Summary Of The Minor Prophet Hosea
THE PROPHET HOSEA
The year is around 750 BC.
Israel is under the rule of Jeroboam 11 and later Pekah depending on actual date. Six Kings ruled during the last tragic 25 years of Israel. Although peace and apparent prosperity reigns, Judgement and chaos are just around the corner.
During Hosea’s lifetime Kings priests and all their Aristocratic supporters had abandoned the ways of The Lord and instead followed the idolatrous ways of the Canaanites.
Religion was booming – but it was the religion of the fertility cults involving all kinds of sexual excess and perversion. Power and Passion – the two greatest enemies of our relationship with God.
Assyria looms as the executor of The Lords Judgement on a rebellious and adulterous Nation. In 733, just 17 years after this writing Israel was broken up by the Assyrians then in 722 their capital Samaria was captured and Israel was no more.
What’s in a name? Hosea means ‘Salvation’ and this is what the Lord offered to Israel if they would turn from their idolatry or adultery.
Main Theme: This book is all about RELATIONSHIP – God’s relationship with his people which is falling apart owing to their adulterous behaviour. (Expand later)
Hosea can basically be split into two parts; 1st part chapters 1-3: 2nd part chapters 4-14.
First part READ 1;1-9
He is instructed to marry a Harlot named Gomer with whom he fathers 3 children, two sons and a daughter.
The Lord names them.
The first child-a son- is named Jezreel meaning ‘God Scatters’
Second child, a daughter named ‘Lo-ruhamah’ meaning ‘Unloved’ or ‘Not Pitied’
Third child a boy named ‘Lo-ammi’ meaning ‘Not my people’ or ‘not mine’ he is understood to be a ‘bastard’ son.
This is pure theatre! The Lord is here showing Israel in the most graphic way, a way that they would understand, just what he thinks of their behaviour.
He is impressing upon them that they have not only disobeyed his direct commands not to get involved with foreign gods etc but that they have broken their’ marriage vows’ in effect they have ‘run off’ and played the field.
Chapter 3 sees Hosea instructed to ‘love a woman’ who is also an adulteress (probably Gomer again) but not to be intimate with her for a number of days to symbolise the time that Israel would be without a King before they repented of their ways and returned to The Lord – who had been loyal and faithful.
Chapter 4 onwards really just spells out the whole allegory in more detail, pointing out Israel’s unfaithfulness, the destructive path they are on and The Lords willingness to accept them back to Him and forgive them.
Applications for Today
Relationship – God wants it – We need it !
The Lord was angry with the Israelites why? Because they were committing adultery!
They had broken the marriage covenant and God was determined to bring them back into relationship READ Hosea 2:16. “It will come about in that day,” declares the LORD THAT you will call Me Ishi, and will no longer call Me Baali.
( Ishi = “My Husband” , Baali = “My Master” ) Jeremiah 3:20
Bring it Back………Why is this relevant to us as Christians? For one – the ‘Church’ or ‘believers’ are frequently referred to as Christ’s ‘Bride’ (2 Cor 11:2 ) (Eph 5:22-27).
God desires us to know him not just know about him, this is Relationship and in this relationship lies all the promises and power of Almighty God.
Question – Salvation , what is it? We are saved from hell, yes. We have an entrance visa for Heaven, Yes – however, John 3:16 “For God so loved the world……….eternal life”
READ John 17:3 “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent”
The secret is in the word “Know” this is the same word ‘ginosko’ that we find in John 14:20- Read. “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”
This goes way beyond a mental knowledge where we can know all about Him but not KNOW Him.
Relationships take time and effort (Talk on this area. Perhaps relate your own experiences on what relationship actually means – good times, and not so good times!)
Only through building a deep relationship with God the Father can we have any lasting effect on the world around us.
We can be well saved and live a life of charitable giving, feeding the poor, dish out tracts, knock on doors – all good works but totally meaningless if we do not have the love of God in our hearts. The Apostle Paul says that Without this love we and all our deeds are nothing (cf 1Cor 13).
(1 John 4:8) God is love (READ) “The one who does not love is not from God for God is love”
An Important Lesson
My own struggle – I was once assured that if I had no real love for the people, The Lord could not use me in Christian work. However after much prayer and seeking on my part, God led me to the prophet Jonah. He had no love for the Ninevites, in fact he wanted The Lord to destroy them utterly! Yet God used Jonah to bring salvation to the whole city.
The love of God in an individual can be shown in many ways, quite apart from the emotional love that we can all feel at times. Jonah was able to bring the love of God to the Ninevites even though he himself felt no love for them. Of course it is good if you can relate well to the people that you are bringing the good news of the gospel to; if you have a real love in your hearts for them then that is even better. However do not think for an instant that if you do not ‘feel’ anything, God cannot use you. Remember you are bringing the Love of God into a situation, through your own presence and willingness to perform His will.
