Click here for today’s reading http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hosea%208-14&version=NIV
As I read this, I reviewed what I wrote last year about this section. And amazingly, the same things were running through my head again. I thought about all the Israelites had done…good and bad…. since Moses (400 years prior to Moses there was Joseph and only 70 Hebrews….with Moses….they had prospered and grew to 2-3 MILLION people.) They saw some amazing miracles, were taught God’s laws, knew HIS love for them, rebelled, followed and married the very people God had wanted them to destroy before entering the Promised Land. Recalling all that the Israelites did that was unpleasing to God, brings up memories of what I have done unpleasing to God. Then the peace that passeth understanding once again came upon me when I read: “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them.” Thank You God for your living Word!!
Israel will reap what it sows. An eagle is over the house of the Lord is symbolic that Assyria is about to conquer Israel (also referred to as Ephraim in our reading. Ephraim was the largest tribe in the Northern Kingdom so Israel is often referred to as Israel….just as Judah was the largest tribe in the Southern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom was referred to as Judah.)
As I read most of today’s reading, I must admit it was a hard one for me. The subtitles for each of today’s chapter’s were: Chapter 8– “Israel to reap the whirlwind” Chapter 9 & 10– “Punishment for Israel” Chapter 11– “God’s Love for Israel” Chapter 12–“Israel’s sin” Chapter 13– “The Lord’s Anger Against Israel” and then Chapter 14–“Repentance to Bring Blessing” (ahhhhh….a breath of peace and hope.)
Chapter 8:11 says: “Though Ephraim built many altars for sin offerings,
these have become altars for sinning.
It is EASY to read this and say: “BUT that is ALL history…what does it have to do with me?” or “WHY does Hosea go on and on and on about all Israel did?” or even “HOW can these people be so STUPID…why don’t they JUST repent..for real…in their heart…just do it already?” Remember God’s Word is LIVING. 2 Timothy 3:16 AMP says: “Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action)…”
Therefore, when we read all the Israelites did that they are NOW about to be held accountable for; we must remember that they were people just like us. God gave us the Words of Hosea to remind us of all that the Israelites did to help keep us on track through example. AND … if we have gotten off track…to help us remember that Jesus came so we may have a personal relationship with HIM, be forgiven, turn from our ways, live the abundant life here in this life, and spend eternity with our Abba Father in the next.
In today’s society we have made many Christian tokens, charms, beads, candles, statues, places, or rituals that we may THINK are pleasing to the Lord because they were once created for the Lord, but have become a sinful way of idolatry and worship. Whatever you use in your worship, make sure it is Scriptural and that you are using it in the right way and not as a substitute for God and Jesus. The Israelites were using things that everyone else around them used. They were doing things that the rest of society found acceptable. And although many prophets were sent to Israel to WARN them to TURN back to God ….their pride and self righteous nature made them believe either they did not need God…OR they were doing everything right with out HIM so the prophesies did not pertain to them. RIGHT?
Are the warnings over? All the other prophets have a “warning” about them, but not Hosea. Hosea is not only recounting Israel’s past sins, but he also is painfully remembering the ways of his wife (God did have Hosea marry her so he would have a personal and intimate understanding of Israel’s unfaithfulness and God’s unending faithfulness. NOW Hosea is saying…it’s gonna happen! If you recall reading the book of Judges, God raised up Judge after Judge yet Israel ALWAYS went back to their old ways. Well, we have had warning after warning…..God is Patient!!! BUT Israel allowed themselves to slowly, gradually, pull away from God. Their change was so gradual that they didn’t even realize how bad they were. They were “just living life.” They weren’t doing anything that everyone else wasn’t doing. BUT…..they had forgotten God. They were worshiping THEIR creations rather than THE CREATOR!! They had sunk so deep they were oblivious to their sin. Does this sound anything like our nation and our world today??? Could this be a little present day prophecy?
If you write in your Bible go to Chapter 9
9:9 Gibeah…flip to Judges 20:8 and reread the story of the concubine being offered up for rape.
9:10 Baal Peor…Numbers 25, when the Israelite had worship sex with the Moabite, and Phineas stabbed them in the act!
9:15, once a religious city where Saul was anointed, now a capital of Baal worship
And then by Chapter 10 verse 2 reminded me of all the times we have read in Kings and Chronicles with each new King that “he did not take down the high places of worship, or the alters…” so in Hosea 10 it finally says “the Lord WILL demolish them”, and then goes on to remind the people..King or NO King it does not matter because MAN will always disappoint!! Their is only ONE King who will NEVER break HIS promise! J-E-S-U-S HE’s my LORD and KING!!!
