The Book of Hosea

By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, P.O. Box 551, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA



Hosea, A Prophet With An Unfaithful Wife
-- Hosea One --

In our Bible the books of Hosea through Malachi are called Minor Prophets. They were classified as "Minor" because of the short length of each book. These shorter books are inspired of God just as were the longer books of the prophets that are called "Major" prophets.  

The Old Testament prophets were both "forth tellers" and "fore tellers." As forth tellers their purpose was that of preaching and teaching in order to communicate God's message to Israel. Their work as fore tellers was that of giving specific predictions concerning the Messiah, His work and His kingdom. These men were inspired by the Holy Spirit in both their preaching and their writing. The Minor Prophets wrote their messages as a part of Old Testament scripture. However, it must be observed that the books are not in chronological order in the Bible. These books fit in at various points in the history of Israel and Judah. Hosea's time frame corresponds to 2 Kings 14and onward in that book, 1 Chronicles 2 and 2 Chronicles 2 and onward in those books. Some prophets were contemporaries. Isaiah and Hosea were among those that prophesied at the same time.   

Hosea must have been a relatively young man when he became a prophet. He prophesied "in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel." (Hosea 1:1) The time of Hosea's prophecy covered seventy two years, from the reign of Uzziah to the reign of Hezekiah. He was a prophet to the Northern Kingdom.  

God provided Hosea with an unforgettable object lesson for Israel. God instructed Hosea to "Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD." Gomer would leave Hosea to run around with others and gradually sink lower and lower. Hosea would seek after her and forgive her when she repented. This vivid lesson was used by Hosea to preach to Israel about how they had deserted the Lord and gone after other god's. If Israel would repent God would take her back in His grace. The days of Hosea were a time of peace and prosperity for Israel. However, the people had become very materialist and immoral.  

An innocent husband and an immoral wife -- Hosea 1:1-3: Hosea spoke with the authority of God. The book begins powerfully with the words, "The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea." This is not man's message; it is a message from God. God gave Hosea an object lesson that made it possible for him to preach to Israel concerning God's feelings about their unfaithfulness. God told Hosea to take a wife from among prostitutes. Sadly, like Israel in her relationship with God, Gomer, Hosea's wife did not remain faithful to him after their marriage. Israel's love for other gods and for idols was often pictured as spiritual adultery.  

Hosea's life must have been very difficult. The way Israel was acting toward God was a grief to his heart; therefore his preaching was very unpopular among the people. He also had to deal with the challenge of an unfaithful wife. The Northern Kingdom was about to be destroyed because of their many other forms of idolatry and fornication. 

The name "Hoses" means Salvation. By the word of the Lord He brought salvation to Israel if they would only listen. Hosea's "wife of whoredoms" and her unfaithfulness pictured the "House of Israel" and their ungodly way of life. Instead of worshipping God's way Israel had fallen into all forms of idolatry. God ordered Hosea to go and marry "a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD." Hosea was a great servant of God. He went and did exactly as God commanded.  

A son named Jezreel -- Hosea 1:4-5: Concerning the first son that was born God told Hosea, "Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel. And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel." It was at Jezreel that Jezebel was killed and there Ahab's dynasty ended.

The day of destruction for the nation of Israel was certain. They continued to reject God mercy and grace. They refused His worship so only doom awaited. Their "Bow" was broken just as God said it would be. The "House of Israel" was dismantled. God used the Assyrian's to wipe out these rebellious people. A lake of repentance in Israel led to there being no hope for the nation.  

A daughter named Loruhamah -- Hosea 1:6-8: When Gomer conceived a second time she bore a daughter, God told Hosea to call her name "Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away." This child pictured very vividly the total fall of the nation of Israel. When God's grace is taken away nations fall. God's judgment came without mercy upon Israel. In contrast God said, "But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, or by sword, or by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen." 

The name "Loruhamah" means "not compassionate", or "not beloved." The house of Israel did not obtain mercy from God. In 722 B.C. the Assyrian nation defeated the nation of Israel. The "house of Israel" was completely dismantled. They were so scattered they forgot who they were as a nation. Israel and Judah were dealt with in a separate way. While God had "No mercy" (Loruhamah) on Israel he would show mercy to Judah. How sad to perish without the mercy of God!

A son named Loammi -- Hosea 1:9-11: The third child that was born was a son named "Loammi." God named these children and the reason that He named this son Loammi was "for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God." In the last verses of this chapter God disclaims any ownership of Israel. "Through these three children, God has sent His message to Israel; "Jezreel" means, God will cease the Kingdom of Israel, "LoRuhamah" means , God will not have compassion on their people; and "LoAmmi" means, you are not my people." 

God had chosen the Jews to be His people above all people. He has blessed and protected them. Sadly, in spite of all the ways God blessed Israel they did not serve and worship Him. They did not respond to the many ways God blessed them. Though Israel would be rejected there would come a time when the "children of Israel shall be as the sand." This refers to Pentecost and the time of the gospel when many would come to the one Lord. In the present day the term Israel of God not only refers to the Jews but also to a great number of Gentiles. That is how Paul applied the words of Hosea in Romans 9:24-26. Thus the numbers of the true Israel of God, both Jews and Gentiles, will be as the sand of the sea. All throughout the world people that had not been the people of God can now, by the procession of conversion, be called "the sons of the living God."  

The Israel of God is gathered together in one body, the church. Jews and Gentiles are made one in this body. They are gathered in one Lord Jesus Christ. In the Christian age Gentiles, the children of Israel and the children of Judah join together in seeking the Lord our God. The day of Jezreel may be taken as a time of great comfort, joy, and happiness. The entire Gospel dispensation may be called the day of Jezreel, or the day of salvation. Those in the kingdom of Christ are blessed with great peace and spiritual prosperity; great love and unity. 

Today is the day when we should seriously consider God's judgment against the wicked. Will you not receive Christ as your Lord and Savior this day? To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized in order to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) After baptism worship and serve God according to His truth!

The Object Lesson Of Hosea's Family
-- Hosea Two --

    The terrible unfaithfulness of Hosea's wife, Gomer, is a picture of Israel's unfaithfulness to God. Israel had turned to other gods just as Gomer had turned to other men. God had looked upon Israel as His people pictured in the name of the son Ammi. He had extended mercy to them as pictured by the name of Hosea's daughter, Ruhamah. In Hosea two we also see the names Ishi and Baali. God said, “thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali." The desire of God was to be called Israel's husband and not called her god, Baal any more.

      In sadness Hosea asked his children to tell their mother to stop living like a prostitute. The picture was that Gomer was bringing terrible misery and destitution upon herself by her sinful living. This prostitute took no thought as to how she was hurting the ones that loved her. This was the same with the nation of Israel. They had no concern as to how they were hurting God. Hosea's unfaithful wife thought that she could get all she needed elsewhere. She was mistaken. She desperately needed her husband just as Israel needed God. Israel thought she could get what she needed from Baal, but she was terribly likewise mistaken.

      God put things in Israel's path to bring her back to her to knees. Like Gomer they should have realized that life was better with their first husband. God had blessed Israel and she used those very blessing to serve the Baal. The result of this unfaithfulness and unthankfulness was that God took back his blessings. Those that lose God also lose every reason for joy. “I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts." Israel had forgotten God and had turned to Baal.

     It is hard to imagine such love but Hosea still loved his unfaithful wife and God still loved Israel in her unfaithfulness. The valley of Achor was given to Israel as a door of hope. Troubles often draw people to the Master. There was coming a time when the people would not use the name of Baal any more. Because of Jesus God could say, "I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God."

      Plead with your mother to do right-- Hosea 2:1-5: Through the years of the Jewish nation there were always some that were godly people. These righteous ones were to say let your brothers be called "Ammi" or "My People" and your sisters be called "Ruhamah" or "Shown Mercy." Today those that are Christians greet one another as brethren. They realize that by God's mercy they are His children.

    Gomer represented "the ten tribes" that had departed from God. God said, "She is no longer my wife, and now I, the LORD, am not her husband." The righteous were to beg Israel to stop being unfaithful. God desired that Israel put away her whoredoms or false doctrine and idolatry. God said, "I will strip her naked like the day she was born. I will make her barren like a desert, and she will die of thirst." They nation of Israel would be shamefully exposed by the Assyrians as payment for their spiritual adultery. The same thing could happen to us because many Christians today are so confused that they accept sodomy, abortion, and false religious doctrines.

    If we go a whoring after false gods or false religions even our child will be brought under that unfaithfulness. Even the righteous will have to suffer because of the unfaithfulness of many. It is just so important for us to go back to the Bible, and to teach our children how to study and live according to God's truth. Gomer gave her lovers credit for what she had when it was Hosea that had provided for her. Israel gave Baal credit for what she had when it was Jehovah that had provided for her. False religion has provided man with nothing. The church in the world today is being starved for truth.

