Book 28 of the OT, having 14 chapters. Hosea records events 753-715 BC. This minor prophetic book was addressed to the Northern Kingdom of Israel to show them the extent of God’s love. Micah and Amos were also prophets during parts of this period. Time to read: 35 mins.
Key people: Hosea, Gomer and their children.
Outline. Hosea was another of God’s prophets who was instructed to graphically live out his life before the people as an illustration of their sinful lifestyle and broken commitment. God commanded Hosea to marry a woman (Gomer), and stated she would be unfaithful to him, entering into adultery with other men (Hos 1:2). This mirrored the nation, they spurned God’s love and their idolatry was like adultery. They had on numerous occasions promised to be faithful and follow God only, but this never translated into reality, and Israel was captured in 722 BC. “Your sins have been your downfall” (Hos 14:1). Hosea was told to find and bring back his unfaithful wife. This portrayed the persistent and unfailing love of God to His people and although their sin had to be punished He would restore them again. However the time of full restoration when all the people of God will be united under Christ is yet to be fulfilled (Hos 1:7,10,11, 3:1-5, 14:1-9).
Main lesson. We can’t play with sin, thinking we can turn back to God anytime we choose and He will forgive us – this is presuming on His grace. Sin severs our relationship with God and it is only by His mercy that we may come to the place of genuine repentance. “Shall we go on sinning that grace may increase? By no means!” (Rom 6:1,2). We don’t know when God will hold us accountable for our wrong and deal out the punishment.
Key verses and thoughts: * "Go and get your wife back. Love her as the Lord loves the wayward Israelites" (Hos 3:1). Like his wife we too can lose sight of the significance of our special relationship with God, becoming unfaithful to Him by going after other things. In effect this is spiritual adultery by being unfaithful to the one we call Lord. Do I have such an illicit relationship – denying God His rightful first place in my life?
* "My people are destroyed by lack of knowledge...the knowledge of and acquaintance with God" (Hos 4:6-14, 6:6). God is not interested in us just observing rituals, drifting along on someone else’s experience, or going through the outward motions. He wants our hearts dedicated to Him, which can only happen through a vital personal relationship with Him, then our faith will be outworked with an attitude of gratitude, love and true obedience for without understanding we will come to ruin by making unwise decisions. May we seek God to “understand the times and know what to do” and then do it (1 Chr 12:32; Eph 5:17; Jas 4:17).
* "When they were satisfied, they became proud and forgot me" (Hos 13:6). Do we cry out to God in the crisis periods of life but then drift back into complacency and the deceptive power of our own flesh rather than depending on God when life is less demanding? Thinking we can manage with our own self-sufficiency, we don’t feel the need to press into God and our relationship suffers because we don’t rely on Him like He wants us to.