Chapter 11 in my Bible is called “God’s Love for Israel”. Again, this was a hard reading for me. Here I have been reading about all that was going to happen to Israel and HE is about to let Assyria attack, capture, and exile HIS PEOPLE! I hear people who don’t read the bible or know God personally say “HE is MEAN and full of wrath…..HOW can HE be a loving God!” And I have to stop and think about a loving parent, guardian, grandparent, aunt, uncle, etc who takes the responsibility for a child…. a rebellious, defiant, hard to handle, stubborn, hard headed, strong willed child……dealing with this type of child requires a LOT of prayer, a LOT of LOVE, and a LOT of consistent loving discipline. To the child….the discipline does not appear to be loving or even necessary. And, I am not speaking of beating a child….but being consistent (which requires a lot of human energy) in guiding them in the right direction, helping them make wise choices, WARNING them a few thousand times, and then just simply having to take ACTION and make their choices for them through discipline. No matter how bad things become, the parents and caregivers LOVE that child with all their heart. The discipline is not pleasant for the child or the parents, but must be done if there is ANY HOPE OF CHANGE.
God is the same. He tells us in Scripture that HE disciplines those He loves. HE loves His People and He has expressed every emotion to bring them back to His ways. Warnings did NOT work!! Now God will discipline them and it will not be pleasant, short lived, nor easy….but in an effort to get their attention…bring them back to HIM…and reveal HIS love in a deeper way…HE WILL discipline them.
Chapters 12 and 13 ….. ummmmmm yep….. you can tell God is angry! He is going all the way back to Genesis (it always does!). He is talking of Jacob and Egypt…and he is reminding them of all He had done for them but back in 11:5 He gives his reason. it is SIMPLE. Because they DO NOT repent. That is the KEY! It was then and it is NOW. Confession is step 1, Repenting is the Key!!!!
Finally in 14 one last plea. REMEMBER…. it has been several hundred years since David when Israel was in UNITY and several hundred more years since MOSES!! HIS people KNOW HIS ways but they REFUSE to be obedient to HIM. In this chapter HE describes HIS love for them once again but HE tells them basically: “it is now up to you…..you are either for ME or against ME….if you do not REPENT and TURN BACK TO ME…..PUNISHMENT WILL COME AND IT WILL NOT BE BECAUSE YOU HAVE NOT BEEN WARNED!! I’m sure we have all met people who say –“BUT a loving God would not have done this….a LOVING GOD would not send HIS child to HELL.” The sad part is that the people who say this can’t understand that God does NOT SEND anyone to hell!! We have ALL been given FREE WILL. WE have a CHOICE whom we will serve. If we CHOOSE NOT to serve God…then we make OUR OWN CHOICE as to which path we will choose for our eternal lives…. God or satan….heaven or hell. God has given us HIS Word to guide us and warn us. HE has given us HIS son to save us and show us HIS love, compassion, mercy, grace, and so much more. HE has given us HIS Holy Spirit to dwell within us and guide us. However…..if we CHOOSE NONE of HIS ways……THAT is a CHOICE that will last us ALL of ETERNITY.
So…..the message is…if you don’t know Jesus…. what are you waiting for??…it is no accident that you are reading this today. If you don’t know HIM you can write me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject of BLOG, or read the “What IF” tab at the top of the page of this blog. If you do know Jesus…what is HE speaking to you about today? Is there an area HE wants you to work on so you can be made more into HIS image…. TRANSFORMED more?
Sharing HIS love,
Click here for today’s reading: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hosea%201-7&version=NIV
I don’t know about you but I think Hosea MUST have had an INCREDIBLY close relationship with God to KNOW that he was to marry a woman who WOULD be unfaithful to him…..ALL so he could prophesy from a very personal perspective concerning Israel’s unfaithfulness to God. WOW!!
Chapters 1-3 are the parallels we can see between Hosea and Gomer, AND God and HIS people. What stood out MOST to me in these chapters was how deeply God is hurt when we separate ourselves from HIM. Read that again….. God is HURT when we choose to sin. HE DESIRES that we are ONE with HIM… HE is our GROOM. HE WANTS the BEST for us!! HE WANTS that deep abiding relationship with us…..forever and ever!! I think about ALL HE has done for me; ALL the times HE has been holding me when I truly did not know which end was up; ALL HE has blessed me with….and then my mind goes to the times I have pulled away from HIM. God has every right to be angry at me but HE becomes HURT….deeply. And when we/I refuse to listen to HIM there will be consequences…consequences in our lives….and often things to get our attention to bring us back to HIM.
At the time Hosea was written we are looking at a VERY corrupt nation (both Judah and Israel.) They were wealthy, they were making their own decisions…..WHY would they need a GOD with rules?? Their pride (over a long period of time) blinded them to the ways of God. God WANTED them to COME BACK TO HIM….but Israel and Judah were stubborn and did not want to listen.
