This final session in our verse-by-verse study of Hosea was recorded on 5th September 2021.
What are the lessons we can learn from this incredible book of love and grace?
- Nothing is able to quench God’s love for us
- God suffers intense sorrow when men desert him:
- The sacredness and sanctity of marriage typify our relationship with Jehovah.
- The consequences of following unworthy teachers are tragic.
- There can be no “double standard” of morals in God’s kingdom.
- A nation declines rapidly when its leaders become corrupt:
- Internal corruption in a nation is more dangerous to its existence than foreign enemies.
- The greatest sin is that against true love.
- There is a real danger of becoming like those we associate with (I Cor. 15:33).
- The root from which all sins spring is unfaithfulness to God.
- Genuine repentance will bring forgiveness and full restoration to God’s favor.
- There is beauty in forgiving those who sin against us (Matt. 6:12-14).
- The crushing blows of life can drive us to the arms of God.
- “Who is he that he may understand these things? prudent that he may know them? for the ways of Jehovah are right, and the just shall walk in them; but the transgressors shall fall therein:” (Hosea 14:9).
- Our goodness must be more permanent than the morning cloud — fog and early dew (6:4).
- May we not be half-baked Christians — burned on one side, mushy on top — and therefore useless (7:8).
- All “these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” (I Cor. 10:11).
- God still prefers goodness to heartless sacrifice (6:6):
- May we, like Hosea, be a living demonstration of our message:
- Corruption in politics is bad, but in religion it is inexcusable.
- God is not willing that any should perish, especially his children (II Pet. 3:9).
- “It appears to be a universal law of this sin-stricken world that God makes perfect through suffering, that redemption is wrought through sacrifice.”
In chapter 13, the reality dawns that God’s judgment on Israel, at the hands of the Assyrians, is coming.
No longer is it distant prophecies of some future Divine rebuke; the moment has come and will be accomplished as quickly as the morning dew disappears (13:3). Even in this God reminds His covenant people that He was the One who had delivered them from Egypt, sustained them in the wilderness and brought them into the Promised Land. It had been the Nation that had rejected God, demanded a king so as to be like the nations around them, and then taken all the blessings God had given and used them to indulge in immorality and idolatry (13:5-11)
God then reminds Israel that His patience, up to this point, should not be mistaken for indifference to their sin. God had collated all of their sin (‘bound up’) (13:12) and was ready to mete out the appropriate judgment. Sadly, many today think they can ‘get away’ with sin because God doesn’t judge them instantly. Yet God so loved the World that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life! (John 3:16). God also is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
Ecclesiastes 3:15 also reminds us that God requires and account of things past. On that day how will you plead? Sin must be paid for, the wages of sin is death. Either you face God as judge and suffer the eternal consequences, or you face Him as LORD, in which case, your sin still has to be paid for. Only Jesus Christ offers a remedy; only Jesus Christ died in your place, taking the full force of God’s wrath for sin upon Himself whosoever would accept His offer of Salvation.
Chapter 13 ends with the lamentable warning of what Israel would imminently experience:
- Yahweh would hold Samaria, a metonymy for Israel, guilty for rebelling against Him, her covenant lord and God (cf. Hosea 7:13; Hosea 8:1).
- Israel’s soldiers would die in battle (cf. Leviticus 26:25), her children would suffer unmerciful executions (cf. Deuteronomy 28:52-57; Deuteronomy 32:25), and the Assyrians would even cut open her pregnant women with their swords (cf. 2 Kings 15:16; Amos 1:13).
- This gruesome form of execution killed both the mother and the unborn child making it impossible for the coming generation eventually to rise up and rebel against the conqueror.
- These were curses that the Lord warned would follow rebellion against the terms of His covenant (cf. Leviticus 26:25; Deuteronomy 28:21; Deuteronomy 32:24-25; Amos 4:10). – Dr. Thomas Constable
However, this is not the end of the story. Chapter 14 closes the book of Hosea with the certain hope that Israel will finally return* – albeit after 2700 years, the Assyrian captivity, the Babylonian captivity, the Roman occupation and subsequent destruction of the land in A.D. 70, the diaspora from 132 A.D. when all Jews were forced to leave the Land, the subsequent wanderings of the last two millennia, the Holocaust and the coming Tribulation (time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7)) – But after all this, like a prodigal son, Israel will come to their senses and say: “Asshur (Assyria) shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy. (v3)… What have I to do any more with idols? (v8)“
*Return (Shoob in the Hebrew) is used 21x in Hosea.
“In beauty of expression these final words of Hosea rank with the memorable chapters of the OT. Like the rainbow after a storm, they promise Israel’s final restoration. Here is the full flowering of God’s unfailing love for his faithless people, the triumph of his grace, the assurance of his healing-all described in imagery that reveals the loving heart of God”. – Leon Wood
The book closes with an admonition from Hosea to pay heed to these things.
He who is well instructed will make a proper application of what he has here read; will tremble at the threatenings, and embrace the promises, of his God.
How instructive, how convincing, how awakening, and yet how consolatory, are the words of this prophecy!
Reader, lay them to heart. A godly mind cannot consider them in vain; such shall know them, and know that the ways of the Lord are right”. – Adam Clarke
May you blessed and encouraged to walk closer and deeper with the LORD our God through this study!