1 The word of the LORD that came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel. 2 The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry and children of harlotry: for the land has committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.
- Imagine being told to go take a harlot or prostitute for a wife.
- This was a shock to the pious Israelites.
- All adultery was a capital crime punishable by death.
- But God said they were no better because they were whoring from Him, their Maker with false gods.
- God spoke to the people through Hosea during the reign of the four mentioned kings.
- It is the grace of God that He speaks to us at all because we are sinners.
- In ancient times God spoke through prophets, then He spoke through His Son.
- Now, when we open God’s word and read we are listening to Him.
- Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
- Jeremiah 3:14 Turn, O backsliding children, says the LORD; for I am married unto you
God avenges innocent blood that is shed
3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; who conceived, and birthed him a son. 4 And the LORD said to him, Call his name Jezreel; for in a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel on the house of Jehu, and will stop the kingdom of the house of Israel. 5 It will happen that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.
- Naming is a function of Lordship or ownership. We name our children and our pets. God names all things because He owns everything.
- ‘Breaking the bow’ is breaking the military or defeating the military.
- God investigates murder. In Genesis 4 God went to Cain about Abel.
- God had sent Jehu to remove King Ahab. Jehu did it but also killed some that were innocent in Jezreel (2 Kings 10:1-11).
- Sons were not to be killed for the sins of their father or fathers for the sins of their sons.
- Psalm 9:12 When he makes inquisition for blood, he remembers them: he does not forget the cry of the humble.
- Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord.
- Revelation 2:17 To him that overcomes I will give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knows except he that receives it.
6 And she conceived again, and birthed a daughter. And God said to him, Call her name Lo-ruhamah: for I will no longer have mercy on the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away. 7 But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow or by sword, or by battle, by horses, or by horsemen. 8 Now when she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived, and bore a son. 9 Then God said, Call his name Lo-ammi: for you are not my people, and I will not be your God.
- Lo-ruhamah means ‘not having obtained mercy.’
- Mercy is free for believing God’s promise of a Savior to die for our sins.
- The Lord will no longer have mercy because they have not believed.
- The phrase ‘but I will utterly take them away’ is literally translated from the Hebrew ‘that I should altogether pardon them.”
- King James Classic Reference Bible, Zondervan Publishing House.
- These were the descendants of Abraham.
- God had multiplied them as the stars, delivered them from slavery in Egypt, given them His laws, the promised land, and was with them personally.
- But they turned from Him and worshipped everything but their Maker, the Maker of heaven and earth.
- John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him will not perish, but have everlasting life.
- 1Samuel 2:30 …them that honor me I will honor, and they that despise me will be lightly esteemed.
- Psalm 96:5 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
10 Yet the number of the children of Israel will be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered; and it will happen that in the place where it was said to them, You are not my people, there it will be said to them, You are the sons of the living God. 11 Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel will be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they will come up out of the land: for great will be the day of Jezreel.
God deals with our unfaithfulness to Him
1 Say to your brothers, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ru-hamah. 2 Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband: let her put away her whoring out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts; 3 Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and kill her with thirst. 4 And I will not have mercy on her children; for they are the children of whoring. 5 For their mother has played the harlot: she that conceived them has done shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink. 6 Therefore, behold, I will hedge up your way with thorns, and make a wall so that she cannot find her paths.
- Remember God gave Adam thorns and thistles in Genesis 3.
- In Hosea 1 the children’s names were Lo-Ammi meaning ‘not my people.’ And Lo-Ruhammah meaning ‘not having obtained mercy.’
- Now they are ‘my people’ and ‘having obtained mercy. This tells us that Hosea’s children are now saved.
- Psalm 96:5 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
- John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming to him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.
7 And she will follow after her lovers, but she will not overtake them; and she will seek them, but will not find them: then she will say, I will go, and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now. 8 For she did not know that I gave her grain, new wine, oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, with which they made Baal. 9 Therefore I will return, and take away my grain in its time, and my wine in its season, and will take away my wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness.
- This scripture explains the reason for famine.
- When people turn away from God their Maker to worship false gods, He is jealous.
