This teaching, given by Pastor Barry Forder on 25th July 21, is the first in our verse by verse journey through the Book of Hosea.
On Sunday we began a study of the minor prophets (the last 12 books of the Old Testament). They are referred to as ‘minor’ simply because most of them are short books – not because they are less important!
As a brief overview we find the themes of these books are Israel’s sin and disobedience, contrasted with God’s faithfulness and mercy, and ultimately His commitment to regather and bring them back into their Land in prosperity to fulfil the promises He had made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, subsequently reiterated to King David.
Yet God is a God of judgment as well as a God of love, and these prophets foretell the judgment that God was to first bring on Israel for her disobedience, as well as the judgment that would befall her neighbours – specifically Assyria (Nineveh) and Edom.
As a summary:
- Hosea – The Lord loves Israel despite her sin
- Joel – Judgment precedes Israel’s future revival
- Amos – God is just and must judge sin
- Obadiah – Sure retribution must overtake merciless pride
- Jonah – Divine grace is universal
- Micah – Bethlehem born Messiah will deliver
- Nahum – Doom is to come on wicked Nineveh
- Habakkuk – Justification by faith is God’s way
- Zephaniah – The Day of the Lord will precede the kingdom
- Haggai – Consider you ways! God must be no#1
- Zechariah – Repentant Israel will see their Messiah
- Malachi – Judgment is certain for the wicked
So, the first book in our series is the book of Hosea. Not a priest, nor a high-ranking official. Hosea was just an ordinary person who served an extraordinary God!
Hosea is a story of love and grace. It is also a warning of judgment for disobedience, the pain that comes from unfaithfulness, but also the healing and restoration that can be found in the God of the Bible.
G. Campbell Morgan said of this book: “We have in the Book of Hosea one of the most arresting revelations of the real nature of sin, and one of the clearest interpretations of the strength of the Divine love. No one can read the story of Hosea without realizing the agony of his heart. Then, lift the human to the level of the Infinite, and know this, that sin wounds the heart of God.”
George Robinson adds: “In all the world’s literature, there is no record of human love like that of Hosea.”
Henrietta C Mears, in her classic book ‘What The Bible is All About” stated: “Hosea is one of the greatest lovers in all literature. We find his love so strong that even the worst actions of an unfaithful wife could not kill it”
As we come to the book of Hosea, we find that the golden age of Jeroboam II in the Northern Kingdom of Israel was passing and a dark cloud hung over Israel. Following his death six kings followed in quick succession. Within 24 years 4 were assassinated.
Mid way through Hosea’s ministry a large part of the nation were carried away by the Assyrians and at the end of Hosea’s life the Northern kingdom of Israel finally came to an end with the fall of Samaria. Unlike many of the prophets in the Bible, Hosea (lamentably) lived to see some of his own prophecies fulfilled.
The outline of the book is as follows:
- Hosea’s call & The rejection of Israel 1:1–9
- The restoration of Israel promised 1:10–2:1
- God’s warning against Israel’s unfaithfulness and judgment prophesied 2:2–13
- A future of blessing foretold for Israel 2:14–23
- The redemption of Hosea’s wife a type of Israel’s ultimate return to God Ch 3
- God’s controversy with his people Ch 4–10
- In wrath, God remembers mercy Ch 11–13
- Israel urged to repent & enjoy blessing Ch 14
The key verses in the book are:
–14:1 “O Israel, return unto Jehovah thy God: for thou hast fallen by thy iniquity.”
–14:4 “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely…”
- Key Words:
–”Return” used 15 times.
–”Whoredom” used 16 times, referring not only to Israel’s immorality, but also to her unfaithfulness to God.
May you be blessed and encouraged by this study.
– the PowerPoint (PDF) slides used in this study are available for free download
© Calvary Chapel Portsmouth 2021