The book of Hosea is named for it’s chief Character Hosea. The name Hosea means Salvation.
The book of Hosea was written by the Prophet Hosea, the son of Beeri (1:1) and son-in-law of Diblaim (1:3).
Approximately 715 B.C., and recorded events that occurred from about 753 to 715 B.C.
Hosea was written to illustrate and demonstrate the unfailing love of God for Israel in spite of her continual sin and unfaithfulness. Through Hosea’s marital experience, the book shows us the heart of a loving and compassionate God who longs to bless His people with the knowledge of Himself.
As we come to the book of Hosea we come to the section of the Old Testament known as the Minor Prophets.
It’s important to note the difference between a "major prophet" and a "minor prophet:" The words major and minor tend carry what most of us might look at as inferior vs. superior or of great importance versus lesser importance
Some of the prophets are called minor in reference to the length of the book, but that is not necessarily true in every case. The real difference is in their scope, not their significance. The "minor prophets" in the Bible see only the events that are coming to the "specific nation" they are assigned to. The "major prophets" see events coming upon not only their nation "but the nations of the world, they see world events.
Outline. 1. Hosea’s Wayward Wife. (Chapters 1-3:5)
God called Hosea to speak to his nation, and the very first command of God on the life of Hosea was this.
Hosea 1:3 “When the Lord began to speak by Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea: "Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry And children of harlotry, For the land has committed great harlotry By departing from the Lord."
Chapter 1 - Gives us the marriage and quickly moves through three children born to Hosea and his wife Gomer.
The first born child a son was named Jezreel, this name carries the meaning God Scatters. Jezreel’s naming followings God declaration of punishment.
The second born child a daughter was named Lo-Ruhamah, this name carries the meaning of no pity. Following Lo-Ruhamah’s naming God declares that he will no longer show love to the house of Israel.
The third born child, a son is named Lo-Ammi, this name carries the meaning of Not my people. Following Lo-Ammi’s naming God declares “you are not my people, and I am not your God.”
The chapter ends with God reminding us of his promise, to reunite the nation.
Chapter 2 - This chapter shows us the punishment and restoration of Israel. The illustration God uses is one of a court case where the adulteress is brought to trial and found guilty. After her punishment, she is restored to God.
Chapter 3 – We are shown the reconciliation of Hosea and Gomer. Hosea goes and literally buys his wife back from another man. Hosea takes Gomer back and she is to live in isolation for a while as she once again becomes his wife and his alone. This is symbolic of the fact that God takes us in the midst of sin and makes us his. From this point forward Gomer is not mentioned in the book any more. Gomers isolation is there to show us how God will deal with the northern kingdom of Israel. Rebelling against God is a dangerous thing.
Sometimes we lose appreciation for our relationship with God and we leave him out of our lives and compromise our beliefs as we adopt the ways of the world and become unfaithful. This is the lesson that God is teaching through Hosea’s life with Gomer.
2. God’s WaywardPeople. (Chapters 4 – 14)
Beginning in chapter 4 we turn our attention solely to the nation of Israel and more specifically the northern kingdom of Israel.
A. Israel’s Sinfulness. (Chapters 4 & 5)
Chapter 4 is a long list of the charges of disobedience against Israel. The nation had fallen into moral and spiritual decline, breaking all the laws of God.
Chapter 5 shows us God’s pronouncement of judgment against Israel. The people had forsaken the worship of God and replaced it with everything from idol worship to ritualprostitution. The religious leaders had failed to the lead the people back to God.
B. Israel’s Punishment. (Chapters 6 – 10)
Chapters 6 & 7 shows us that the people only really gave lip service to repentance, but their repentance was not genuine and God would not relent from punishing the nation. The people were relying on the rituals of worship but none of it was genuine.
Chapter 8 shows us the prophecy of Assyria coming and conquering the nation and carrying them off into captivity. The nation had refused to repent and were using the very altars that were intended for the worship of God, and instead they were using them to worship baal.
Chapters 9 & 10 continue to show us the sin of Israel, they had made covenants with other nations and placed their trust in these nations rather than the Lord. The nation of Israel had gained military and economic strength and yet even these things led them further away from the Lord.
Since the nation of Israel had placed it’s trust in military might instead of the power of God, it would be destroyed by the military of Assyria.
C. God’s Love for Israel. (Chapters 11 – 14)
In these final four chapters Hosea shifts to the theme of God’s intense love for Israel. God had always loved Israel, just as a parent loves a stubborn child, and that is why he would not release Israel from the consequences of it’s behavior. The Israelites were sinful, and they would be punished like a rebellious child is punished. God had repeatedly offered to restore the nation if only they would repent, but they had not so punishment must come.
However God still loved the nation of Israel, and so the nation of Israel was not finished, a remnant of faithful Israelites would one day return to Jerusalem and one day the messiah would come and offer salvation and forgiveness to all those would follow him.
In chapter 11 we get a look at God’s love for the nation of Israel, Gods punishment is always given for a reason and that reason is always to try and bring those he has to punish back to him. The nation of Israel was no different.
In chapter 12 we see yet another look at Israel’s sin, the nation had become known for it’s dishonesty, they stood for everything that God didn’t and God was not pleased.
Chapter 13 brings us a final look at God’s anger towards Israel. God was angry because the nation of Israel had decided they did not need God. They had become self sufficient in their own eyes. This is just as destructive today as it was in those days, when we decide we can do it all without God, then we have turned our backs on the Lord.
Chapter 14 brings us to the end of the book and again shows us that God still loves the nation and still desires them to repent. Hosea calls the nation to repentance and God promises them that even though they must be punished, he would at some point still restore the nation, if they would only repent.
Key Themes. 1. The Nation’s Sin – Just as Hosea’s wife, Gomer, was unfaithful to him, so the nation of Israel had been unfaithful to God. Israel’s idolatry was like adultery. They sought illicit relationships with Assyria and Egypt in pursuit of military power, and they mixed Baal worship with the worship of God. 2. God’s Judgment – Hosea solemnly warned Judah against following Israel’s example. Because Judah broke the covenant, turned away from God, and forgot her Maker, she experienced a devastating invasion and exile. Sins has terrible consequences.
3. God’s Love – Just as Hosea went after his unfaithful wife to bring her back, so the Lord pursues us with His love. No matter what, God still loves us.
4. Restoration – Although God will discipline His people for sin, He restores those who have repented. True repentance opens the door to a new beginning.
Life Lessons: 1. Sin has consequences.
2. We need to obey God, regardless of how difficult the call may be in our life. (1:2)
3. Following God is to be based upon commitment and not merely emotions.
4. When God calls His people to do difficult things, He will equip, empower, and help them.
5. God wants our heart and loyalty prior to our offerings and sacrifices (6:6).
6. We need to pray for and work toward revival among God’s people and in the church (14:1, 2).
7. Closeness to God today doesn’t guarantee closeness tomorrow (13:1).