16 July 2016

Stone 27 - Hosea

Hosea is a relatively short book with a powerful message of faithfulness and hope. Let's hear what the prophet had to say to the people.

Amazing Faithfulness
The book opens with a few chapters about Hosea, his wife Gomer, and his children. Oh, but the plot thickens! God directs Hosea to go and marry a promiscuous wife and have children with her (Hos 1:2). He does so and has three children that God directs him to name. Jezreel, No Compassion, and Not My People.

**It is worth noting at this point that a parallel is being drawn here between Hosea's marriage and family with the relationship between God and Israel. The nation of Israel was (is) God's bride and Israel was "promiscuous" and committed adultery by worshiping other gods instead of the one with whom they had made the covenant. This is part of what makes this part of Hosea so  powerful.

Even when Hosea had justification to be rid of Gomer for her adultery, God calls on Hosea to forgive her and to show her love (Hos 3:1). Hosea has to go and purchase her (Hos 3:2).

**God, who had every justification to release the covenant with Israel because of the rebellion and idolatry chose to forgive and renew the covenant with Israel anyway. This is the nature of God and his love for us is never ending. The parallel is that despite our rebellion God chose to purchase us back at the price of the life of Jesus his son.

The Rebellious Israel
Chapter four begins to bring the case against Israel. This is the evidence, as it were, to show how Israel has violated the covenant with God. Israel has been accused of promiscuity. Not only has Israel looked to other gods (Hos 4:12) but they have also placed more trust in their alliances with other nations than in God (Hos 5:13, 7:11). Little did they know that Assyria would betray them and come to defeat them.

Hosea 8:11 speaks to the multiple altars that Israel had with other gods. Ironically, these altars of worship that were built to escape sin were essentially the main source of sin. Then they go back to worship the one true God and their sacrifices are rejected (Hos 8:13). It is the hypocritical nature of the worship here that causes it to be rejected. No repentance. Lukewarm.

God knows our hearts just as he knew the hearts of the Israelites. Though they come to him, they know that there is no repentance in them. Hosea, however, knows that one day they will have genuine repentance in their hearts and then God will forgive them and restore to them that which was lost.

True Repentance
Chapter 14 calls for that repentance and offers a promise to restore the nation. God has neither forgotten nor given up on us. Just as Israel has hope, so do we. We have a hope in Jesus. through him we may be restored. We must genuinely repent of our sins, accept his gift, and run towards him. We must live out volitional exaltation (LOVE). We must have a willful expression of worship for Him in all that we do. In loving Him we can learn how to truly love others.

Please enjoy another wonderful video from the folks at Join the Bible Project on Hosea.

Until next time

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