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
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
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 ), believe in Jesus (John ), repent of sins (Acts ), confess Christ as Lord (Acts ), and be baptized in order to be
saved. (1 Peter 3:21) After baptism worship and serve God according to His