     Israel refused to thank and honor God -- Hosea 2:6-13: God promised that He would make the path of His unfaithful people rough and very hard to take. They had used blessings given them by God to serve Baal. Many today claim to serve God yet follow false religions practices. God cut Israel off because of their unholy religious customs. Let us open our eyes before the same thing happens with us. Thousands are drawn into false religions because of an ignorance of scripture. Sadly many so called Christians even love and defend the things that God hates.                  

    God wanted it understood that there comes a time when even a good and faithful husband will finally put his unfaithful wife to shame. The continual unfaithfulness of Israel caused God to allow them to be taken into captivity and He withheld His blessings from them. Is God fed up with our so called Christian world of today?

     Israel would suffer the consequences of her spiritual adultery. God said, "Then I will strip her naked in the sight of her lovers. No one can rescue her." Israel was taken into Assyrian captivity and there they were compelled to continue in the spiritual adultery. God said, "I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts." (Hosea 2:11) These are things that would happen to Israel during its exile. They were not allowed to conduct their worship while there.  

    The very ungodly people that Israel had befriended made their land desolate. The land was deserted and overrun with wild animals. Israel gave God no credit for any of the good things He had done for them. Imagine how God feels when what He has given to people is used to worship false gods or to practice false religions. Israel had dressed in their finest and then went to worship Baal. God punished Israel for the days she spent in service to Baal. They worshipped in ignorance and had none of God's blessings. 

   Trouble brought hope to Israel -- Hosea 2:14-17: This begins the beautiful picture of God alluring His people back. As a wronged husband that was willing to forgive his unfaithful wife God would receive back a penitent Israel. If it is your desire to serve God He will receive you back. If it is your desire to chase after adulterous religion God will give you up to that desire. When the unfaithful bride returns to her first love she is forgiven and received back. The word Achor means "trouble." It was the name of the place where Achan sinned at Jericho and brought so much "trouble" upon the congregation. Sin got Israel in trouble, but God's love brought them out. There was a door of hope for God's unfaithful people. 

   In an unusual expression God said, "And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali." (Hosea 2:16) Imagine the joy experienced by Israel when she is received back by the loving and forgiving God of heaven. Those that return to God could call Him their husband. The captivity of God people brought them from idolatry back to service to God. 

   Thou art my people, saith God -- Hosea 2:18-23: When God allowed His people back He also blessed and protected the land. God did not expect His people to go to war to reclaim the land. He would give it to them. God would "betroth" Israel unto Himself. They would not be sent into exile again. God will be faithful to the promises He has made to His people.  

    God gave the world salvation through Jesus. There is unity of interest in both directions, from God and from the people. The people have a responsibility to hear and obey God. They need a full understanding of God's truth. Physical blessings came to Israel when they returned to God. Spiritual blessings come to those that obey God. Jezreel is the seed that God will sow, and reap. It is pictured in the words, "And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God." (Hosea 2:23) How blessed we are that both Jews and Gentiles are now a part of God's spiritual nation. God had disowned, divorced and scattered Israel. Now God is reaching out to gather us all in Christ.

   Today is the day when we should seriously consider God's judgment against the wicked. Will you not receive Christ as your Lord and Savior this day? To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized in order to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) After baptism worship and serve God according to His truth!

Hosea Takes Gomer Back
-- Hosea Three --

Gomer has gone back to her life of prostitution. This must have brought great grief to Hoses and to their children. God told Hosea to, "Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine." Gomer is being sold as a slave. Hosea goes to the slave market and buys her back with silver and barley. He said, "So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley." (Hosea 3:2) He paid the price of a female slave to purchase his own wife back.  

Hosea redeemed his wife. In a beautiful scene Hosea took Gomer from the slave market saying, "Thou shalt abide for me many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man: so will I also be for thee." (Hosea 3:3) This is a beautiful picture of how God will redeem Israel. This is an amazing picture of redemption. The picture God gave was a warning as to what sin did to them and of how beautiful redemption would be. He said, “the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days." (Hosea 3:4-5)

The ugliness of sin -- Hosea 3:1-5: When you begin to talk about sin some get angry and others mourn its ugliness. Gomer had proven herself to be an unfaithful wife to the prophet of God. Israel had become unfaithful to the Lord and committed spiritual adultery. The picture of sin is always ugly. In every age and among every people sin has existed. There have always been things recognized as right or wrong. As far back as 2 Chronicles 6:36 the Bible says, "There is no man which sinneth not."  

We see in Gomer that sin is the opposite of love, obedience and righteousness. (Romans 6:16-18) The Bible says of those that had become Christians, "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." (Romans 6:16-18) 

 The effect of sin is horrible devastation. One look at Gomer or at the nation of Israel verifies that truth. Sin separates people from God. Isaiah wrote, "Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear." (Isaiah 59:1-2) Sin has extracts a very high price. The Bible says, "The way of the transgressor is hard." (Proverbs 13:15) Sin is the means by which death entered the world. "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." (Romans 5:12) Hosea understood first hand the misery brought into the world by evil. The consequences of sin are horrible for individuals and for nations.  

The beauty of love -- Hosea 3:1-5: The love of Hosea for Gomer was an amazing thing. The love of God for Israel was even more amazing. Love is revealed by our actions. God told Hosea to “Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine." Was he able to love this woman? Observe his actions, “So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley." We are even allowed to hear his words of love, "Thou shalt abide for me many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man: so will I also be for thee." (Hosea 3:2-3)  

Love is not merely an emotion. Love demands actions. Jesus said, 'If you love me, you will keep my commandments.' (John 14:15) Even though Gomer did not love Hosea, He loved God and "Love obeys." Love just keeps on walking in God's will. Hosea loved Gomer. It was very painful to him to have his love rejected by his own wife. It was terrible painful to God to have His love rejected by Israel. Nothing is more painful to the loving person than to have his love rejected.  

The power of redemption -- Hosea 3:1-5: The idea of redemption is similar to the practice of purchasing a slave and then allowing him to go free. It implies the payment of a price was made. Gomer was redeemed at the slave market by Hosea for "fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley." (Hosea 3:2) Today our redemption is in Christ. Paul wrote, "Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory." (2 Timothy 2:10) The price that was paid for our redemption was the precious blood of Jesus. Peter wrote, "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." (1 Peter 1:18-19) 

Just as Hosea gave his money to ransom Gomer from the slave market Jesus gave His blood to ransom us from sin. He said, "Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:28) The ransom price was Christ Himself. Paul wrote of Jesus, "Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." (1 Timothy 2:6) The concept of redemption by blood is difficult for some to understand. Satan has taken advantage of that and has used modern teachers to ridicule the idea of salvation by the precious blood of Jesus. It was absolutely necessary for Jesus to shed His blood for the remission of our sins.  

The joy of reconciliation -- Hosea 3:1-5: Gomer provides a vivid picture of how Israel had sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. God is righteous; He cannot condone sin. However, He also gave them a promise of redemption for Israel. "Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days." (Hosea 3:5) This verse also looked to the day that God accomplished reconciliation by sending His own Son to atone for our sins. God reconciled us unto Himself by Jesus Christ. 

The great word "reconciliation" has the meaning of to "reunite after separation." This is what happened with Hosea and Gomer. This reconciliation happened with God and Israel. Reconciliation between the God and the sinner can now take place by the precious blood of Jesus.  He paid the price for our sins so God could forgive us without violating His own righteousness.  

Today is the day when we should seriously consider God's goodness in providing redemption. Will you not receive Christ as your Lord and Savior this day? To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized in order to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) When you obey God you will be redeemed by the blood of Christ. Your sins will be washed away (Acts 22:16) and you will be reconciled to God. (Romans 5:10)

Israel Committed Spiritual Adultery
-- Hosea Four --

Hosea four again deals with the theme of Israel turning to false gods. How sad it was when God said, "Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land." (Hosea 4:1) Israel had turned from the truth of Jehovah to the false gods of Baal, Molech and others. The people of Israel were very religious people. They were busy with their worship. Sadly they worshipped false gods at false altars.  

Hosea wrote to warn Israel of the tragic result of their unfaithfulness to the one true and living God. Having left God their sins increased and they became more and more wicked. Their spiritual adultery was caused by a lack of knowledge of God and of His word. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children." (Hosea 4:6) The religious ignorance of that day was first the fault of the priests and teachers. They had utterly neglected their duty as teachers of God's word. The second responsibility for the religious ignorance rested upon the people themselves. Spiritual ignorance among the people and corrupt priest lead Israel to spiritual ruin.  