- He takes away what He has given in an effort to get them to return to Him who is life.
10 And now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none will deliver her out of my hand. 11 I will also cause all her joy to stop, her feast days, her new moons, her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts. 12 And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, of which she has said, These are my rewards that my lovers have given me: and I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field will eat them. 13 And I will visit on her the days of Baalim, when she burned incense to them, and she adorned herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgot me, says the LORD.
- Jeremiah 2:19 Your own wickedness will correct you, and your backslidings will reprove you: know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing that you have forsaken the LORD your God, and that my fear is not in you, says the Lord GOD of hosts.
God brings us back to Himself
14 Therefore, behold, I will draw her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak to her heart. 15 And I will give her her vineyards from there, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she will sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.
- The valley of Achor was where Achan was buried.
- He coveted and took cursed gold and a Babylonian garment.
- Coveteousness is idolatry (Colossians 3:5).
- The sin of Achan caused 36 men of Israel to die in the battle because God was not with them (Joshua 7).
- How much time to we spend thinking about money/clothesfriends/family/etertainment etc. compared to thinking about God?
16 And it will be at that day, says the LORD that you will call me My Husband; and no longer call me My master. 17 For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they will no longer be remembered by their name. 18 And in that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely. 19 And I will promise to marry you to me forever; yes, I will betroth you to me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving kindness, and in mercies. 20 I will even betroth you to me in faithfulness: and you will know the LORD.
- ‘Betroth’ means to woo as a virgin.
- God intends to woo us to Himself forever.
- John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.
21 And it will happen in that day, I will answer, says the LORD, I will answer the heavens, and they will answer the earth; 22 And the earth will answer the grain, and the wine, and the oil; and they will answer Jezreel. 23 And I will sow her to me in the earth; and I will have mercy on her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, You are my people; and they will say, You are my God.
- Jezreel means ‘God will sow.’
- Jezreel is Hosea’s firstborn as Jesus is the Father’s firstborn among many brothers.
- Psalm 57:10 For Your mercy is great unto the heavens, and Your truth unto the clouds.
God loves us in spite of our sin
1 Then the LORD said to me, Go again, love a woman loved of her friend, yet an adulteress, like the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love jugs of wine. 2 So I bought her back for myself for fifteen pieces of silver, and 12 bushels of barley.
- Hosea is an illustration of God’s love to His people.
- The value of the silver shekel was about 75 cents (with no inflation, this was a sizeable sum). If this was a shekel as some translations say, then the value was $11.25 in silver.
- A homer was about 8 bushels.
- Notice she was being sold at the slave market.
- Man is in Satan’s slave market of sin until we trust Christ who bought us back to God with the price of His own life.
- 1Peter 1:18 you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold, from your empty life received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot
- Romans 5:8 But God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
3 And I said to her, You will stay with me many days; you will not be a harlot, and you will not be to another man: I will also be for you. 4 For the children of Israel will abide many days without a king, without a prince, without a sacrifice, without an idol, without an ephod, and without teraphim/idols: 5 Afterward the children of Israel will return and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and will fear/revere the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.
- Psalm 33:5 He loves righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.
- Psalm 31:19 Oh how great is your goodness that you have laid up for them that fear you; that you have worked for those that trust in you before the sons of men!
- Zechariah 9:17 For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty!
1 Hear the word of the LORD, children of Israel: for the LORD has a lawsuit against the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land. 2 By swearing and lying, killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break all restraint, and blood touches blood.
- Imagine being sued for a crime and the one suing you is God Almighty from His throne of the universe.
- These people knew nothing of God or His truth and they had no mercy.
- They met their needs by lying, stealing, killing, and whoring until the blood from one crime ran into the street where it touched the blood shed by another crime.
3 Therefore the land will mourn, and everyone that lives in it will languish, along with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yes, the fish of the sea also will be taken away. 4 Yet let no man rebuke, or correct another: for your people are like those that argue with the priest. 5 Therefore you will fall in the day, and the prophet also will fall with you in the night, and I will destroy your mother. 6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you, that you will not be priest to me: because you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children. 7 the more they increased, the more they sinned against me: therefore I will change their glory into shame. 8 They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity.
