Our Faithful God
The shouts of Amos demanding repent or else, reverberated across the land. He describes an unapproachable God of utter righteousness. Then another voice is raised by God. A message from the God of Faithfulness. As Hosea whose name means “salvation”, peers into the heart of God, he sees the depths of God’s love. The lack of gratitude and the lack faithfulness among Israel grieved the heart of God deeply. Hosea records no less than 150 statements concerning the sins of Israel. As one commentator says, “What we see in the prophecy of Hosea are the last few swirls as the kingdom goes down the drain.”
Hosea had a life of grief. His only beloved wife Gomer was persistently unfaithful to their marriage. This sorrow gave Hosea a unique perspective with which to speak about the parallel unfaithfulness of Israel for their Lord. The compassionate heart of God with no diminishing of His holy standard is seen in this book. Hosea paints a powerful portrait of the coming revelation of the love and holiness of God perfectly revealed in Christ.
As a contemporary of Isaiah, Micah and Amos, Hosea writes over a forty to seventy year stretch of history. In this period Israel goes from the prosperity and security of Jereboam II (782-753 BC) to the chaos and anarchy of multiple assassinations. Four of the last six kings are murdered (Zachariah, Shallum, Pekahiah and Pekhah). The other two kings (Menahem and Hoshea) take the throne after an assassination of the former king.
There is moral and spiritual bankruptcy. Sin is unashamedly practiced. God is abandoned. Worship of the True and Living God is replaced by false and lifeless idols. Hosea depicts the inward decay of a collapsing nation. Ultimately Assyria captured and deported the Northern Kingdom in 722 BC.
WORSHIPPING THE BEAUTY OF CHRIST IN HOSEA:
A. As the Promised Messiah Hosea 1:10 “Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, `You are not my people,’ they will be called `sons of the living God.’ (NIV); 1 Peter 2:10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (NIV).
B. As the Prince of Life Triumphing over the GraveHosea 6:2 After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. (NIV); Luke 24:7 `The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'” (NIV).
C. As a Child protected by God Hosea 11:1 “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. (NIV); Matthew 2:15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” (NIV).
D. As our Wonderful Savior:
1. He Drew us to Himself Hosea 11:4 I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them. (NIV)
2. He is our only Hope Hosea 13:4 “But I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no God but me, no Savior except me. (NIV); Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (NIV)
3. He is our Redeemer Hosea 13:14 “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction? “I will have no compassion, (NIV); Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace (NKJV)
SEEING GOD’S FAITHFULNESS IN HOSEA
1. God Faithfully Warns His People:
ü Israel forgot their Maker (8:14) but God never forgot them, rather He:
ü Trained and strengthened them (7:15)
ü Wrote 10,000 precepts of the law for them (8:12)
ü Loved them as a son (11:1)
ü Taught, fed and cared for them (11:3,4; 13:5; 14:8)
ü Rescued them from bondage (11:1)
ü Gave prophets to guide them (12:10)
2. Israel Faithlessly lives apart from God: By their deeds (Hosea 7:2 but they do not realize that I remember all their evil deeds. Their sins engulf them; they are always before me. (NIV)) it is evident that Israel is deep in depravity and gross iniquity (Hosea 5:2 The rebels are deep in slaughter. I will discipline all of them. (NIV); Hosea 9:7-9 The days of punishment are coming, the days of reckoning are at hand. Let Israel know this. Because your sins are so many and your hostility so great, the prophet is considered a fool, the inspired man a maniac. 9 They have sunk deep into corruption, as in the days of Gibeah. God will remember their wickedness and punish them for their sins. (NIV)). There was:
ü No faithfulness (4:1)
ü Murder (4:2)
ü No kindness (4:1)
ü Stealing (4:2)
ü No knowledge of God (4:1)
ü Adultery (4:2)
ü Swearing (4:2)
ü Violence (4:2)
ü Deception (4:2)
ü Anger (7:6)
ü Pride (7:10)
3. Israel Faithlessly Neglects God’s Word: Israel stumbled into sin (4:5; 5:5) and didn’t even know it (7:8,9) because she became satisfied and forgot God (8:14; 13:6). They had:
ü A Lack of or rejection of knowledge (4:6)
ü Forgotten the law of God (4:6; 8:12)
ü Did not consider their wickedness (7:2)
ü Did not listen to God (9:17)
ü No fear of God (10:3)
ü Did not call out to God (7:7,14)
ü Stopped giving heed to God (4:10)
4. Israel Faithlessly Compromised God’s Plan: Mixing with the nations (7:8) caused them to stray and rebel (7:13) and ultimately to be led astray by a spirit of harlotry (4:12; 5:4).
