The Man Who Never Stopped Loving

Chapter 6 The people are not true to God

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Chapter 6

The people are not true to God

v1 ‘Come, let us return to the *Lord.

He has torn us to pieces, but he will bring us health.

He has caused us pain.

But he will cover the parts that hurt us with pieces of cloth.

v2 After two days he will bring us back to life.

He will raise us up on the third day.

Then we can live near him.

v3 Let us be humble before the *Lord. Let us really try to know the *Lord.

It will be like the sun that rises at the beginning of the day.

He will come to us like the rain.

Like spring rain that brings water to the ground’.

v4 ‘*Ephraim, what should I do with you?

Judah, what should I do with you?

Your love for me is like the morning mist,

Your love is like the *dew that goes away early in the morning.

v5 This is why I have sent my *prophets to you.

I wanted to cut you in pieces.

I wanted to kill you with words.

But light will come from your decision.

v6 I want a true love.

I do not want your animal *sacrifices.

I want my people to know me;

I do not want them to bring *sacrifices.

v7 But, like Adam, they broke the *covenant that we made with each other.

They were not true to me in their country.

v8 Gilead is a city of wicked men.

There are signs of blood everywhere.

v9 There are people who rob. They hide and wait to attack someone.

In the same way, *priests wait on the road to Shechem.

They attack people who pass by.

They have done wicked things.

v10 I have seen many bad things in Israel.

*Ephraim has become like a *prostitute.

She is dirty with *sin.

v11 People of Judah, I have planned a time for you in the future. I will bring in the harvest. This is when I am going to punish you.

Many Christians know about Hosea 6:1-6. These verses are full of hope. The first three verses are like a song. Hosea has told Israel that God is going to leave them for a long time (5:15). But here, he tells them that God will bring them health. God needed to punish them. But he now chooses to change his direction. God does not say how he will bring them health. Israel’s hope is on God’s *covenant. Hosea knows that God will not completely leave Israel. God may bring Israel health in the future. But Israel knows that this future time will come.

The two or three days (verse 2) mean a time that God has decided on. He has fixed a time. It will be like a dead person coming back to life. There is a promise that God will help his people. But Israel must try to ‘know’ God. God is a person that Israel can be certain of. We can be sure that the sun will come up every day. We can be sure that it will rain. In the same way, it will always be possible to know God. Deuteronomy 32:2 says that the way that God teaches is like rain. He rules the weather too and we can learn from him. God is like a parent who has a child. But the child does not obey.

In verse 4, there is a change in who is speaking. In the first three verses of this chapter, it is the *priests who are speaking. They say that they want to go back to God. But they do not say that they have done anything wrong. They just want God to be good to them. So, God asks them what he should do (verse 4). He asks questions like this in 11:8-9. He has tried everything. When the people of Israel were rich, they forgot him. When they were poor, they turned to other gods. They do not want to follow God’s *covenant completely (verse 4). God does not enjoy punishing his people.

The ‘words’ (verse 5) are the *covenants. In Deuteronomy 33:9 the ‘word’ and the ‘*covenant’ mean the same thing. In the same way, ‘cut in pieces’ means God’s *curses. It means, too, that God needed to kill some of the *Israelites.

God does not say that he wants to forget the system of *sacrifices (verse 6). The people thought that *worship meant *sacrifices. They thought that they had to make these *sacrifices often. But God knows that the people are not really thinking about him when they offer *sacrifices. God wanted much more than this. He wanted them to be loyal. (The *Hebrew word is ‘hesed’). This is not the same as *mercy! They were breaking God’s *covenant when they were not loyal to each other. He wanted them to ‘know God’. But the people wanted to do the least that they could do. Their *sacrifices were too easy. In Matthew 9:13, Jesus asked the *Pharisees to learn what this verse meant. The *Pharisees made the same mistake that the *Israelites had made 750 years before.

