Hosea: Introduction and Overview
“Set the trumpet to your mouth!
He shall come like an eagle against the house of the LORD,
Because they have transgressed My covenant
And rebelled against My law.
Israel will cry to Me,
‘My God, we know You!’
Israel has rejected the good;
The enemy will pursue him.
They set up kings, but not by Me;
They made princes, but I did not acknowledge them.
From their silver and gold
They made idols for themselves—
That they might be cut off."
The people to whom Hosea prophesied expressed shock that God had some complaint against them. Didn’t they “know” Him? They worshiped Him, why, they even had two places to worship Him, as compared with only one in Judah. They brought Him offerings. They supported His priests and served His kings. Why was He upset with them?
The answer was simple: Outward appearances notwithstanding, they had violated the terms of God’s covenant, and they were breaking His Law.
God’s covenant is His special bond with His people. It was in effect in the Garden of Eden, though not mentioned by name. God engaged Noah in His covenant, and “sealed” its promises to him with the rainbow. He formally declared the broad and long parameters of His covenant with Abraham, then further elaborated it with Moses and David.
In His covenant God binds Himself to a people whom He has chosen, redeemed, and called by grace alone. He prepares a rich palette of blessings and promises for them, commanding them to believe Him, trust Him, and obey Him, so that they might enjoy all that He has in store for them. Especially, God intends His people to know, love, enjoy, serve, proclaim, and glorify Him. He promises to be their God and to make them His people.
But the people must remain faithful to the Lord, trusting in the reliability of His Word, remembering His grace and goodness, and walking within the parameters of love for Him and one another which He details in His Law.
In Hosea’s day, the people of Israel were trying to have it both ways – a little bit of God and His covenant and a whole lot of the pagan world and its raw sensuality. It fell to Hosea to remind them that God alone decided the terms of His covenant with Israel, and if they wanted to realize the full and abundant life He had in store for them, they would have to quit their pagan ways and return to Him with all their souls and strength.
Read Hosea 7 and 8
How many of the Ten Commandments did Israel violate, as reported in these two chapters alone? How serious is God about His people keeping His Law?
Glory to Glory
We don’t keep God’s Law in order to be saved, but because we are saved. Explain. How does keeping the Law of God relate to His glory?
Deal bountifully with Your servant,
That I may live and keep Your word.
Open my eyes, that I may see
Wondrous things from Your law.
I am a stranger in the earth;
Do not hide Your commandments from me.
My soul breaks with longing
For Your judgments at all times.
You rebuke the proud—the cursed,
Who stray from Your commandments.
Remove from me reproach and contempt,
For I have kept Your testimonies.
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.