The children of Israel worshipped false gods and looked to them for leadership in life. God scattered Israel throughout the Assyrian Empire as a result of their spiritually sinful state. There they were exposed to injury and much violence. God said Ephraim is joined to idols. Ephraim is mentioned because it was the most influential of tribe in the Northern Kingdom. The priests, the rulers and the people would now face the consequences of their sins.  

A controversy with Israel -- Hosea 4:1-5: When people depart from God's arrangement of things then no one is faithful or loyal or truly cares about God. Without God these people turned to other gods and practice all kinds of evil. The children of Israel were guilty of spiritual adultery. They had forsaken truth, mercy, and the knowledge of God. Their conduct had become godless and sinful. They were so corrupt that "the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land." Israel had fallen into a very corrupt way of life. There was cursing, dishonesty, murder, robbery, unfaithfulness and all kinds of violence everywhere in Israel. Hosea said, "Blood touches blood." One violent act was not completed until another was done.   

God punished their disobedience by bring misery upon their land. Their wickedness caused everything to suffer; the land, the people and the animals. The horrible things that had happened in Israel were the fault of the priests. God said, "Not everyone is at fault. My case is against you, the priests." The common people were also guilty. But if you cannot reason with the priest about religious error what hope would there be for reasoning with the common man about eternal things. Both the prophet and the entire nation, pictured with the term "thy mother," would be destroyed because of their spiritual adultery. .  

A Lack of knowledge -- Hosea 4:6-11: Religious ignorance is always sad. This is especially true when people have had the opportunity to know what is right. These people and these priests were destroyed because they had neglected knowledge. God said, "Now I will reject you and forget your children, because you have forgotten my Law." "No one is as blind as he who will not see, nor deaf as he who will not hear." Israel's priests rejected the knowledge of God and the knowledge of His word. The result of their rejection was that God likewise rejected them.  

Good judgment would say that the more priests you have the better the people will be. Sadly the more numerous the priests and the people of God became the more they increased their ungodliness. Instead of trying to help the people avoid sin the priest encouraged them to sin. This allowed them to stuff themselves on their sin offerings. "They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity." 

God treated both the people and the priest alike when He sent the promised punishment upon Israel. They were all to blame for the sinful condition of the nation. Jeremiah described this mutual guilt saying, "The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?" (Jeremiah 5:31) The punishment included eating but not being satisfied, and having sex through whoredom but not being able to produce children. This would be devastating to a nation that depended on and bragged about physical strength. The people gave themselves up to revelry, lust and drunkenness. They left God out of their thinking.  

A god that cannot answer -- Hosea 4:12-15: The children of Israel were asking counsel from their wooden idols and other objects of wood. Their sinful living had lead them to terrible judgment; thinking they could receive good advise from a stick of wood. Their whoredom, both fleshly and spiritual, had led them to lust for sex at pagan shrines. They had become unfaithful to God. The people sacrificed to their idols on mountaintops and hills. They would find a shady tree under which to conduct their pagan worship. The spiritual adultery of the leaders of Israel caused their own daughters and wives to sell themselves for sex. As these leading men proved unfaithful to God spiritually their wives and daughters prove unfaithful to them by committing physical adultery.  

God is not condoning or supporting the wrong that was being done. He allowed the wrong in order to teach these leaders of Israel a needed lesson. God said He would not punish the prostitution of the wives and daughters of the leaders of Israel because they themselves "go to prostitutes and offer sacrifices with them at pagan shrines. Your own foolishness will lead to your ruin."  

Israel (the Northern Kingdom) had played the harlot and suffered the consequences. God warned Judah (the Southern Kingdom) that the same thing could happen to them. Gilgal and Bethel were once places of respect for the true God, but now they had been polluted by idolaters. Judah was warned to stay away from such places and to avoid the evils of idol worship that went on there.  

A backsliding heifer -- Hosea 4:16-19: In their relationship with God Israel was nothing more than a stubborn cow. They had thrown off the yoke and refused submission to God. God would now deal with as a lamb turned out into a large field. Out in the field there would be much more danger of attack by wild beasts. God punished Israel by "turning her out" into exile in Assyria. There she faced sure and certain difficulty.  

The name "Ephraim" refereed to the children of Israel or the 10 Northern Tribes. Israel had gone beyond the point of hope so the prophet was told to leave them alone or not to try any more to reform them. The rulers of Israel got drunk; went in to prostitutes, lived vulgar lives and practice covetousness and bribery. Israel was swept away for sacrificing to idols. They shall be so humbled by God that "they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices" to idols. 

Today is the day when we should seriously consider God's judgment against the wicked. Will you not receive Christ as your Lord and Savior this day? To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized in order to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) After baptism worship and serve God according to His truth!

Israel Had Been Wicked
-- Hosea Five --

Hosea five pictures God's prophecy of destruction and punishment against the Northern Kingdom known as Israel. These people are sometimes called Ephraim. The priests, rulers and the people had committed spiritual whoredom against God. Hear the words of Hosea 5:3, "I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me: for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled." Their spiritual idolatry had led them far away from their Creator and had even had a negative impact on Judah. God had withdrawn Himself from them and now they would feel the consequences of their sinfulness. (Hosea 5:6)  

"Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke" and Judah could not escape her punishment. God said the punishment will come, "till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face." (Hosea 5:15) Israel went into Assyrian captivity in 721 B.C. to face the consequences of their wickedness. Sin had overtaken the house of Israel. They were full of pride. They sought the Lord with their flocks and herds but not with their heart. Now they must deal with the result of their idolatry. "Therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity; Judah also shall fall with them."

God gave these people the opportunity to repent but they were unwilling to change. Their punishment came slowly like a moth or like rottenness. It would take the rod of correction to cause Israel to seek the Lord. God said, "For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him." (Hosea 5:14) 

Israel is defiled -- Hosea 5:1-4: It was the duty of the priest to lead the people into worship of the true God. Instead they set a snare and got the people caught in the snare of idolatry. At Mizpah and Mount Tabor even the royal family had become a trap for the people instead of a blessing. In the instructions that God gave to Aaron concerning the priesthood He said, "And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses." (Leviticus 10:10-11) The priest had failed miserably by not fulfilling their responsibility before God. 

At the very place of worship the priest had despised the authority of God. In their ungodliness they were so treacherous that even murder was not outside of their evil schemes. God knew all about Israel and He found them unacceptable to Him. He said, "Thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled." (Hosea 5:2) Ephraim, the capital was guilty, as was all of Israel. Much of the evil in Israel had its beginning in Ephraim. The people had become so corrupt that their evil deeds kept them from returning to God. The spirit of spiritual whoredom kept the people form knowing the Lord God. Their spiritual whoredom had also lead to the practice of physical whoredom. They were corrupted more and more by evil.   

The pride of Israel -- Hosea 5:5-7: The pride of Israel contributed to their sins. Pride is: (1) an overvalued sense of one's own personal value or an excessively high opinion of oneself, (2) arrogant or disdainful conduct, (3) haughtiness or conceit. The pride of Israel testified to their guilt and pride also caused Judah to stumble. The corruption of Israel caused God to withdraw Himself from them. Even when they came to offer their sheep and cattle as sacrifices God had no pleasure in it. It is true that God called for the sacrifices, but the people had to first give God their heart.  

Sadly, the people of Israel had been unfaithful to the Lord God. They had worshipped idols. They had produced children by prostitution. They had "dealt treacherously against the LORD." (Hosea 5:7) He promised, "Now shall a month devour them with their portions." In a very short time all of their possessions shall be devoured. Their disobedience brought sure and certain destruction.  

An opportunity to repent -- Hosea 5:8-12: God said, Blow ye the cornet in Gibeah, and the trumpet in Ramah: cry aloud at Bethaven, after thee, O Benjamin. (Hosea 5:8) Trumpets were used to warn a nation that they were under attack. This warning was to be heard in Gibeah, Ramah, and sinful Bethel. Benjamin was told to watch out! This warning provided them the opportunity for repentance. This was a prediction that Israel would be attacked by the Assyrians and that there would be the captivity of the ten tribes. God gave His solemn promise that Israel would be wiped out.  

Judah is similarly now brought into the prediction. Her leaders were also like a bunch of crooks that moved boundary markers. They likewise would be flooded with God's anger. Wickedness and spiritual whoredom destined the people of God to be invaded by the heathen nations. Ephraim is oppressed and broken by God's judgment. They got what they deserved for worshipping useless idols. The commandments they kept were not God's commandments, but those of Jeroboam where he told the people to worship idols at Dan and Bethel. (1 Kings 12:28-33) Both Judah and Israel would feel God's wrath. Just as a moth and rottenness attacks material things and destroys them, just so the Lord promised that His unfaithful people would soon be attacked. God gave them opportunity but they simply would not repent.  

