Let us press on to know the Lord! (Hosea 6:3)
I have been studying the book of Hosea for the purposes of preaching this book in the church today. It was an amazing day! In response to the praise songs, testimonies, prayer and the Word a woman who came to the church today received Jesus as her Savior and Lord! God is moving!
For this week’s blog, I want to share my sermon notes and encourage you to listen to the sermon as you review the notes and scriptures. You can find the sermon here
I pray that you will receive this message and press on to know the Lord-His steadfast love, mercy and great faithfulness! And please share this message with others.
During the ministry of Amos, God was sounding the judgement trumpet. His people, Israel, was under judgement for living for financial gain and for luxuries and doing it off the backs of the poor people, sexual sin and irreverent worship. Since the time of Amos ministry, things haven’t changed but have gotten worse.
Immediately after the ministry of Amos, God calls Hosea (which means “the Lord saves”) who lived and prophesied to the Northern Kingdom for 40 years.
Jeroboam II was king of Israel during that time. He was known for restoring the territory of Israel (2 Ki 14:23-29) but he was an evil king. He did evil in the sight of the Lord (sins of immorality & idolatry). Hosea ministered during a period of prosperity for Israel but their prosperity only led them into more and more sin. (Hosea 10:1 NLT) Israel was enjoying ‘peace’, plenty and prosperity but underneath a state of disorder was brewing and it would bring the political collapse of the nation in a few short years.
Hosea describes the characteristic social conditions of his day-corrupt leaders, unstable family life, and widespread immorality. Though people continued a form of worship, idolatry was more & more accepted & the priests were failing to guide the people into ways of righteousness
Israel was committing spiritual adultery, they had a spirit of harlotry (4:12 NKJV)-idolatry & appealed to other nations & not to God
spiritual adultery (harlotry) = unfaithfulness to God/ loving the world/any form of idolatry = rejecting & replacing God = unfaithfulness of one’s spouse (But you have been unfaithful to me, you people of Israel! You have been like a faithless wife who leaves her husband. I, the Lord, have spoken.”Jer 3:20 NLT)
The book of Hosea is about consequences of spiritual adultery, judgement of these sins and it is a book of hope, faithfulness, mercy, longsuffering, redemption, restoration and everlasting LOVE.
God demonstrates His love & faithfulness to His covenant with His people through Hosea & demonstrates to the people their unfaithfulness through Gomer & her children
Hosea declared the Word of Lord & his life was the message. Hosea shared God’s heartache-he experienced an unfaithful wife just as God had an unfaithful wife-Israel.
Message for us: our words & way we live our life must match
Hosea 1:2-3-God commanded Hosea to marry Gomer, a wife of harlotry & children of harlotry-offspring of a harlot mother just as the children of Israel were the offspring of adulterous parents. Seems extreme but so were the times. God was determined to get His point across to Israel.
The connection between Hosea’s experience and that of the Lord is seen from the very beginning-just as Gomer departed from Hosea, Israel departed from God.
Hosea was willing to endure unimaginable personal sacrifice to walk in obedience to the Lord. Israel’s unwillingness to follow the Lord provides a vivid contrast to Hosea’s life of faith & obedience
Message for us: Seeing this contrast challenges us to choose which example we will follow. Question to poder: Are we Hosea’s or Gomer’s?
In Chapter 1 of the book God tells Hosea what to name the 3 children. They receive symbolic names that warned of God’s coming judgement.
Hosea 1:4-5 And the Lord said, “Name the child Jezreel, for I am about to punish King Jehu’s dynasty to avenge the murders he committed at Jezreel. In fact, I will bring an end to Israel’s independence. I will break its military power in the Jezreel Valley.”
Jezreel (God scatters) is the place were Assyria would win a decisive victory over Israel (a consequence of their sin). Assyria was rising to power and would soon establish itself as a world empire. Many in Israel saw this nation as a possible ally but Hosea warned against trusting Assyria for anything. (Hosea 5:13; 7:11; 11:5-6 NLT) Hosea’s warning proves to be well-founded. In 2 Kings, Assyria attacks Samaria and it falls and the people of Israel are exiled to Assyria.
Hosea 1:6 Soon Gomer became pregnant again and gave birth to a daughter. And the Lord said to Hosea, “Name your daughter Lo-ruhamah—‘Not loved’—for I will no longer show love to the people of Israel or forgive them. (Lo-ruhamah also means not pitied or no mercy)
Hosea 1:9 And the Lord said, “Name him Lo-ammi—‘Not my people’—for Israel is not my people, and I am not their God. Lo-ammi-pointed to a coming separation between God & Israel indicated the end of the relationship.
God speaks to Hosea and says, “Bring charges against Israel? God declares in 2:2, “she is not My wife & I am not her husband”. Israel failed to live up to her part of the covenant God had made with her, God had the right to bring charges against her. Israel stood guilty before God!
What has Israel (Gomer) done? What are the charges?
