The life of a Christian is a life of faithfulness to our Triune God – we are to know no God but Him. When we forget God, we start to backslide into sin – which opens the door to follow after idols and other “gods.” We then end up sinning more and more. Our God is a jealous God. Therefore, He will judge His people and discipline them when they fall into sin. He will bring us back to Himself. Our help is from the LORD. There is no Savior besides Him. Hosea 13:1-16
We live in a time and age that is much like ancient Israel – where sin and wickedness abound throughout the land. Many people give into the temptation to lie and deceive their way through life. It seems as though being deceitful and being a liar is the “norm.” When God shows us our sin, He does so that we will return to Him in repentance. We all need to have a God-centered perspective on our sin. Hosea 11:12–12:14
The more we understand the depths of our depravity, the more we appreciate the power of God’s love. It is God alone Who has rescued us from hell and damnation. And, in spite of that, God’s people are continually bent on backsliding away from Him. But, as a God of love, God draws His people out from the world, from sin, from self, and from Satan. What God really does is to draw His people back to Himself. Hosea 11
Throughout the book of Hosea, the Prophet Hosea has pictured the people of Israel turning away from the LORD and turning toward other “gods.” This love for idols and idolatry meant that the Israelites lived as if they were NOT God’s people – they have continually rejected God’s love by putting other things ahead of their relationship with God. This was a nation of people more interested in themselves than in God’s direction for their lives. Hosea has been seeking to get the people to turn back to God in repentance, but they have continually refused. This week we will see that as Hosea brought more charges against the people of Israel, God makes it clear that even though He will bring judgment upon their sin, God will always bring His people back to Himself. Hosea 10
Throughout the Book of Hosea, we have seen that Israel has played the harlot against God. The people of Israel were deeply corrupted by their continual worship of idols. For many years God had been very patient and long-suffering with them. Now the days of punishment have come. Woe to tGod will remember the iniquity of the Israelites and He will punish their sins. God’s judgment is going to come upon the Israelites in a very terrible and destructive way. Hosea 9
For nearly sixty years the prophet Hosea has been preaching and confronting the people of Israel. But, it hasn’t done any good – the people have NOT listened to him. They have continued to worship idols and sin against the LORD. After all the repeated warnings to turn back to the LORD and repent, judgement is now coming. The nation of Israel is going to reap what it has been sowing. They are on the brink of destruction. The people of Israel incurred God’s anger because they continually transgressed their covenant with God. Hosea 8
The book of Hosea is a picture of Israel’s broken marriage with the LORD. We have seen how far the people of Israel had strayed from their relationship with God. In Hosea chapter 7, God continues to expose the sin and corruption of His people. Israel thought the LORD had forgotten their wickedness; they acknowledged allegiance to the LORD, but really their allegiance was to idols and the pagan world. God is showing us what the character of a stubborn, prideful, and rebellious people looks like in this chapter of Hosea. Hosea 7
Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation. But what happens when you expect forgiveness without repenting?
This was the situation for the people of Israel. In the book of Hosea, we see that they were completely given over to idolatry and harlotry. In the face of God’s discipline, the Israelites thought that merely returning to the prescribed sacrificial offerings would solve their problems. But God rejected that kind of “repentance.” It was as fleeting as “a morning cloud” and “the early dew” that fades away with the first rays of sunlight. Repentance must result in a change of heart and a change in behavior.
God desires mercy and knowledge of Him more than sacrifice. Hosea 6:1-11
Sometimes, we have no regard for the idolatry in our lives. “Idols” become more important to us than God – while at the same time, when we are out in public, we present ourselves as being “spiritual.” This kind of behavior brings God’s wrath, chastisement and judgment upon us. If we are not serious about our faith, it causes us to have a shallow relationship with God. The most important thing in the world for every Christian is to grow in the knowledge of God. Hosea 5:1-15
When sinners cast off the yoke of Christ, they will continue in their sin until the Lord says, “Let them alone.” The people of ancient Israel were like a stubborn calf – they were continually committing harlotry against the Lord. They were worshiping idols and looking for leadership from false gods, rather than from the one true God.
In Hosea chapter four we see how Israel’s stubbornness and their devotion to idols resulted in their being “let alone.” The people of Israel were abandoned by God and given over to their own sin and the idols they depended upon, left to reap the fruit of their idolatry and harlotry. Hosea 4:7-19
Hosea 4:7-19 (NKJV)
7 “The more they increased, The more they sinned against Me; I will change[a] their glory[b] into shame. 8 They eat up the sin of My people; They set their heart on their iniquity. 9 And it shall be: like people, like priest. So I will punish them for their ways, And reward them for their deeds. 10 For they shall eat, but not have enough; They shall commit harlotry, but not increase; Because they have ceased obeying the Lord.
11 “Harlotry, wine, and new wine enslave the heart. 12 My people ask counsel from their wooden idols, And their staff informs them. For the spirit of harlotry has caused them to stray, And they have played the harlot against their God. 13 They offer sacrifices on the mountaintops, And burn incense on the hills, Under oaks, poplars, and terebinths, Because their shade is good. Therefore your daughters commit harlotry, And your brides commit adultery.
14 “I will not punish your daughters when they commit harlotry, Nor your brides when they commit adultery; For the men themselves go apart with harlots, And offer sacrifices with a ritual harlot.[c] Therefore people who do not understand will be trampled.
15 “Though you, Israel, play the harlot, Let not Judah offend. Do not come up to Gilgal, Nor go up to Beth Aven, Nor swear an oath, saying, ‘As the Lord lives’—
16 “For Israel is stubborn Like a stubborn calf; Now the Lord will let them forage Like a lamb in open country.
17 “Ephraim is joined to idols, Let him alone. 18 Their drink is rebellion, They commit harlotry continually. Her rulers dearly[d] love dishonor. 19 The wind has wrapped her up in its wings, And they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.
God desires His people to be faithful to Him. The problem is that we often fail to fulfill our covenant responsibilities to God. In Hosea chapter 4, God brings a charge against the people of Israel. The people are accused of lying, killing and stealing. They have also committed idolatry and spiritual adultery. In Hosea 4:6, God says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” When God’s people are destroyed and waste away, it isn’t because God has lost either His love or His strength – it’s because His people lack knowledge of God Himself and they have forgotten His Law.
Hosea 4:1-6 (NKJV) 1 Hear the word of the Lord, You children of Israel, For the Lord brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: “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, With bloodshed upon bloodshed. 3 Therefore the land will mourn; And everyone who dwells there will waste away With the beasts of the field And the birds of the air; Even the fish of the sea will be taken away. 4 “Now let no man contend, or rebuke another; For your people are like those who contend with the priest. 5 Therefore you shall stumble in the day; The prophet also shall stumble 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 also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.
There are many things about God that are difficult for us to grasp. One aspect that is especially difficult for us to understand is the love that God has for His people. In spite of Israel’s continual sin, God demonstrates His never-ending love for her. The perfect expression of God’s love is found in Christ redeeming His people from the slave-market of sin. God’s main concern for His people is to bring about their redemption and restoration. Hosea 3:1-5
Hosea 3:1-5 (NKJV)
3 Then the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover[a] and is committing adultery, just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans.”
2 So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver, and one and one-half homers of barley. 3 And I said to her, “You shall stay with me many days; you shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man—so, too, will I be toward you.”
4 For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim. 5 Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days.