- Their mother is the nation of Israel.
- Everything was wrong but no one was allowed to speak out about it.
- God forgets our children when we forget His law.
- What we think about during each day is what our hearts are feeding on.
- (However, these priests were fed by the offerings people brought when they sinned so they were motivated not to correct them).
- Today the news puts out every ghoulish crime and the nation sits riveted.
- We are feeding on the sin instead of the bread of heaven.
- God rejects from being priests, those who reject knowledge of Him through His word.
- John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life: he that comes to me will never hunger; and he that believes on me will never thirst.
God punishes according to our ways
9 And it will be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings. 10 For they will eat, and not have enough: they will whore but not increase: because they have quit paying attention to the LORD. 11 Fornication and wine and new wine take away the heart.
- Notice how destructive wine and sexual sins are.
- They take away the heart from God who is our life.
- When we stop listening to God, we cut ourselves off from the source of life.
- God wants to get our attention so that we will return to Him.
- Song of Solomon 1:2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for your love is better than wine.
- Matthew 22:37 Jesus said to him, You will love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
12 My people ask counsel at their wooden idols, and their staff declares to them: for the spirit of whoring has caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God. 13 They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains, and burn incense on the hills, under oaks and poplars and elms, because its shade is good: therefore your daughters will commit whoring, and your spouses will commit adultery. 14 I will not punish your daughters when they commit whoring or your spouses when they commit adultery: for they themselves (the men) are separated with whores, and they sacrifice with harlots: therefore the people that do not understand will fall.
- Proverbs 5 explains fully. God is life, not sex with a woman or many women.
- Notice that it is a ‘spirit’ of whoring. In Mark 16:9 such spirits were cast out of Mary Magdalene.
- When our relationship is right with God He blesses in all ways.
- But He is our Creator and becomes angry when we bow down our lives to other things.
- Proverbs 6:32 But whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding: he that does it destroys his own soul.
15 Though you, Israel, play the harlot, do not let Judah become guilty; do not go up to Gilgal or up to Beth-aven, or swear, The LORD lives. 16 For Israel rebels like a stubborn heifer: now the LORD will feed them as a lamb in a large place. 17 Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone. 18 Their drink is gone: they fornicate continually: her rulers dearly love shame! 19 The wind has bound her up in her wings, and they will be ashamed because of their sacrifices.
- Psalm 25:3 …let none that wait on you be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.
- Psalm 31:17 Let me not be ashamed, O LORD; for I have called on you: let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave.
God rebukes idolatry
1 Hear this, O priests; and listen, you house of Israel; and give ear, O house of the king; for judgment is toward you, because you have been a snare on Mizpah, and a net spread on Tabor. 2 And the revolters have gone deep to make slaughter, though I have been a rebuker of them all. 3 I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me: for now, O Ephraim, you commit whoring, and Israel is defiled. 4 They will not frame their doings to turn to their God: for the spirit of whoring is in the midst of them, and they have not known the LORD.
- Leviticus 17 addresses this ‘slaughtering’ in detail.
- God’s people, the northern kingdom here, called Ephraim, had two golden calves, one at each end of their territory.
- Devils are behind all false worship (1 Corinthians 10:20). The word ‘devils’ is seir, shedirim, these were the satre demons that ruled the phallic cult.
- “Under whose eyes they fornicate” is the accurate translation in Leviticus 17 for ‘after whom they have gone a whoring’.
- Orgies were practiced as worship of false gods in the high places.
- This was wrong and led the people to eternal death. God forbad it.
- John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
5 And the pride of Israel testifies to his face: therefore Israel and Ephraim shall fall in their iniquity; Judah also shall fall with them. 6 They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the LORD; but they shall not find him; he has withdrawn himself from them. 7 They have dealt treacherously against the LORD: for they have borne foreign sons: now a month shall devour them with their portions. 8 Blow a horn in Gibeah, and the trumpet in Ramah: cry aloud at Beth-aven, after you, O Benjamin. 9 Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke: among the tribes of Israel I declare what is sure.