Seeking the Lord -- Hosea 5:13-15: Sadly when the punishment started God's people turned to Assyria for help. How sad, "When Israel and Judah saw their sickness and wounds, Israel asked help from Assyria. Jareb is "A symbolical name for Assyria." Assyria could not help or cure Israel of her wounds. Many turn to the wrong source for help when they should turn only to God.  

It grieves the heart of God when His people look to strangers for help instead of to Him. His anger was pictured in the words, "So I'll become a fierce lion attacking Israel and Judah. I'll snatch and carry off what I want, and no one can stop me." It is a tragic sin to lose faith in God. Appealing to someone else for help will always fail! The appeal to others for help brought no help, but it did bring down the wrath of God.  

It must have been very difficult for God to leave His people in the hands of the heathen. God said, "I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early." (Hosea 5:15) God's people would be left in the hands of their enemies until they became desperate and begged for my help. The purpose of this punishment was to cause the people to see their sins and to come to repentance.  

Today is the day when we should seriously consider God's judgment against the wicked. Will you not receive Christ as your Lord and Savior this day? To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized in order to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) After baptism worship and serve God according to His truth!

Let Us Return Unto The Lord
-- Hosea Six --

            Israel had sinned grievously. They had become idolatrous. Sin had taken them far from the one true and loving God. God had promised that Israel would be left to face the consequences of her sins. “I will return again to My place Till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.” (Hosea 5:15) The thought of being left in our sins, without God, should bring us to our knees. Sadly, Judah was not too far behind Israel.

             Hosea pictured the goodness of God in receiving and reviving His penitent people. God always promised to receive those that repent. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14) God was prepared to receive His people again, if only they would turn their hearts to Him.

             The goodness or faithfulness of both Israel and Judah was like an early morning cloud. It did not last and went quickly away. Through His prophet God pronounced coming judgment upon those nations. His judgment was as sure and certain as the coming of morning light.

             Sadly, Israel felt very righteous. However, their religion was only outward show. This led God to say, “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6) While practicing an outward religion Israel was disobedient against God and treacherous in dealing with others.

            Gilead was specifically called out by God as a city that had done wickedly. They worked iniquity and were polluted with blood. Murder was their sin! God asked, “Though Gilead has idols-Surely they are vanity-Though they sacrifice bulls in Gilgal, Indeed their altars shall be heaps in the furrows of the field.” (Hosea 12:11) He looked upon the sinfulness of both Israel and Judah as a “horrible thing.”

            Return to the Lord and live – Hosea 6:1-3: In much the same way as Hosea had appeal to his own unfaithful wife to return to him the prophet now pleaded with Israel to return to God. “Come, and let us return to the LORD; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up.” (Hosea 6:1) Hosea knew God to be forgiving, merciful and compassionate. He was a God of severity, but He was also a God of goodness. (Romans 11:22) No doubt but Hosea knew the words of Deuteronomy 32:39, “Now see that I, even I, am He, And there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.” Friends, God will revive you and restore you if you repent and obey!

            Righteousness must be continual – Hosea 6:3-4: God caused both Israel (Ephraim) and Judah to think of their sad spiritual condition by asking “O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? He wanted them to be fully aware of the punishment they deserved because of their transgressions. Their faithfulness or goodness was like to morning cloud or it was like the dew on the ground in the early morning. Their righteous was there for a short time and then quickly gone away. They had forgotten that God expected, desired and deserved continual righteousness.

            God had sent his prophets to shape and mold Israel spiritually by His word. The word of His mouth is the tool that He uses even this day, to shape men for eternity. God’s word is like a fire that burns the impurities from our life. It is also like a hammer to mold and shape us into the likeness of the Almighty. Jeremiah said, “Is not My word like a fire?" says the LORD, "And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29) It is by the word of God that His judgments go forth as the light.

            Remembering God’s covenant – Hosea 6:6-8: Gomer had broken the covenant that she had made with Hosea. She had become an unfaithful wife treacherous companion. Israel had likewise broken her covenant with God. God desired obedience with a merciful heart. Israel only gave empty sacrifices to God. Their relationship with God should have been more important to them than any burnt offerings that they might sacrifice. Yet their lives could only be described as spiritual emptiness and failure.

            God sadly said, “But like men they transgressed the covenant; There they dealt treacherously with Me.” (Hosea 6:7) They like men or like Adam transgressed God’s covenant. God’s covenant with Adam was simple and easy to be understood, yet in rebellion he transgressed. Israel transgressed the covenant of God by their treacherous and ungodly living. Their wickedness was a grief to the heart of the Creator.

            Gilead is a city that represented how Israel had worked iniquity. Iniquity has to do with the evil that is in the heart that then found place in the life of the person. Their lives were polluted by the blood of their worthless sacrifices and by the blood of those that were murdered in their godless society. When humanity lacks respect for God there will be manifest a lack of respect for human life.

            Returning the covenant of God’s people – Hosea 6:9-11:  Both Israel and Judah had become very corrupt. Instead of helping the hurting they had become a “troop of robbers” waiting to harm some individual. The priest had become a company of murderers. God had said to the priest, “Hear this, O priests! Take heed, O house of Israel! Give ear, O house of the king! For yours is the judgment, Because you have been a snare to Mizpah And a net spread on Tabor.” (Hosea 5:1) Their evil society had been described in the said words, “Hear the word of the LORD, You children of Israel, For the LORD brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: There is no truth or mercy Or knowledge of God in the land.” (Hosea 4:2)

            Jeremiah gave a similar picture to that painted by Hosea. He wrote, “Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know, and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, 'We are delivered to do all these abominations'?” (Jeremiah 7:9-10) God observed the horrible idolatry of both Israel and Judah. He said, “I have seen a horrible thing in the house of Israel: There is the harlotry of Ephraim; Israel is defiled. Also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed for you, When I return the captives of My people.” (Hosea 6:10-11) Sadly He used a sever period of captivity to bring Judah to her knees. The great need was for a return to God’s covenant by His covenant people. Israel would be destroyed because of her sinfulness. Judah would be preserved so that the Christ, man’s hope for redemption could be born.

             The greatest need in any age is for man to return to the covenant of God. In humble love and obedience will you hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (Hebrews 11:6), repent of sins (Luke 13:5), confess Christ as Lord (Matthew 10:32-33), and be baptized to be saved. (I Peter 3:21) “Come, and let us return to the LORD; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up.” (Hosea 6:1)

God Attempted To Heal Israel
Though Discipline

-- Hosea Seven -- 

 God stood as a judge against Israel. He charged them for their unfaithfulness. Israel was like an unfaithful wife that had committed adultery. She was guilty of spiritual adultery against Almighty God. Here, in this text, God again warned Israel of the punishment that she faced because of her failure to repent of her horrible wickedness. This nation was quick to profess repentance, but short on remaining true to the Lord. Israel was living as if there was no God to take notice of her sins. Our nation also very much needs pardon and our only hope is to have our sins forgiven by Jesus Christ.

The cause of many of Israel's sins was stated in the words, "Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned." (Hosea 7:8) Through unholy associations Israel had been corrupted and turned away from God. They had been blessed richly, yet they did not stay faithful to the Lord. Their situation could very well describe many of our day also. . .  

Israel continued in iniquity -- Hosea 7:1-6: God attempted to heal Israel through corrective discipline. To His sorrow God discovered that Israel only became worse and worse. Their sin was so evident and open that He has no choice but to condemn her. His discipline was motivated by love and by His desire for Israel to repent and be saved. He desired Israel to return to Him and be spared. However, Israel became more and more corrupt. In Israel there was no place that you could be safe from thieves and robbers. Israel turned against the will of God and His desire was that they would return again to posses His character. Sadly, they refused to do so!  

Israel made the sad choice that living with crime is better than living under God's truth. God said, "they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face." (Hosea 7:2) Somehow that thought that God did not know the wrongs they were doing. The iniquity of Israel was before the face of God. They were wrong and very far from God and now they must pay for their sins.  

The king and the princes rejoiced in the wickedness and lies of their people. The rulers were themselves wicked and wickedness kept the people enslaved to the evil government. The entire nation of Israel was in this evil spiritual condition. The baker and the heated oven pictured how that the heat of Israel's corruption had reached a point of deserving sever punishment. The people of Israel were corrupt both in a fleshly sense and in a moral sense. The description given in Jeremiah 5:31 seems so fitting to this occasion. "The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?" The evil grew in their hearts, like heat in the oven, as they waited for an opportunity to do evil. When the opportunity to do evil presented itself the pent up heat of evil desires burst out into a flaming, wicked fire. 

