This study of Hosea 11-12 was given by pastor Barry Forder on 29th August 2021.
In our verse-by-verse journey through Hosea we have seen God’s call to Hosea to take a wife of whoredoms and love her despite her unfaithfulness. This was to be a sign to the Nation of Israel of God’s love for His people even though they had gone whoring after foreign gods – that were not gods at all!
When Gomer, Hosea’s wife, had reached the lowest point, sold into slavery, stripped naked and put up for auction, Hosea came and purchased her, clothed her, took her home, treated her with love and affection, and promised to provide for her. This is what God has done for each of us. We had been unfaithful (loving the things of this world – the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh & the pride of life) and, as a result, lost everything. We were sold into the slavery of sin. Yet it was while we were still sinners that Christ came and died for us (Romans 5:8), paying the full price to secure our freedom, clothe us with His righteousness and promise to provide for us!
However, Hosea also records that God is a God of justice, and Israel’s sin (murder, immorality, injustice, idolatry) if not repented of, would be met with His swift judgment. But even in His judgment God’s mercy is seen; for by letting Israel be overcome by the Assyrians, being taken away from their land, and taken away from her idols, Israel would inevitably come to her senses, and, just as with the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), realise all she had given up and lost in pursuit of her sin.
In chapters 11-13 Israel are reminded that God had rescued them from Egypt – synonymous with the bondage and slavery of sin – and had placed them in a fruitful land. Yet they had crossed a line, judgment was now inevitable.
God’s assessment of the Nation is summed up in Hosea 13:9-10 “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help. I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee[?]“.
There is a warning here to believers today. God is not mocked. You cannot carry on in sin, for God will not allow His children to utterly corrupt themselves, but because of His amazing love, may allow some crises, or personal tragedy, or attack on your life you were not expecting, then He will reach to the greatest depths to find you as you cry out to Him, rescue you and bring you home.
Never assume God will ‘overlook’ those living in rebellion against Him – particularly His own. Beware also of saying that God’s ways are too hard to live by (which is really just another excuse for continuing in sin).
Oswald Chambers states: “Sin is not man’s problem, but God’s. God has taken the problem of sin into His own hands and solved it, and the proof that He has is the Cross of Calvary. The Cross is the Cross of God. On the ground of Redemption I can wash my robes, and make them “white in the blood of the Lamb”. Pseudo evangelism has twisted the revelation and made it mean “now that God has saved me, I do not need to do anything”. The New Testament revelation is that now I am saved by God’s grace, I must work on that basis and keep myself clean. It does not matter what a man’s heredity is, or what tendencies there are in him, on the basis of the Redemption he can become all that God’s book indicates he should be.”
However there is an incredible New Testament principle underlying all God said through Hosea. It is found in Romans 2:3-4:
“And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?”
As a last resort, God will bring judgment – as was the case for Israel on account of the magnitude of their sin, but God’s goodness is His preferred ‘discipline’. To love, then love more, then love yet more, then love even further until His love breaks through the hardness of our hearts, causing us to weep in repentance before Him.
So far has God’s Redemption gone that He states: “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death” (Hosea 13:14). There is nothing-else and no-one-else who can do this.
Note that God will ‘ransom them’ – literally pull them back from the precipice, setting them free from the power that had once exerted control over them. In redeeming God pays the price so that ‘sin and death’ no long have a claim over them. We have been bought with a price!
This is the story of Grace. It is the story of Hosea.
May you be blessed and encouraged by this study