The names are important to note here:
Jezreel means “God Scatters.”
Lo-Ruhamah-means “NOT Loved or NOT pitied.”
Lo-Amni: Lo means not- “NOT his people” (meaning they were not conceived by Hosea!)
Hosea means “Salvation.” It also means Joshua in Hebrew, or Jesus in Greek. (I KNOW…pretty amazing…right?)
Hosea was commanded by God to marry a woman who would be unfaithful to him and would cause him great heartache. The book can be read as Hosea sobbing as he writes. His wife Gomer almost from the beginning of their relationship runs the other way and chases the way of the world. Looking for pleasure in ALL life had to offer (sex, money, idolatry, possessions, EVERYTHING but the ONE TRUE GOD.) Gomer was no different than we are today….. we pursue our dreams and desires and at all costs and lose our appreciation for our relationship and love for the Lord. We often compromise our standards, do whatever our neighbor does to fit in, lose ourselves, and bit by bit become unfaithful to God, JUST as Gomer did to Hosea. Thank God that HE made a way for us and that we are children of a God of Grace, Mercy, and Love. He, like Hosea, is willing to buy us back at a price to redeem us, to restore us.
Jezreel, named after the battlefield from 2 Kings 10, from Jehu’s bloody tirade. Naming him that was to let the people know that retribution and punishment was to come.
Gomer had three children and two of them were NOT by Hosea — Lo-Ruhamah and Lo Amni. As you read the text you will see that HOSEA then DROPS the “Lo” part of their names which is prophesying that they (the nations) WILL be Loved and WILL be His People. Our reading in Hosea shows us a very fact of the Bible. WE KNOW that all 66 books in the Bible are weaved, but some are more obvious, like Hosea. Also when Paul is speaking to the Romans to let them know that ALL the people, even Gentiles, are Loved by God and and are HIS People, Paul quotes none other than the Prophet Hosea (I KNOW…. amazing, right???!!!!!)
“even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? As he says in Hosea:
”I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people;
and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,”and,
”It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them,
’You are not my people,’
they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’” Romans 9:25
Chapter 2 and 3 are so profound. If we get far from the Lord He WILL take drastic measures to bring us back, just as Hosea did with Gomer, just as HE did with Israel, and JUST as HE is doing to some of us now. Sometimes HE has to give us obstacles and strip us down so that as a last attempt we “try God,” or TURN BACK TO HIM. God does not care how we return to Him but that we do. He will bring us to the “Valley of Achor” meaning trouble (from Joshua 7 when Achan took some plunder and God punished the people to bring them back to obedience.)
Verse 16 is so very touching
“In that day,” declares the LORD,
“you will call me ‘my husband’;
you will no longer call me ‘my master.”
Chapter 3 –This reconciliation between Hosea and Gomer, God and Israel, is a beautiful symbol of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. God was ALWAYS and forever will be willing to buy us back, redeem us, restore us. HE paid the highest price for us. Hosea’s wife had fallen so far away she must have become a slave (a slave to sin in the most literal sense) that she needed to be bought back. At this point in the Scripture….NO one else saw worth in her, she was irrelevant to the world and YET Hosea paid with Silver and Barley. God paid for our redemption WITH the LIFE of HIS ONLY begotten SON….JESUS…. for YOU and for ME!! Chapter 3 is about God’s LOVE for us….to LOVE us so deeply when we have gone as far from HIM as possible… YET HE DESIRES TO BUY US BACK!!
Chapter 4-7 –The rest of the book deals with Israel’s sin and he impending judgement.
Verse 6 says: “my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” Destroyed in this verse means “separated from God.” When we are separate from God there is NO HOPE. Christ Jesus is the HOPE of the world. The enemy WILL ALWAYS attack the area we lack knowledge. LOOK what the enemy did to Eve…. and she HAD The KNOWLEDGE… God told both Eve and Adam NOT to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They could do ALLLLLLLLL else, yet the enemy came in and twisted the Words of God, made Eve doubt….and you know the rest of that story. When Adam and Eve sinned the bridge TO God was broken and man was separated from God. When Israel refused the knowledge from the prophets OF GOD, they are NO different from you and me. Lack of knowledge is the area the devil will attack and DESTROY you and me unless and until we gain HIS knowledge which comes from HIS Word. Without the blood of Jesus, there is NO HOPE of forgiveness and redemption and ALL that we have through Christ Jesus.