Israel did not call on God -- Hosea 7:7-10: The sins and iniquities of the people were so widespread that they engulfed judges and other leading men in society. Sin was popular and Israel did not call on God. The cause of Israel's spiritual downfall was clearly stated in the words, "Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people." (Hosea 7:8) Mixing with the heathen people or being a "cake not turned" made it very difficult for Israel to maintain their relationship with God. Both of these figures pictures one that is unfit for God's use.  

One of the saddest things about Israel's fallen spiritual state was that the nation seemed completely unaware of their condition. "Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not." (Hosea 7:9) At first a man can­not see the gray hairs scattered here and there on his head, neither did Israel realize the evil that had crept into their national and spiritual lives. By mixing with strangers and accepting their idolatry Israel had lost the strength and help of God. Their time was short and they did not know it. Their hair was turning gray (their time was short) and they could not even see it. "And the pride of Israel testifieth to his face: and they do not return to the LORD their God, nor seek him for all this." (Hosea 7:10) They would not seek the Lord for help. How sad! 

Israel tried everything but God -- Hosea 7:11-13: Israel sought the strength of other nations as a replacement for their dependence upon God. Ephraim is like a silly dove. She does not have heart or good judgment. She just flits about from one place to another without any purpose or serious defense. Israel turned to such sources as Egypt and Assyria for help instead of relying on God. Christians sometimes do the same thing that Israel did. They make friendships and try to gain strength from those that live without God. It did not work for Israel and it will not work for us.

God said, "When they shall go, I will spread my net upon them; I will bring them down as the fowls of the heaven; I will chastise them, as their congregation hath heard." (Hosea 7:12) "It is common for those that go away from God to find snares where they expected shelters." The Lord threatened to capture (Israel) that silly dove with a net. The net that He would use was the Assyrians, the very people to whom she had flown for help. God can and will bring those down that exalt themselves and turn themselves away from Him.

God had dealt with Israel in a gracious and loving manner. Yet they rebelled against Him and refused His commands. These Jews lied about the correction that God sent their way saying they did not deserve it. They lied about all the good He had done to them, through them and for them as if He had done too little. They even attributed the things done for them by God to some idol that actually did nothing. Israel had rebelled against God. So, now destruction is their reward. 

Israel rebelled more and more -- Hosea 7:14-16: The rebellion of Israel against God has brought on devastation. God was their rightful king and ruler. He had always ruled fairly and with their good in mind. Hosea sadly wrote, "And they rebel against me." (Hosea 7:14) They not only left God but they made every effort to get Him off the throne and to set up other gods! Israel was in misery, but still they do not look to the one true and living God. There is no repentance on the part of Israel, no call for help to God from the heart of a fallen nation.

Observe what God had done for Israel. He "bound and strengthened their arms." In return they "imagined mischief against" Him. (Hosea 7:15)  God had faithfully provided for all of Israel's physical needs. He had also granted all the spiritual things necessary for Israel to grow before Him, and yet they rejected it all. In the last verse of the chapter we read the heart rending words, "They return, but not to the most High." (Hosea 7:16) They pretended repentance but did not return unto the Lord. The apostasies of Israel from God lead to their enslavement and destruction. The same thing can happen to us! Israel looked to others instead of to God for help. They found only derision, misery and destruction. 

Today is the day when we should seriously consider God's judgment against the wicked. Will you not receive Christ as your Lord and Savior this day? To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized in order to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) After bap­tism worship and serve God according to His truth!

An Announcement of Coming Judgment
-- Hosea Eight --

          God told his prophet Hosea to make an announcement concerning coming judgment. He was to blow the trumpet because Israel's enemy would soon invade her. Israel had rebelled against God and now they faced the consequences of their iniquity. God had said, "Woe unto them! for they have fled from me: destruction unto them! because they have transgressed against me: though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against me." (Hosea 7:13) Israel claimed to love God yet they rebelled against Him and transgressed His covenant.

            Israel had become very wicked as a nation. They were both immoral and unethical. This was a nation filled with blood. They did not take counsel of God when appointing rulers and kings. The nation was filled with idolatry. They had followed the lead of Jeroboam that had set up the calves at Dan and Bethel. God asked them how long they would be incapable of purity. Israel had become so corrupt that idols were now coming from her. These idol gods were powerless and would be broken to pieces. . . Israel had "sown the wind, and now they shall reap the whirlwind." The physical seed that Israel sowed produced mostly stalks. The grain that was produced was stolen by strangers.

            When God's judgment came upon Israel they were consumed as when one ate grain. They lost their identity among the gentiles. They became like a broken pot that no one wanted. Ephraim made treaties with Assyria and that became the very nation that devoured them. "Ephraim was also like a harlot but even worse in that she paid others to love her rather than receiving pay from them."t;

             In rebellion against God Israel built many altars to idol gods. These altars became places for sinning rather than places for worship. More gods and more altars meant more sinning. Israel had the advantage of having God's written law and yet they continued to rebel. What they did at their altars had no sacrificial value to God. God would send Israel into a place of bondage, like Egypt. Instead of continuing to trust and obey God, both Israel and Judah put their confidence in their own ability to provide for themselves. Israel arrogantly disregarded God and His law! Now they must pay for their sins!

             Israel broke God's covenant -- Hosea 8:1-4: Hosea eight begins with God, Israel and the Assyrians. Israel had broken her covenant with God and ignored His teaching. Now it was time to sound the warning because Assyria would swoop down on Israel like an eagle to its prey. Assyria came against Israel at the mandate of God to punish her because of her transgressions. When the persecution came against Israel she called to God saying, "We claim you, the LORD, as our God." Sadly, with Israel, love for God was only talk. God said, "They have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law."

            Hosea said, "Israel hath cast off the thing that is good." The thing that Israel had cast off was the covenant or the good agreement that they had made with God. The enemy, in this case the Assyrians, pursued Israel to her destruction. Israel left God out of their thinking. They choose kings and other leaders without consulting God. They made idols of silver and of gold. This led to their spiritual downfall. Israel had forgotten her maker.

            Israel sowed the wind -- Hosea 8:5-7: Israel was the name of the nation. Ephraim was the larger tribe in the Northern Kingdom. Samaria was the city that was the capital of the Northern Kingdom. God was angered by the idolatrous calf at Samaria. Their idols caused God's anger to wax hot against Israel. He would cast them off and the idols were powerless to help. God challenged them with the question "How long will it be ere they attain to innocency?" or "When will you ever be innocent again?"

             Someone in n Israel made the idol. The idol can do nothing. However, Jehovah God made all things. He demands and deserves our worship. The children of Israel were worshipping a god made by their own hands. The true and living God would smash their idol to pieces. Isaiah wrote, "And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin." (Isaiah 1:25) Israel had "sown the wind, and now they shall reap the whirlwind." A whirlwind is a great and strong thing and it is very destructive. The punishment of Israel would be severe. If any grain was left by the storm strangers would devour it. The punishment for sin is great!

         Israel made altars to sin -- Hosea 8:8-11:1:1:1: Idolatry brought spiritual ruin upon Israel. The idolatry of Israel had ruined that nation and the gentile nations considered them worthless. "They be among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein is no pleasure." They were looked at as if they were a broken vase or a broken piece of pottery. They were of no value to anyone. Israel was like a wild donkey that had run off just to go its own way. They ran off to Assyria and hired them as allies. Israel had committed idolatry. This was compared to a man's wife committing adultery, and even worse in that she hired her lovers. Israel is like an unfaithful wife that would use money given to her by her loving husband to pay men to come in to her.

            Israel had made a bargain with Assyria for help. Sadly that heathen nation was as helpless as Israel herself.  God's people would be scattered from their own land and be gathered into the net of the heathen country. The worthless kings and rulers of Israel would be of no help to deliver her from the hands of f f Assyria. Israel had built many altars. Sadly the altars led to sin and not to true worship. Their altars literally became places for sin. In Assyria, the horrible practice of idolatry would be forced upon Israel and would continue to produce even more sin. 

            Israel had forgotten her maker -- Hosea 8:12-14: Israel could not claim ignorance as a reason for her failure to obey God. His "instructions for sacrifices were written in detail, but you ignored them." It is a wonderful blessing to have God's law in written form. He said "I have written to him the great things of my law." Sadly they did not treat the law as a great gift from their Creator. At times Israel did make the correct sacrifices and do so in the proper way. However, these sacrifices were unacceptable to God because of the corruption and iniquity of the nation. God remembered their sin and now they would face their punishment. They would return to Egypt. Egypt was used in a figurative way to tell the nation that they were headed into captivity. This captivity would be a cruel and destructive enslavement under the Assyrians.

             In Hosea 8:14 God gave a summary of His feeling of both the nations of Israel and of Judah. "For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples; and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities: but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof." God had created them, yet they had forgotten their Maker. Judah also received a warning because they were becoming more and more corrupt. "Both houses of Jews were destined to be overthrown by the for­eign forces to be brought against them." God said, "Now I will send fire to destroy your towns and fortresses." Sin brings certain and sure misery!