- God’s prophets always foretold well in advance of judgment with stern warnings designed to bring people back to God.
- Isaiah 48:5 I have even from the beginning declared it to you; before it came to pass I showed it to you: lest you should say, My idol has done them, and my carved image, and my molten image, has commanded them.
10 The princes of Judah were like them that remove a boundary: therefore I will pour out my wrath on them like water. 11 Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment, because in self-will he walked after the (man’s) commandment. 12 Therefore I will be to Ephraim as a moth, and to the house of Judah as rottenness. 13 When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then Ephraim went to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet he could not heal you or cure you of your wound. 14 For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him. 15 I will go and return to my place, until they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.
- When Israel split after the death of King Solomon, Jeroboam did not believe God’s promise of blessing for obedience.
- He set up the two golden calves and led God’s people into evil.
- It was his command that verse 11 speaks of.
- Then when God allowed trouble to get them to return to Him (He is our life) they went to Assyria for help instead of God..
- Hosea 6:1 says, Come, let us return to the Lord, for He has torn but He will heal us.
- Exodus 15:26 And said, If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and will do what is right in his sight, and will listen to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases on you, which I have brought on the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that heals you.
- 1Chronicles 16:11 Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.
God wants us to return to Him so He can heal us
1 Come, and let us return to the LORD: for he has torn, and he will heal us; he has struck, and he will bind us up. 2 After two days he will revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we will live in his sight.
- Scripture tells us that no man knows the day or the hour when Christ will return except our heavenly Father (Matthew 24:36).
- It doesn’t say that no man knows the year.
- Scripture is perfectly explicit…always.
- Instead, God tells us that He has told us all things. (Isaiah 41:4, 41:26).
- These words in Hosea ‘two days’ give us an estimated time of the return of Christ to earth.
- 2 Peter 3:8 tells us that with God a day is as a thousand years.
- The end of Hosea 5 speaks of the time when God would tear his nation like a lion and return to His place (because they rejected their Savior).
- That foretold the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus
and the Roman legions in 70 AD.
- 'after two days He will revive us again.’ That phrase estimates His return as 2000 years after the ‘tearing.’.
- The Jewish year is 360 days. So for each of the 2000 years we must subtract 5 days. 2,000 x 5 = 10,000 days divided by 360 days = 27.7 years. So 2070 minus 27.7 years is 2042.3 as an estimated year for the Second Coming of Christ to earth. Subtract seven years for the tribulation and we get 2035.3 as a ballpark date for the rapture of the church.
- We also need to subtract 5 days per year for the 70
years from the total.
- That 350 days would subtract almost another year from the final date. Another factor is that the Jewish year begins in April. This places the estimated time of the rapture of the church around mid July of 2034.
3 Then we will know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he will come to us as the rain, as the latter and former rain to the earth. 4 O Ephraim, what am I to do to you? O Judah, what am I to do to you? For your goodness is like a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goes away. 5 Therefore I have cut them in pieces by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and your judgments are as the light that goes forth. 6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. 7 But they, like Adam, have transgressed the covenant: there they have dealt treacherously against me. 8 Gilead is a city of those that work iniquity, and slippery with blood marks. 9 And as troops of robbers wait for a man, so the company of priests murder in the way by consent: for they commit lewdness. 10 I have seen a horrible thing in the house of Israel: there is the whoring of Ephraim, Israel is defiled. 11 Also, O Judah, he has set a harvest for you, when I returned the captivity of my people.
- Notice God’s priorities.
- Mercy and knowledge of Him—not the rituals of the animal sacrifices but what they represented.
- The whoring of Ephraim was the worship of the two golden calves in the northern kingdom of Israel and the priests were killing people!
- Jeremiah 10:10 But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth will tremble, and the nations will not be able to abide his indignation.
SUMMARY: Hosea 1-6
- God avenges innocent blood that is shed
- He deals with our unfaithfulness to Him
- He brings us back to Himself
- God loves us in spite of our sin
- He punishes according to our ways
- God rebukes idolatry
- He wants us to return to Him so He can heal us