Hosea: Introduction and Overview
Who is wise?
Let him understand these things.
Who is prudent?
Let him know them.
For the ways of the Lord are right;
The righteous walk in them,
But transgressors stumble in them.
The message of Hosea and all the prophets may be summarized as follows: remind, reprove, recall, and restore.
The first duty of the prophet was to remind the people of God and His grace. God dramatized the nature of His relationship with Israel in the case of Hosea, by showing how He pursued them, a discarded and sinful people, and continued to love them even as they turned from Him to (spiritual) adultery. The grace of God, and the historical peg of His covenant, provides the backdrop against which all the messages of the prophets come to His people.
As in the days of Hosea, so with all the prophets, the people of God had either forgotten His grace or abused and scorned it, preferring false gods and the convenient morality they endorsed, to the truth and holiness of God. It thus fell to prophets like Hosea to haul Israel’s sins into the light of God’s truth, to reprove the people and to show the many ways they had broken His Law and spurned His grace. The purpose of these reproofs was to shame the people into turning from their wickedness and to seek the Lord and His favor.
Thus, each prophet includes some specific call for repentance, to recall Israel to the grace of the Lord by insisting they turn from their specific sins, whatever they might have been, of which they were guilty. In Hosea’s day, the worship of Baal, the pagan god of fertility, was the primary sin standing between them and restoration with the Lord.
Finally, the prophets held out the prospect and even the promise of restoration. A day is coming, Hosea insisted, when God would restore His people, pursuing and redeeming them from their sin as surely as he had gone to recover his fallen wife. God has called His people into being, in order to bless them, that He might be glorified in them throughout the earth. The prophets thus continued the message of promise, hope, and restoration which began with Adam and Eve in Genesis 3 and Abraham in Genesis 12, 15, and 17.
Read Hosea 5 and 6
In the midst of Israel’s rebellion against the Lord, He declares the depths of His love for them. We are never so far removed from the Lord, that His love does not come seeking us in some way. For what specific sins does Hosea reprove Israel in chapters 5 and 6?
Glory to Glory
We turn away from the glory of God whenever we turn to anything other than Him as our hope, joy, confidence, and trust. Are any such “idols” present in your own life?
Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us,
But to Your name give glory,
Because of Your mercy,
Because of Your truth.
Why should the Gentiles say,
“So where is their God?”
But our God is in heaven;
He does whatever He pleases.
Their idols are silver and gold,
The work of men’s hands.
They have mouths, but they do not speak;
Eyes they have, but they do not see;
They have ears, but they do not hear;
Noses they have, but they do not smell;
They have hands, but they do not handle;
Feet they have, but they do not walk;
Nor do they mutter through their throat.
Those who make them are like them;
So is everyone who trusts in them.
O Israel, trust in the LORD;
He is their help and their shield.
T. M. Moore
Each week’s studies in our Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For all available studies in Hosea, click here.
A primary theme of the book of Hosea is Israel’s failure to keep covenant with the Lord. God’s covenant is a central theme and provides the organizing motif for all of Scripture. Learn more about God’s covenant by ordering a copy of T. M.’s book, I Will Be Your God, from our online store (click here).
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.