In verse 7, the word ‘*covenant’ appears for only the second time in the book of Hosea. We cannot be certain what the name ‘Adam’ means. It might mean a city. It might mean that Israel has looked on the *covenant as if it was dirt. (The *Hebrew word for dirt is ‘adam’.)

Gilead (verse 8) might be the city of Ramoth-Gilead. It is possible that Hosea was thinking of murders that had happened at Gilead. We do not know about these murders. Perhaps he was thinking of 2 Kings 15:25. This was when Pekah and ‘50 men of Gilead’ killed Pekahiah.

Shechem (verse 9) was an important city. We do not know the event that Hosea was thinking of. Perhaps *priests were killing people there. Perhaps the *priests were killing other *priests. The meaning, however, is that the *priests were guilty of murder because they led people away from God.

Verse 10 is very like 5:3b. Israel’s *prostitution is clear for everyone to see. But verse 11a finishes with a warning. There is a harvest for Judah. God will bring his *judgement.

Israel is like a hot oven

v11b I want very much to bring back the good times of my people!’

Chapter 7

v1 I want to heal my people Israel!

Then people will know that *Ephraim has *sinned.

Then people will know about the wicked things in *Samaria.

The people of Israel do false things.

Israel is full of people who rob houses.

They also rob people in the streets.

v2 They do not know that I (God) will remember their wicked ways.

The *sins they did are everywhere to see.

I can see these *sins clearly.

v3 Their evil ways make their king happy.

Their wrong ways make their leaders happy too.

v4 They are all people who practise *adultery.

They burn like an oven.

The baker does not watch the oven.

So the fire gets hotter.

This is while the bread is rising.

v5 On holidays for the king, the leaders drink too much.

The wine makes them do things in a silly way.

The king does the same thing as the people.

They all do foolish things.

v6 These people’s hearts are like an oven.

They are planning things against the king.

During the night, their anger becomes hotter.

And in the morning, it becomes a very hot fire.

v7 All of these people are hot like an oven.

They kill their leaders.

Kings lose their power.

Nobody comes to me for help.

A new part of the book of Hosea begins here. God wants to *bless Israel in the future. He wants them to be rich. This message is for both Israel and Judah. But Hosea also continues to write about the *sins of Israel. God wanted to be good to Israel. But he could not be good when people robbed from houses (verse 1). And there are many other *sins. People do not think that these *sins matter. God does not say that he wants judges to take more people to the courts. He wants people to really mean their *sacrifices.

God is watching everything that goes on (verse 2). He sees everything. He remembers things for thousands of years (Psalm 105:8). When he looks at the people of Israel, he sees their *sins. He does not see people. It is probable that this is what verse 2 means. Hosea does not say which king he is thinking of (verse 3). Perhaps it was Hoshea ben Elah (732-723 BC). Hoshea and his leaders did not want to know about God’s rule. They took power in a wicked way.

In verses 4-7, Hosea uses a picture of a baker to say several things. The meaning is not clear. Perhaps the picture means that the baker went to sleep. This was when his oven was too hot. Then the bread burnt. Bakers made bread in large ovens. They were round. They had a large door on the top of them. The bakers made a fire inside them. They shut the door. The bread then cooked for a long time. The leaders of Israel were like this bread. They did not care when the people’s *sins were very ‘hot’. These *sins were destroying people but the leaders did not care. God did not want this. The leaders were hot because they drank too much wine (verse 5). The wine that they drank made them do silly things. They wanted to be friendly with people who did not believe in God. Perhaps the leaders were friendly with other people who did evil things. The leaders never stopped thinking about evil things (verse 6). In the night, the oven became cool. But in the morning, someone made sure that the oven became hot again. The leaders of Israel were like the oven. It is only at night that they stopped thinking of evil things. The leaders have killed other leaders (verse 7). They came to power because they have killed kings. There was only one king, Menahem, that the leaders did not kill. This was after the death of Jeroboam 2nd. Israel was burning in its anger. There was nothing to stop it.

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