            Today is the day when we should seriously consider God's judgment against the wicked. Will you not receive Christ as your Lord and Savior this day? To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized in order to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) After baptism worship and serve God according to His truth!

The Terrible Results of Sin
-- Hosea Nine --

          Hosea rebuked Israel for the horrible things they did on the corn floors. They would gather at the corn floors, offer sacrifice and enjoy the plenty they had. That sounds good until you realize that they praised some idol god for giving the abundance that cane from the hand of God. As a result of such ungodliness Jehovah promised Israel both famine and exile.

          They were to be taken captive by a nation that would pollute their sacrifices and their daily lives would be corrupted even more. In that day they would desire the means of worshipping God like their fathers did but the opportunities of those appointments would be lost. Their overthrow would be brought about speedily. All pleasant things would become desolate.

           God reminded Israel of how that early on He had declared His grace and favor upon them. He took delight in their obedience and blessed their nation abundantly. Sadly they had so revolted against god that now "their glory shall fly away like a bird." God will forsake them, and their children will face certain destruction. Their doom is pronounced in the words, "Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb. My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations." (Hosea 9:16-17)


          Israel faced certain destruction -- Hosea 9:1-6: Israel was headed for a fall. They had been unfaithful to God by behaving like spiritual prostitutes. They enjoyed the blessings they had received from Jehovah and yet gave credit to some idol for these blessings. They had gone a whoring or they had lusted after the gods of the heathen. How wrong Israel was in thinking that their physical prosperity came from some idol god.


          The punishment for their rebellion against God would be both a lack of food and captivity in a foreign land. God told them, "You will run short of grain and wine." He also said you will have to leave the land of the LORD. Some of you will go to Egypt; others will go to Assyria and eat unclean food." Israel would no longer be allowed to dwell in the Lord's land or Palestine. They would go into bondage as bad as Egypt ever had been. During captivity in Assyria they would be forced to eat unclean things.


          God was dissatisfied with the entire conduct of His people. He told them that they would not be able to offer sacrifices to God and that if they did offer a sacrifice it would not please Him. God's people were destined to suffer in the land of Assyria. "They shall not offer wine offerings to the LORD, neither shall they be pleasing unto him: their sacrifices shall be unto them as the bread of mourners; all that eat thereof shall be polluted: for their bread for their soul shall not come into the house of the LORD." (Hosea 9:4) During their exile the nation would no longer be able to celebrate the solemn feast of the LORD. Even if they should be part of a remnant that escaped all would still be lost for them.

           Israel separated themselves unto shame -- Hosea 9:7-10: The time had now come that Israel would receive what they deserved. The sad thing is that Israel knew it too. They knew that they deserved this punishment from God. The ones that should have led Israel back to God have been nothing but a disappointment. The prophets were fools and the spiritually minded men acted as if they were "mad." Israel was guilty of many sins and especially the sin of hatred.

           God's watchman came with His message for the people. He was rejected and the false prophet accepted in his stead. The false prophet was a hidden snare to the people. He got them into serious trouble. They were just as brutal and corrupt as were the men of Gibeah when the Levite’s wife was raped and murdered. God remembered their sin, and now they will face punishment. God had taken Israel as a weak and defenseless people and made of them a great nation.

          They had an opportunity to glorify God for what He had done for them Instead they worshipped "Baal Peor, that disgusting idol, and became as disgusting as the idol they loved." Baal Peor was a Moabite idol. In worship to Baal young women prostituted themselves. This became one of the sins that Israel was later guilty of.

          Israel's glory flew away -- Hosea 9:11-14: The glory of Israel would fly away like a bird. They would no longer be a growing and productive nation. Their women would no longer be able to give birth. Ephraim had changed in a terrible way. They had moved from devotion to the true and living God to the low estate of an idolatrous worshiper. This was a certain path of ruin. Even if they did have children, God took them all away and left the people to mourn. Some of their children were taken away by misfortune in the home land and many others were taken away by Assyrian captivity.

          At first Israel served God faithfully. He looked upon them as a flourishing palm tree in fertile ground. She had strength and beauty like great cities. Their disobedience caused all of this to be reversed. Now Ephraim would lead her children out only to be slaughtered. The power of the nation was reversed by the women not being able to have children or if they had them they were not able to nurse them or care for them. Sin brings terrible consequences.

           Israel dried up from the root -- Hosea 9:15-17:  Some horrible idolatry must have taken place at Gilgal. Saul's disobedience seemed to start at Gilgal and maybe this was the beginning of disobedience for Israel. God chased them out of His house because they did evil. The leaders in Israel betrayed both God and the people. Israel was now destined to feel the sting of God's hatred for sin. Israel was destined to go into exile into a foreign land.

          "Ephraim is smitten. The thing being determined is considered as already done. "Israel was like a vine with dried-up roots and fruitless branches. They would never again be a kingdom. They never had any political form from their captivity by the Assyrians even till this present day.  Israel had disobeyed God and now He forced them to roam from nation to nation. Sin lead Israel to the loss of silver and everything that was precious to them and it finally led to the destruction of the entire nation. The merciful and faithful Creator cast them away because of their wickedness. Let us learn the lesson of God's hatred for sin and how that all sins will be punished.

          Today is the day when we should seriously consider God's judgment against the wicked. Will you not receive Christ as your Lord and Savior this day? To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized in order to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) After baptism worship and serve God according to His truth!

It Is Time To Seek The Lord
-- Hosea Ten --

          Israel was at first a fruitful vine. However their prosperity corrupted them. They turned from God and began to worship idols. The nation of Israel would now face the consequences of their actions. "Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images." (Hosea 10:2) The sad condition of the nation was brought about because the people did not fear the Lord. They had broken their covenant with God and now judgment has come.

             Those that worshipped idols and bowed before the calves would now mourn because all the glory of those idols would now be taken away. Now they would fear because of this evil that they had done. Their idols would be carried away to Assyria and they would feel the shame of their ungodliness. Idolatry had fatal consequences that will last into eternity. Idolatry, "the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed: the thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars." (Hosea 10:8)

            Israel had worshipped a calf. Israel had sinned and now iniquity would overtake them. God pictured their idolatry with the plowing of a calf or heifer. The heifer would lead them to punishment.

            Israel is an empty vine -- Hosea 10:1-4: Israel was a very selfish and idolatrous nation. God had made them into a healthy vine covered with grapes. Sadly, the more prosperous they became the more altars they built to idols. The more prosperous Israel became, the more corrupt she became by making better shrines for pagan gods. Israel's heart was divided. They were deceitful and disloyal to their Maker. Their devotion was mixed, giving some to the true God but most to idols. God promised that they would pay for their sins because He would break down their altars. They wanted to serve God and idols, but this is impossible. God now does to them what they should have already, "break down their altars, and spoil their images."

            God said the people would say, "We have no king, because we feared not the LORD; what then should a king do to us?" (Hosea 10:3) When Assyria took Israel captive they were deprived of a king. It would do them no good as long as they did not fear God. "Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him." (Psalm 33:8) The fear of God encourages us to keep His commandments. Those that did not fear God will not keep His commandments. Israel broke their vows or the promises they made to each other and they even broke the promises they made to God. They vowed that they would serve God but did not keep their promises. God's judgment would come on them like poisonous weeds growing where healthy plants should grow.   

            Idolatry brought destruction to Israel -- Hosea 10:5-8: The entire population of Samaria would come to tremble with regret concerning the practice of idolatry. The calves at Bethel and Dan led the people from God. (1 Kings 12:29) These idols led to national corruption, shame and finally destruction in Assyria. The idols were the pride of the priests, but God would put them to shame. The glory of Israel was taken to Assyria. Assyria was symbolized by the name Jareb. Assyria was given victory over Israel; then Israel was disgraced for worshipping that idol.

            Like foam or a twig upon the water the king of Samaria was swept away. Samaria, the cattail city stands for the entire nation of Israel. The nation of Israel was swept away with the ease of water caring away the foam. Without God Israel had no strength to defend themselves or to maintain as a nation. The altars at sinful Bethaven or Bethel had caused Israel to sin. God would cause them to grow over with thorns and thistles. The destruction would be so great and the dejection so deep that the people would be begging for the mountains and hills to cover and protect them. During his last few hours on earth Jesus refereed to or quoted these words saying, "Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us." (Luke 23:30)

Sow in righteousness; reap in mercy -- Hosea 10:9-12: Israel had never stopped sinning since that time at Gibeah. Now they faced attacked at Gibeah. Gibeah will always be remembered for the horrible rape and murder of the Levite's wife. (Judges 19) Gibeah was also connected with much of the public life of Saul. It was connected to the evil that was carried on there by the nation while Saul was their first king. When Jeroboam set up idols there were two, one at Dan and one at Bethel. (1 Kings 12:29) These two furrows led the children of Israel to all kinds of sins and rebellion. The peo­ple of Assyrians would be gathered together against the nation to chastise them.