What The Lord revealed to me was this; I have to work on my own relationship with God and through that will come an outpouring of love – “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” (Jn 7:38).
Salvation – believing in Jesus – is just the beginning of our walk in the Lord; the real joy, fulfilment and power of New Testament Christianity lies in our own personal relationship.
We are all a work in progress – but how we progress is up to us!
HOSEA: PART 4b
Relationship is achieved when knowledge goes from the Head to the Heart.
I.E. The object of bible study is to discover more ‘about’ the Lord, to accumulate ‘head’ knowledge that we must then transfer to the ‘heart’- the Spirit bearing witness – thereby truly getting to know The Lord on a much deeper personal level.
Question: So how do we transfer this knowledge from Head to Heart?
First of all we have to look at the three aspects of the human individual; what they are and what they represent in our lives.
Body, Soul and Spirit – Breakdown
This is the 5 Senses – see, hear, touch, smell and taste. It is also the seat of our emotions, imaginations, values etc.
Regarding the supernatural things of God, the Soul is critical and unbelieving, as a result of the Fall from grace in the garden of Eden.
This is in fact the part of us that has been re-born. Upon salvation our own spirit was completely changed, Sanctified, Justified, Purified in fact ‘Born Again’ “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
Regarding the supernatural things of God, His Spirit in us believes 100% !
The body is basically a slave to our other two parts, Here’s the thing: whichever part of us (soul or spirit) has the upper hand will determine just how the body will react.
The Battle For Supremacy
There is a battle going on constantly between the Soul and the Spirit for dominance over the Body – if there is not, then there should be !
Paul describes this conflict in Romans 7. Where he describes in great (if somewhat confusing!) detail, the struggle between the body and the Spirit in his own life. Personally I have always found it something of a comfort that if a ‘spiritual giant’ such as the Apostle Paul should struggle with such things – then it is no surprise that we all should struggle at times.
In Romans 12:2 he tells us about “Renewing our mind” what does this mean exactly? In its simplest form it means to listen to the Spirit within, rather than the Carnal voice of the Soul – which is corrupt and against the things of God.
Galatians ch5:16,17”But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh”
“If any man is in Christ he is a new creation, old things have passed away – behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor 5:17).
Our body is still the same. If I had a wart on the end of my nose before I was saved, I will still have that wart after I’ve been saved! Our soul is still the same.
I will still have the same carnal lusts and desires as I had before I was saved (albeit they are suppressed by the on-going work of the Spirit in my heart) It is our Spirit that has become new and which now leads us to seek after the things of God because therein lies life eternal, freedom and victory! (2 Cor 3;17 “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”)
Back to Question – How do we transfer this ‘head’ knowledge to the ‘heart’?
Good news & bad news!
Bad news first – It takes time and effort on our part ! there are no short cuts to build a proper relationship. “he who seeks the Lord with all his heart shall find Him” (Jer 29:13) Prov 3:6 “In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”
Good news – God has made the first move! (Talk or meditate on the things that The Lord has done in your own life, perhaps giving testimony of your own salvation experience?)
If we are Christians, we already have the same power that raised Christ from the dead living within us !
IMAGINE – The Lord himself has already taken our hand and led us onto the dance floor, the floor is the World, we let him take the lead and the dance is on !!
How do we know when we have ‘transferred’ from Head to Heart?
When John the Baptist sent his disciples to ask Jesus if he truly was the messiah they were waiting for Jesus said “go and report what you see, the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM.” (Matthew 11).
Jesus said to his disciples “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”( Mark 16:17-18).
In other words we will not only ‘talk the talk’ but we will ‘walk the walk’.
Do not ever be fooled by the suggestion that the Christian walk would be easy – it is not!
Even a basic study of the epistles will show you that adversity is awaiting you at every turn, as you attempt to share your faith to a largely unbelieving world.
It was never easy for the early disciples and it will certainly be no easier for us.
You may or may not believe in the devil. I can only say that if you do not, then you are at an even greater disadvantage, because how can you prepare to fight something that you do not believe exists! The Bible makes it clear “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
For all our ‘advances’ since these times of the early disciples, the battle between the forces of good and evil are the same as they ever were, its just the surroundings that have changed.
As mentioned at the beginning of this work; Hosea is all about relationship, and in particular our relationship with The Lord. If we get this right, and make Him the focus of our lives, then we are indeed putting on the ‘full armour’ that we see in the book of Ephesians (Eph:6;10).
EXCERPT FROM THE 12 MINOR PROPHETS BOOK BY JAMES PARIS – COPYRIGHT APPLIES