This study on Hosea chapters 5-8 was given by pastor Barry Forder on 15th August 2021 as part of Calvary Chapel Portsmouth’s family service.
We are going through a series of studies looking at the minor prophets – not minor in importance, but given the title of ‘minor’ due to the books being generally smaller than the likes of Isaiah, Jeremiah etc. (the ‘major’ prophets). The minor prophets brought messages of hope, reconciliation, but also of judgment to Israel and her neighbours.
Hosea is writing toward the end of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, around 730 B.C. and at a time when the nation had been given over to idolatry and immorality. It is bad enough to have a corrupt government, even worse when the people have lost their moral compass; yet when the priests, those who should take care and take charge of the nations spiritual well-being, give themselves over to deceit, hypocrisy, immorality, injustice and forsake God, judgment cannot be averted! Such is the state of the UK! Just as it was in Israel in Hosea’s day, this nation has embraced things that are an abomination to God – from the politician to the person in the street to the priest. What was once considered sin, is not only permitted, it is embraced as part of a culture that scoffs at the God of the Bible.
God warned Israel that time was up. Hosea was sent as a mouthpiece of God to sound the trumpet of alarm to the nation. The UK should get ready, for the trumpet that warns of impending judgment is but moments away from being sounded!
In chapter 5 we see Hosea highlight the evil behaviour of the Priests, the People, and the Royal Family (5:1-7), but the chapter ends in hope. God will wait, however long it takes, for Israel to come repentantly back to Him (5:8-15). Sadly, it will take the affliction of the coming Tribulation to shake Israel from her complacency and apostacy, but in her affliction, Israel will call out to her Messiah, whom she will finally realise is Jesus Christ, the One whom was pierced for her sorrows and bruised for her iniquities.
Chapter 6 opens with verse of profound prophetic significance, for it tells us that the Lord’s return is close, very close! The prophetic prayer of Israel in 6:1-3 (that is yet to actually be prayed) sees Israel acknowledge that, as a nation, they will live in the Lord’s sight for the Millennium, the literal period of 1000 years to come where Christ will rule on the Throne of David (fulfilling the promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David). The ‘two days’ prior to this seem to be representative of the last two thousand years, where Israel as a nation have been blinded on account of their rejection of Jesus the Messiah. In the remainder of chapter 6 Hosea further removed the veil on the sinfulness of both Israel and Judah (6:4-11).
Chapter 7 then exposes that the depravity in the Nation had run deeper than even the surface iniquity had shown. Israel had kept up the religious pretence, but there was no love for God in her actions. Furthermore, even the false gods Israel had turned to, had now been show to be worthless. Ironside comments:
“It is their unconsciousness of their true condition which this section emphasizes. Like a cake placed upon the coals and forgotten by the house-wife, till, left unturned, it is all burned on one side; so they were quite indifferent to their actual state before God. The mass taking no heed to the prophet’s warnings, went carelessly on in their own way, taking it for granted that all was as it should be, when, in reality, everything was all wrong”.
Regarding chapter 8, G Campbell Morgan states:
From this statement of the case the prophet turned to the pronouncement of judgment. This he did by adopting the figure of the trumpet lifted to the mouth, on which five blasts were sounded, in each of which some aspect of the sin of the people was set forth as revealing the reason for judgment.
- The first blast declared the coming judgment under the figure of a [swift] eagle, the reason being the transgressions and trespass of the people.
- The second blast emphasized Israel’s sin of rebellion in that they had set up kings and princes without the authority of Jehovah, and had made idols.
- The third blast dealt with Israel’s idolatry. She had set up the calf of Samaria, which Jehovah had cast off and broken in pieces. She had been guilty of sowing the wind, that is, emptiness; and therefore she must reap the whirlwind, that is, the force of emptiness.
- The fourth blast anounced Israel’s alliances. She had gone to Assyria like a wild ass, alone, and her judgment was that her hire among the nations had resulted in diminishing her.
- The fifth blast drew attention to the altars of sin which had been raised contrary to light, and by which sacrifice had been violated, and therefore judgment was announced.”
Albert Barns, in his commentary, brings this closer to home and highlights that, as a nation, we are are little different – and as such, also deserving of divine judgment:
The prophets, as watchmen, were set by God to give notice of His coming judgments Ezekiel 33:3; Amos 3:6. As the sound of a war-trumpet would startle a sleeping people, so would God have the prophet’s warning burst upon their sleep of sin. The ministers of the Church are called to be “watchmen” . “They too are forbidden to keep a cowardly silence, when “the house of the Lord” is imperilled by the breach of the covenant or violation of the law. If fear of the wicked or false respect for the great silences the voice of those whose office it is to “cry aloud,” how shall such cowardice be excused?”.
Hosea 8:8 is a verse to note, for it prophetically sums up the last two-thousand years for the Nations of Israel. They have been scattered around the world, and hated by all nations.
Finally Hosea points out that, rather than trusting in God, they had forges alliances with foreign nations – the very nations that would soon turn on them. This is how it is with sin!
Sin takes you further than you wanted to go, keeps you longer than you wanted to stay, and costs you mote then you wanted to pay!
We will continue our study in this timely book next week….
May you be blessed and encouraged by this study.