            In Bible days animals were used to tread out the grain and to pull the plow. The animals enjoyed the easier task of treading out the grain. Early in their history Israel was like that obedient calf that had enjoyed the easy job of threshing the grain. They served God in the homeland. Sadly, they rebelled against God. As chastisement He put a yoke on their powerful neck and made them plow and cultivate the ground. The kingdom was destined to go into captivity as a punishment for its idolatry. It was too late for the nation, but it was not too late for the individual. If a person will sow righteousness they reap mercy. If they would but seek the Lord He would rain down His mercy and saving power like rain.

            Plowing wickedness, reaping iniquity -- Hosea 10:13-15: If the planted is wickedness, then the thing that is harvested is iniquity. They ate the fruit of their lies. Israel was deceived by trusting in their strength and their powerful forces. When the Assyrians came Israel's fortresses were destroyed. God said, "Your enemies will do to you what Shalman did to the people of Beth-Arbel -- mothers and their children will be beaten to death against rocks. Shalman is another form for Shalmaneser the Assyrian king.  He came against Israel and brought with him terrible destruction. (2 Kings 17: 3)

Sadly God promised, "So shall Bethel do unto you because of your great wickedness: in a morning shall the king of Israel utterly be cut off." (Hosea 10:15) The idols that Jeroboam set up at Dan and Bethel started the northern kingdom on its national record of idolatry. The end of the nation was its continual chastisement for its constant worship of idols. When Assyria invaded Israel it did not take long for the king to be overthrown. Wickedness brings sure and certain destruction! The idolatry of this nation had drawn away their hearts from the Creator of all things.

            Today is the day when we should seriously consider God's judgment against the wicked. Will you not receive Christ as your Lord and Savior this day? To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized in order to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) After baptism worship and serve God according to His truth!

Israel Was Bent On Backsliding
-- Hosea Eleven --

          Hosea continued to discuss Israel's rebelliousness and their unwillingness to repent. God had many complaints against them but His desire was for each individual to transform their thinking and their lives. As a nation God loved and chose Israel. He called His "Son" Israel out of Egypt. The more God blessed and called the people the more they turned from following Him to worship idols. The sacrificed to Baal and became involved in more and more idol worship.

             God took Israel by the hand and blessed them. However, they did not know that it was Jehovah that had so honored them. God had put restraints upon Israel for their protection and preservation. They threw off those restraints like oxen fighting the yoke. The rebellion of Israel led them to captivity in Assyria. Enemy soldiers would consume the Israelites because of their rebellion. The people were bent to backsliding. In spite of the preaching of God's prophets they refused to return to Him.  

            It deeply grieved Jehovah that the time of destruction had come for Israel. God strongly wanted to bless this nation but they would not allow Him to do so. This section gives us a brief look at the amazing heart of God. Even though they were very wicked He did not want to let them go! The Lord asked four questions that reveal how hard it was for him to give Israel over to punishment. "How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim?" (Hosea 11:8) Admah, and Zeboim were cites that were destroyed along with Sodom and Gomorrah. (Deuteronomy 29:23) Even though God did destroy Israel He did so with restraint. He did not completely wipe them out. As individuals they still had the opportunity to get right with Him. God is not man. He is able to control His emotions.

            God was about to devour Israel. They would return to Him trembling.  Israel would pay for being such a deceitful nation. Ephraim had consistently lied and tried to deceive God. The kingdom of Judah had also been unruly in its relationship with God. God had been faithful to Israel in spite of the fact that they had turned to Baal and other idol gods. Now they will face the consequences of their choices.

             God loved and protected Israel -- Hosea 11:1-3: God said, "When Israel was a child, I loved him, and I called my son out of Egypt." When Israel was a young nation it was a matter of history that God called them out of Egypt. These words were also used a prophetic words about Jesus. (Hosea 2:15, Matthew 2:15) God had cared for His people when they were weak and when they became strong they forgot about Him. God called His people through His faithful prophets. Sadly, the more He called the more they offered incense and sacrifices to the idols like Baal.

             God took Israel by the arm and taught them to walk. Sadly, they did not profit from His efforts. They did not understand all the benefits that they had enjoyed by the benevolent hand of God. They could have been blessed with even more blessing if only they had accepted the mercy of the Almighty.  

            Drawn with cords of love -- Hosea 11:4-6: God was kind and merciful to His people. He led them with kindness and with love. He "drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love." God did not lead them with a strong rope like you would a beast. God lifted many hardships from Israel. He provided them with nourishing food. Yet they rebelled against Him. They deserved the kind of punishment they had experienced in Egypt because they would not return to God. However, God will not use Egypt this again. He will allow Assyria to invade the land and take its people away into exile. 

         The Assyrians would invade Israel. There would be wars in their cities. Their plans for defense would all fail. The invasion of the Assyrians was effect because God allowed it to happen as punishment for His rebellious people.

            Israel was bent to backsliding -- Hosea 11:7-9: God's people were bent on or inclined towards backsliding. They were determined to reject the Almighty for gods that they thought were stronger the He. Actually, their idol gods could do nothing. The people were so interested in Baal and other idol gods that they paid little attention to the prophets. These men were the messengers of God. God lamented over the fact that His people had been so unfaithful that He must now bring punishment upon them. God's feelings were so strong for his people that He did not want to bring complete destruction upon them as He had upon Admah and Zeboim. These are two cities that were destroyed along with Sodom and Gomorrah in that great destruction.

             God's attitude had changed toward Israel because of their unfaithfulness and now they would suffer punishment. Israel would not be treated as they deserved. If that was the case they would have been destroyed. God would chastise His people and give them an opportunity to repent. God is Holy. He is not man nor is He like man. He would chasten His people but He would not stay angry at them.

             Israel shall tremble before God -- Hosea 11:10-12: When the people were sufficiently chastised some of them would return to the Lord. The sinful nation would tremble because the LORD, will roar like a lion. After the chastisement some would be humbles, brought to repentance and would return to the Lord. The majority of the Northern Kingdom was taken into Assyrian captivity never to return to the home land. Some of the people were scattered in other countries. They back to God, fluttering like birds from Egypt or like doves from Assyria. God promised that those that were brought back would be restored to their homes. "I will place them in their houses, saith the LORD." Isaiah wrote, "For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob." (Isaiah 14:1) This was fulfilled in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah.

          The contrast was obvious. God had been a loyal and holy God for Israel. Israel had been a very deceitful people to Him. They had surrounded God with their lies. The lies and deceit refers to the false prophecies of the unfaithful teachers in the country. At the present time Judah was still in good standing with Jehovah not having gone as far into idolatry as Israel had gone. There is a reference here to Genesis 32:24. Jacob "wrestled with the angel" and his name was changed to Israel. Israel means "one that rules with God." Israel had lost that glory only Judah still worshipped correctly. Only Judah deserved the name, "children of Israel."

            The wicked will face a horrible judgment. Without Christ all mankind will be without hope. Please obey the Gospel of Christ today! To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized in order to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) After baptism worship and serve God according to His truth!

The Course Leading to Destruction
-- Hosea Twelve --

          The path of forsaking God always leads to sure and certain destruction. Ephraim forsook God, and courted the alliance of idolatrous nations. Such a path could only lead to destruction. God had been so good to the man that He named Israel and later to the nation that bore that name. Yet the nation became dishonest and deceitful. Hosea described in very understandable terms how unprofitableness Israel had become and desolation that would attend their choices and actions.

            The children of Israel would lose their possessions are a result of their rebellion against God. God said, "I that am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast." (Hosea 12:9)  God had provided them many opportunities of instruction and repentance for Israel, yet they refused. He said, "I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets." (Hosea 12:10) God raised these people from a very humble beginning to become a strong nation. Divine judgments was about to fall upon Israel.  "Ephraim provoked him to anger most bitterly: therefore shall he leave his blood upon him, and his reproach shall his Lord return unto him." (Hosea 12:14)

            God's controversy with Israel and Judah -- Hosea 12:1-4: Israel was wasting her time on that which had no spiritual substance. It was like feeding on the wind. It was an "east" wind or a wind off of the desert. It would be a hot, dry, dusty wind that would have no value but would even do injury. Israel had become so corrupt that deceit and violence were found everywhere. They made threats with Assyria and took olive oil to Egypt. Observe how evil the people of the Northern Kingdom had become. In addition to His disappointment with Israel God also brought charges against the people of Judah, the Southern Kingdom. They were also descendants of Jacob or Israel. Punishment would likewise be brought upon them for what they had done. Israel was wicked and would now pay for their sins. Judah would face their wrongs too.