ü Departed from God (4:12)
ü Lost understanding (4:11)
ü Made and consulted idols (4:12)
ü Offered sacrifices to false god (2:13)
ü Sought out other nations for help (5:13)
ü Gave Baal credit for being their savior (13:4)
5. God Faithfully Disciplines His Disobedient Children: Since Israel has stumbled into sin, God will surely chastise them (4:1; 5:2) for they have transgressed His covenant (6:6,7; 8:1; 13:4).
ü “People without understanding are ruined.” (4:14)
ü “Those who sow the wind reap the whirlwind.” (8:7)
ü “Woe to them, for they have strayed from Me!” (7:13)
ü God will:
ü Block the path to her lovers (2:6)
ü Take away the bounty of the harvest (2:9)
ü Uncover her lewdness (2:10)
ü End her gaiety (2:11)
ü Destroy vines and fig trees (2:12)
ü Withdraw from them (5:6,15)
ü Pour out His wrath like water (5:10) Just as the New Testament says: Galatians 6:7-8 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (NIV).
6. God Faithfully seeks His People: Hosea urges Israel to ACKNOWLEDGE their guilt (5:15) and then RETURN to (6:1), KNOW (6:3) and WAIT for Him (12:6).
ü “Come, let us return to the LORD.” (6:1)
ü “So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD.” (6:3)
ü “Break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the LORD.” (10:12)
ü “Therefore, return to your God, observe kindness and justice, and wait for your God continually.” (12:6)
ü “Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity. Take words with you and return to the LORD. Say to Him ‘Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously.'” (14:1,2)
ü God is gracious (14:2), compassionate (2:23) and ever faithful (2:20). In His time He will restore Israel (3:5; 14:4-7).
ü He will allure Israel and bring her back (2:14)
ü “I will betroth you to Me forever.” (2:19)
ü “I will say to those who were not my people, ‘You are My people!’ and they will say, ‘Thou art my God!'” (2:23)
GOD FAITHFULLY OFFERS THE BENEFITS OF RETURNING TO HIM:
1. God’s Love is UNFAILING.
ü He has blessed in the past. Hosea 2:15 And I will give her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt. (KJV); Hosea 11:1 When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt. (KJV); Hosea 13:4-5 Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no savior beside me. 5 I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought. (KJV)
ü He offers restoration in the present. Hosea 7:1 When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria: for they commit falsehood; and the thief cometh in, and the troop of robbers spoileth without. (KJV); Hosea 11:8-9 How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together. 9 I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city. (KJV)
ü He promises hope for the future. Hosea 11:10-11 They shall walk after the LORD: he shall roar like a lion: when he shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west. 11 They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria: and I will place them in their houses, saith the LORD. (KJV); Hosea 14:4-9 I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him. 5 I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. 6 His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. 7 They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. 8 Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found. 9 Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein. (KJV)
2. God’s Holiness is UNBENDING.
ü He is holy 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. (KJV)
ü They must obey Hosea 4:7-10 As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame. 8 They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity. 9 And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings. 10 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. (KJV); Hosea 5:4 They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God: for the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they have not known the LORD. (KJV); Hosea 11:5-7He shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return. 6 And the sword shall abide on his cities, and shall consume his branches, and devour them, because of their own counsels. 7 And my people are bent to backsliding from me: though they called them to the most High, none at all would exalt him. (KJV)
ü God demands repentance Hosea 6:1-4 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. 2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. 3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. 4 O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away. (KJV)
ü Change must be real Hosea 6:6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. (KJV)
3. God’s Requirements are UNCHANGING.
- Faithfulness to God is paramount. Hosea 1:2 When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, “Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD.” (NIV)
- Sin to God is heinous. Hosea 2:1-5 “Say of your brothers, `My people,’ and of your sisters, `My loved one.’ 2 “Rebuke your mother, rebuke her, for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband. Let her remove the adulterous look from her face and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts. 3 Otherwise I will strip her naked and make her as bare as on the day she was born; I will make her like a desert, turn her into a parched land, and slay her with thirst. 4 I will not show my love to her children, because they are the children of adultery. 5 Their mother has been unfaithful and has conceived them in disgrace. She said, `I will go after my lovers, who give me my food and my water, my wool and my linen, my oil and my drink.’ (NIV)
- God’s offer is marvelous! Hosea 14:1-9 Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God. Your sins have been your downfall! 2 Take words with you and return to the LORD. Say to him: “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips. 3 Assyria cannot save us; we will not mount war-horses. We will never again say `Our gods’ to what our own hands have made, for in you the fatherless find compassion.” 4 “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them. 5 I will be like the dew to Israel; he will blossom like a lily. Like a cedar of Lebanon he will send down his roots; 6 his young shoots will grow. His splendor will be like an olive tree, his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon. 7 Men will dwell again in his shade. He will flourish like the grain. He will blossom like a vine, and his fame will be like the wine from Lebanon. 8 O Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols? I will answer him and care for him. I am like a green pine tree; your fruitfulness comes from me.” 9 Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them. (NIV)