Hosea 2:2 Adulterous actions have broken relationship. Years later Eze 16:26-You also committed harlotry with the Egyptians, your very fleshly neighbors, and increased your acts of harlotry to provoke Me to anger. At the time of Ezekiel’s ministry, Israel was appealing to Egypt rather than trusting in God. Now during Hosea’s ministry, Israel was putting trust in Assyria and not in God.
Hosea 2:4 Children are affected by the sins of the parents-generational sin.
Hosea 2:8-9, 11 They were worshipping Baal with what God had given them, they had forgotten that God had established the feast days so that the people could remember His blessings to them-as a result, God takes and gives away.
Hosea 4:1-2-they did not have intimate fellowship with God. They rejected relationship with God which would eventually destroy them (vs 4:6). The commandments that govern relationships with each other are constantly being broken.
Hosea 4:6-10, 18; 6:9; 7:3-the priests used their office for dishonest gain (used in disgraceful ways). They pointed out people’s sin so they would bring them more sacrifices.
Hosea 4:14-sexual sin
Hosea 4:19; 5:13; 7:9, 11; 8:9-10; 10:6-Israel held out hope that Assyria would rescue them from their troubles
Hosea 4:12, 17; 5:4, 11-idolatry
Throughout chapters 6-13 Hosea continues to point out sin and pronounce judgement and punishment for sin. There are heartbreaking statements in these chapters such as Hosea 13:4-11.
Messages for us:
- Keep commitment to love and follow Jesus. Obey His commandments. Make Jesus Lord of every area of your life.
- Parents (and spiritual parents)-Ps 78:4-8; Ex 20:1-6
- Sin brings death (Ja 1:12-15), though the realization of it may not occur immediately. (Ro 6:23-For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord) GOOD NEWS!-in Christ we declared not guilty before God. (Col 1:21-23)
- What are we doing with what God has given us? (Salvation, life, healing, freedom, finances, time, gifts etc.) The Lord gives and takes away.
- Turn to God and not to the world (idols) for help.
- Know and practice the ‘one another’s’ especially love one another.
Amidst the darkness of God’s judgement hope shone through as:
- There is a call to repentance-to return to God & know Him more intimately.
- God demonstrates His faithfulness to His covenant and declares promises that demonstrate His mercy.
- God demonstrates His love.
A call to repentance-Return to God and know Him more intimately
Hosea 6:1-3-a call to repentance-Hosea invited Israel to return to the Lord, to know Him more intimately, but the people ignored the prophet’s invitation (7:10) and continued in their ways.
Hosea 6:4-6/Mt 23:37-Jesus grieves over Jerusalem
Hosea 12:6- So now, come back to your God. Act with love and justice and always depend on Him.
Hosea 14:1-9-a call to return to the Lord and acknowledge that God alone could provide for their needs. He promises healing, blessing, fruitfulness, stability and beauty. God Himself promises to be a place of shelter.
Hosea 9:7-8; 12:10-warning through the prophets
Message for us: God has been saying this to His church-Words of exhortation and warning-continue to deepen your relationship with Me, urgent call to trust the Lord-trust in Him alone so that we can stand, more darkness-more light-things are going to get worse, more evil, deception, trials, testing and persecution, more intense battle, a call to repentance, be ready, watch and pray, get your homes in order, leave the world behind and focus on Jesus!
Throughout all of this God is demonstrating His FAITHFULNESS and MERCY- God demonstrates His faithfulness to His covenant and declares promises that demonstrate His mercy.
Hosea 1:10 YET God renews His promise He made to Abraham (Gen 22:17-I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies.)
Hosea 2:6-7 God’s mercy is displayed, as He uses all means to keep Israel from running from Him.
He declares promises that demonstrate His mercy-I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope. I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion. I will be faithful to you and make you mine, and you will finally know me as the Lord.
He reverses the punishment that were contained in names of the 3 children (2:22-23)-‘Jezreel’—‘God plants!’ I will show love to those I called ‘Not loved.’ And to those I called ‘Not my people’.
1 Peter 2:9-10; Ro 9:25-26-quote Hosea
Hosea 11:4 follows prophecy of the total destruction of Israel in chapter 10. It speaks to the fatherly love of God for His people. Hosea balances punishment with God’s special care and concern for Israel.
Hosea 11:9 unlike man, God has no limits to His patience and love. (2 Peter 3:9; Ro 5:8)
Hosea 3:1-5 despite their unfaithfulness God still loves Israel. Hosea demonstrated this truth by buying back Gomer! The Lord renews the call of Hosea to love his wife who has returned to her immoral lifestyle. She had abandoned him and become property of another just like Israel had done to God.
Message for us: Hosea purchased back Gomer just like God has purchased us with the blood of Jesus to bring us into relationship with Him. (1 Peter 1:18-19) He purchased us back from slavery to sin and death. The price you were bought with was the Blood of Jesus! Victory is won through the resurrection of Christ. Victory over sin and death. Victory over sickness and bondage. This is the GOSPEL-THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT JESUS!
Hosea 14:9 summarizes the book-to know God & His ways, to follow Him and so find righteousness, and to avoid paths that lead to destruction.
Now, back to the question: Are we Hosea’s or Gomer’s? What do you think?
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Rev 2:7 NKJV)