            We see from this verse how Jacob was blessed. "He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God." (Hosea 12:3) This was in keeping with God's promises in Genesis 25:23. "And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger." God's power worked in the life of Jacob. "Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us." (Hosea 12:4) God promised to bless and be with Jacob. It was said, "God spoke to us there" and this was in the sense that these people were in the loins of Jacob at Bethel.

         Trust the Lord and return to him -- Hosea 12:5-6: Hosea wanted to communicate to both Israel and Judah that Jehovah is the same God as when Jacob so successfully wrestled with Him. He is, was and always be the same. God's name is the LORD, the LORD God All-Powerful." He was unchangeable in the way that he had blessed Jacob and his descendants. “Jehovah has all the power of heaven and earth at His command. He is the LORD God of hosts. Host means an army, especially the army of heaven. The Lord God Jehovah is that name that is expressive of the character and of the power of God.  

            Hosea appealed to the people to return to God, to patiently trust Him, and to show love and justice. He appealed to those that wised to be true descendant of Jacob. They had bound themselves by covenant to God and He had bound Himself to them. They were not bound to idols and they should abandon them quickly. Imagine the joy that Israel could have had if only they had returned to the Lord. He is the same God that had blessed Jacob. If they served Him as Jacob did they would have found Him to be the same merciful and compassionate God. 

            Paying for dishonesty in business -- Hosea 12:7-10: Israel had become deceitful. They enjoyed cheating and taking advantage of other people. These dishonest people would use a heavy weight to buy with and a light weight to sell by. The people of the land had become deceitful, and it was especially sad that their leaders were deceitful also. Their gain caused them to say to themselves, "I'm rich! I earned it all on my own, without committing a sin." Israel was prosperous and as a result had been very vain and rebellious. The situation described in Deuteronomy 32:15 is very parallel to Israel's situation. "But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation."

            Even though Israel had rebelled and refused God He said, "I, the LORD, am still your God, just as I have been since the time you were in Egypt." God promised to reduce Israel to a miserable state in Assyrian captivity. He promised, "Now I will force you to live in tents once again, as you did in the desert." When some returned from captivity they also found themselves living in tents. Israel was without excuse for their sinful conduct. God had communicated His message to them in many ways and yet they still rebelled. God said, "I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets." (Hosea 12:10) They would have no grounds for complaint when the captivity came.

            Israel provoked God to Anger -- Hosea 12:11-14: Gilead was a large area in Palestine known for producing many healing items but they had become terribly sinful. Now they will end up in ruin. Bulls were sacrificed to idols in Gilgal on altars made of stones. There were also idols scattered in every field. What a horrible picture of the national corruptions of the people of God. Places on each side of the Jordan were known equally know for their idolatry. Their worship was vain because it was devoted to false gods.  

            God said, "Jacob fled into the country of Syria, and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep." The purpose of this mention was to let Israel know the humble background of the man from whom they received their name and how God blessed him. The dependence of the nation of Israel upon God is seen in the words, "I sent the prophet Moses to lead Israel from Egypt and to keep them safe." Without God guidance and protection Israel would never have made it to escape Egypt. He preserved and protected them in the wilderness. Yet, they provoked the Lord with many acts of rebellion. Now God would make them pay for their terrible sins and for disobeying and insulting him. Israel would be chastised for their iniquity.

            It is time for us to seriously consider God's judgment against the wicked. Will you not receive Christ as your Lord and Savior this day? To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized in order to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) After baptism worship and serve God according to His truth!

Israel is Doomed Because of Sin
-- Hosea Thirteen --

This section reminds us again how that those that hold God in awe and obey Him are blessed. We are also reminded of the opposite, sin brings ruin and misery. The principle will always be true, obey God and be blessed; disobey and suffer the consequences. Ephraim or Israel is a vivid example of this truth. They obeyed and received tremendous blessings from God. Latter their disobedience brought them terrible loss.

The fact that God had been so good to Israel makes the guilt of their sin and disobedience even worse. God had blessed them abundantly and they had shamefully abused His goodness. Disobedience lead them to face sever punishment at the hand of their own loving God. They destroyed themselves with disobedience. However, if they would repent God would still forgive them and protect them as no other could. Sadly, Israel did not repent but acted like a rebellious child.

 Still God promised ransom and rescue His people as if bringing them back from the dead. However their sins lead them to a point of national calamity. "Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up." (Hosea 13:16)

Israel sinned more and more -- Hosea 13:1-4: There was a time when the leaders in Israel spoke for God and the people showed great respect for Him. As long as Israel had respect for God she enjoyed divine favor. But they sinned by worshipping Baal and now they faced certain destruction. Israel could be described with the term "they did not remain faithful." This brought destruction to the nation. Their sin became worse and worse. They made silver idols and even kissed them. Baal was one of the idol gods that they worshipped. They wanted a god that they could see. However, they should have known that such a god would have no more power than the human that made it.

Hosea predicted the quick overthrow of the false gods. They would vanish like the mist or the dew of the early morning or husks of grain in the wind or smoke from a chimney. God had been so good to Israel. He had been their God and blessed them from their time in Egypt. He is the one true God and the only God thy should know. Jehovah wanted it know that He is the one true God of the people. It is He that stretched out the heavens and created the earth. Man, at his best, loves God, reverences Him and obeys His will. Jehovah is the only one that can save. They learned a difficult lesson well because they were completely cured of idolatry after the captivity.

Consequences of rebellion -- Hosea 13:5-8: God took care of the nation of Israel while they were in the wilderness. He loved and accepted them because they were obedient to Him. He demonstrated His love for them by the many miracles that He used to provide for their needs. Many times they would have perished if God had not provided food and water for them. Israel was like sheep for which God provided abundant pasture. They ate until they were satisfied by the hand of the Shepherd that had done so much for them.    

While Israel was obedient to God He blessed them like a tender shepherd. They were given abundant pasture or to say it another way their needs were met beyond measure. Sadly, they became exalted in their heart and forgot God. In Luke 14:11 we read, "For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." Israel was destined to destruction in a foreign land because of her unfaithfulness. God said, "Now I will attack like a lion, ambush you like a leopard, and rip you apart like a bear robbed of her cubs. I will gnaw on your bones, as though I were a lion or some other wild animal." God's wrath would be fierce against this wicked nation. He would expose their hearts to punishment because of their unthankful disobedience.

Israel destroyed herself -- Hosea 13:9-12: Suicide is a horrible thing. What Israel had done spiritually was nothing short of nation spiritual suicide. They had turned from God to idolatry and destroyed themselves. National destruction was the result of their own sinful choices. It was a sad day in the history of Israel when they cried, "now make us a king to judge us like all the nations." (1 Samuel 8:5) Both Samuel and the Lord were grieved with this request. But God told Samuel "Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them." (1 Samuel 8:7)

When Israel's king was bound in prison by the Assyrians God said, "You wanted a king and rulers. Where is your king now?" Was there anyone to take the place of their king that was in prison? God said, "In my anger, I gave you a king, in my fury, I took him away." What happened to this king should not be surprising because God had also overthrown Israel's first king because of disobedience. Israel's terrible sins were written down before God. They were now being dealt with as their sin deserved. They will now know beyond any doubt that they had rejected their only source of help.  

Samaria shall become desolate -- Hosea 13:13-16: The sorrows of a travailing woman at childbirth were used to describe the misery that would come upon the nation of Israel. They would go through a terrible ordeal of invasion, destruction and oppression. However, God said, "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death." This promise was fulfilled when Israel was released from the captivity. A second fulfillment is likely at the general resurrection. God would not repent or change His mind about this matter. It would be as He had predicted and His mind would not be changed. 

It seemed as if the unfaithful leaders of Israel and the nation were prospering. God said, "No matter how much you prosper more than the other tribes, I, the LORD, will wipe you out, just as a scorching desert wind dries up streams of water. I will take away your precious treasures." The wrath of God put an end to the unrighteous rule of these ungodly leaders. The Assyrian nation came from the east and brought with them destruction to Israel. How bad would this destruction be? "Samaria will be punished for turning against me. It will be destroyed in war-- children will be beaten against rocks, and pregnant women will be ripped open." Samaria, the capital city of the Northern Kingdom became desolate at the overthrown by the Assyrians. The reason for this horrible fate is rebellion against God.  

Today is the day when we should seriously consider God's judgment against the wicked. Will you not receive Christ as your Lord and Savior this day? To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized in order to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) After baptism worship and serve God according to His truth!