Verses 10-11 tells of all the ways people were giving themselves over to prostitution (and I am not just talking about the literal sexual prostitution)….they would “consult a wooden stick” and never consult GOD!!! Some people today use sticks in divination, and/or divining rods … in the hopes of knowing the future. NOTHING can EVER give us the HOPE that the blood of JESUS CHRIST has given us….NOTHING… HE IS OUR ONLY HOPE!! NO sin you or I have been involved in is greater than the BLOOD of JESUS to cleanse us. The BLOOD of Jesus WILL transform us. And, the BLOOD is NOT a ONE time deal… it is a FOREVER DEAL. TODAY…the POWER of the blood is still changing us more into God’s image and it will continue as long as we are on this side of heaven.
Have you ever thought about with ALL the scientific labs we have today and everything that can be made, identified, and clarified…..NO LAB is able to make BLOOD!!!??? Leviticus 17:11 states: “For the life of a creature is in the blood and I have given it to you to make atonement…..” BLOOD flowed STRAIGHT from God??? Adam and Jesus got blood straight from GOD!!! Life of flesh is in the BLOOD. ONLY the blood of Jesus takes away sin and ALL problems come from sin. Hebrews 9:22 says: “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”
The bottom line is if we do not worship the ONE TRUE GOD, KNOW JESUS CHRIST in our hearts, and seek HIS KNOWLEDGE through HIS WORD then we are no different than Gomer or Israel. And as a child of the Most High God it is VITAL that what we worship lines up with SCRIPTURE….otherwise it is idolatry. HOW do we KNOW what lines up with the Word… there are several ways… first we must read the Word. Second before and after we read the Word we must pray and ask God for guidance and wisdom and knowledge. Third, be involved in a solid bible based church that teaches the Word (not some watered down version of it…but the Word…giving you the original Hebrew and Greek meaning of words and teaching you comparing scripture to scripture.) Fourth, pray for a solid Christian mentor or two who can help you along you path…someone you can be honest with….someone who can teach you, help explain scripture, and love you through the hard times. Also know when you seek a mentor, you are seeking change…change to become more like Jesus. These are not all comprehensive suggestions but maybe a good place to start.
Chapter 6. A verse that has popped out SEVERAL times in the Bible so far is 6.
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
Repentance is not acknowledging what you did was wrong and then going to church or volunteering. Repentance is agreeing with God so much that what we are doing is wrong that we actually turn the other way and stop doing it. He does not want our sacrifice He wants our Repentance. Our Heart.
Sharing HIS love,
We will begin the book of Hosea tomorrow, and a wonderful book it is.
Hosea means “Salvation”. We know from Hosea 1:1 that Hosea, son of Beeri, is the author of this book, giving his PERSONAL account of prophetic messages from God to HIS (God’s) children and ALL the world…..EVEN to us today. The date the book was written was likely between 755 and 725 B.C. Hosea prophesied for approximately 50 years, from 785 to 725 B.C.
The prophet Hosea was instructed by God to marry an unfaithful woman, and he found in his own life a vivid illustration of the unfaithfulness of God’s people and the faithfulness of God. Hosea echoes the three-fold message of the prophets:
God hates (abhors) the Sins of His people
Judgment is certain
God’s love stands firm
You are going to love this story! Why? The Theme of this book is: Love, God’s Covenant, Relationship with His people, Judgement and Hope. Hosea was the ONLY prophet to come from Israel (northern kingdom). This book was written after the fall of their capital Samaria. After the judgment on God’s people they STILL didn’t turn towards him (excluding the people we read about yesterday who listened to Hezekiah), instead worse happened, they went further away from the Lord. The country was in a rapid decline morally and politically.
During Hosea’s reign he saw 6 Israel Kings in just 20 years, most of them assassinating their predecessor, showing us how unstable things had become. The past 200 years the Golden Calf had become the official national god, and God sent prophet after prophet preaching to the people to change their ways. As God was encouraging HIS children to RETURN to HIM (and ALL who would come to HIM), Rome was being built with all their gods, and in India Buddhism was beginning .
God had sent (and HIS people had every opportunity to have heard and seen) Elijah, Elisha, Jonah and Amos. Hosea’s job was to preach that God still Loved Them. The book of Hosea is a one-sided story of faithfulness that represents the relationship between Israel and God. Gomer was married to Hosea, as Israel was married to God, like the Church is married to God. (We are GOMER in the story). The story has two characters, the faithful husband and the adulterous wife. She chases after other gods, idolatry, and materialism.
This book can be read in it’s literal interpretation or in its allegorical interpretation. The latter makes the names and places found in Hosea to represent spiritual and symbolic truths. Hosea is a prophet to the Northern Kingdom, who preached a message focused on the unfaithfulness of the people and God’s faithful love and commitment back to them. Hosea can be divided into 2 sections: chapter 1-3 is sort of an autobiography of Hosea and then 4-14 is Hosea’s preaching.
Before you read Hosea and during your read, please pray FIRST and ask God to show YOU how this story relates to us nationally and to each of us PERSONALLY.
Sharing HIS love,