9. The heart cry of God for backsliders and spiritual adulterers is expressed in the words, “How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?” (Hosea 11:8).
The lack of unity causes downfall. One of the reasons that Israel had gone into sin and spiritual adultery and idolatry is that the land had been divided. Before the death of Solomon, his wicked son, Rehoboam, became the king of all Israel. Rehoboam was such a wicked man and so oppressive that the kingdom was divided into two parts. Because it was divided, it became easy prey to the Babylonian enemy. Divided kingdoms always fall easily. Divided churches also fall easily. When Christians are united, they can stand better. Someone has rightly said, “United we stand; divided we fall.” There is a lesson here in Christian unity, oneness, love, etc.
We can be encouraged by God’s willingness to receive us back. Though the Israelites here were facing seventy years of captivity, the prophet yet encouraged than that God would receive then back some day. God does not cast His people away forever. Those who are not His people, He casts away forever, but His own He will receive back. The spiritual need spiritual encouragement and optimism, even in a time of gloom and pending judgment.
LESSONS FROM SPECIFIC VERSES IN HOSEA
Hosea 2:19-20 And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.
20 I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the Lord.
The pure characteristics of an ideal marriage our righteousness, judgment, loving kindness, mercy, and faithfulness. The ideal marriage proposal is found in Psalm 34:3.
Hosea 4:1-3 Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel: for the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.
2 By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood.
3 Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.
The moral condition of a nation directly affects the agricultural harvests and the wildlife of fish, fowls, and game (Joel 1:16-20; Amos 4:7-8).
Hosea 4:6-7 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
7 As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame.
This lack of knowledge was no knowledge of God (4:1). It was the duty of the priests to reveal the knowledge of God through the revelation of the Scriptures (1 Sam. 3:1-7), but the priest adulterated the truth of the Scriptures (Jer. 23:36; Mal. 2:1-9). The knowledge of God or theology is the basis of all knowledge (Col. 2:1-3). If there is no knowledge of God, there is no knowledge of right and wrong (Isaiah 5:20; Dan. 12:4; Amos 3:10; 2 Tim. 3:1-7).
Hosea 4:10-12 For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase: because they have left off to take heed to the Lord.
11 Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart.
12 My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God.
New wine is grape juice (Isaiah 65:8), but in this context it reveals that material prosperity can hinder the work of God as evil (Matt. 13:22; Mark 4:19; Acts 19:23-41; 1 Tim. 6:9-10). The stocks and bonds of the affluent bind them in the stocks of the system of the world, which make it difficult for them to receive the gospel (Matt. 6:19-21; Mark 10:23; 1 Tim. 6:17-19).
Hosea 4:12-17 My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God.
13 They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills, under oaks and poplars and elms, because the shadow thereof is good: therefore your daughters shall commit whoredom, and your spouses shall commit adultery.
14 I will not punish your daughters when they commit whoredom, nor your spouses when they commit adultery: for themselves are separated with whores, and they sacrifice with harlots: therefore the people that doth not understand shall fall.
15 Though thou, Israel, play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend; and come not ye unto Gilgal, neither go ye up to Beth-aven, nor swear, The Lord liveth.
16 For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer: now the Lord will feed them as a lamb in a large place.
17 Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.
God did not punish the acts of whoredom immediately because God gave them up to the fruit of their ways (Prov. 1:23-31; Eccl. 8:11; Jer. 6:19; rom. 1:24-28). The worst thing that God can do to a man is to leave him alone and never correct sinful ways (Hosea 4:17).
Ephraim can refer to the northern tribes of Israel corporately (Ezek. 37:17-19), but it was also an individual and separate tribe (Isaiah 7:8; Jer. 7:15). The individual tribe of Ephraim was the leader in the sin of idolatry (Hosea 5:3). The tribe of Ephraim is not mentioned in the New Testament because it was replaced by Joseph (Rev. 7:4-8). Mormons foolishly claim to be descendants from the tribe of Ephraim, but they are really half-baked (Hosea 7:8). The Cult of Latter Day Saints is joined to idols and God is nowhere to be found in their heresies.
Hosea 12:10 I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets.
The two most vital words to understand the truth of the Scriptures are like and as. God takes what a person understands to explain something here she does not understand through analogies, parables, or similitudes. This is like that; it is not that, but it is like that. The refusal to except the words as and so in John 6:57 condemns the mass of Roman Catholic scholars as deceitful and fraudulent. The word like exposes the methods of the anti-Christ and his workers of iniquity (Ps. 52:2; 58:4; 64:3; Prov. 12:18; Isaiah 14:12-14) and the same word exposes the deceptive methods of Alexandrian scholars (Ezek. 22:25-29).
Hosea 13:9 O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.
A man’s greatest enemy is himself because self-destruction is the common error of man. Men who conquer their evil passions are the greatest soldiers (Prov. 16:32; Mark 7:21-23). A nation dies internally before the death is manifested externally (Ps. 9:16-17; Prov. 14:34).