Week 2, Monday: The historical setting
Hosea was not called to a cushy ministry of preaching and pastoral care. God sent him to a nation that was riding high at the time, but was clearly on its way to a calamitous collapse. Hosea indicates a good overall understanding of the times in which he was called to prophesy, and, as we shall see, he did not hold back in his ministry of the Word.
Let’s take a closer look at the social, cultural, political, and spiritual climate into which God called and sent the prophet Hosea.
Read Hosea 1
Meditate on Hosea 1.1
Read 2 Kings 14.23-29. Compare the spiritual health of Israel under Jeroboam with her political strength. Why, given what we see in verse 24, did God favor Israel with such might?
Quickly scan 2 Kings 15.1-31. How is it apparent that politics was the favored way of leading in Israel at this time? How would you describe the political life of Israel’s leaders?
We remember that Hosea was prophesying throughout this period, all the way into the sixth year of King Hezekiah of Judah (Hos. 1.1; cf. 2 Kgs. 17.1, 18.1). Given what you saw in the introduction of Hosea last week, was this a risky business for this prophet? Why?
Hosea says “the word of the LORD” came to him during the reign of Jeroboam II. What does this mean? How does the Word of the Lord come to us today? Should we expect that Word to require of us anything like what it required of Hosea? Explain.
- While Hosea’s primary message is to the nation of Israel, he begins his “credentials” by mentioning the kings of Judah. Does this suggest anything about the scope of Hosea’s message? Read 2 Kings 15.32-16.20. How would you describe conditions in Judah during Hosea’s ministry? Is Hosea “telling it slant” or is he being crystal clear to the leaders of Judah? Explain.
How broad is the scope of God’s Word? How relevant to times and cultures? That is, to how much of society and culture does the Word speak? And with what tone? What emphases? Is this the kind of preaching and teaching you receive in your church?
“Oh, that My people would listen to Me,
That Israel would walk in My ways!
I would soon subdue their enemies,
And turn My hand against their adversaries.
The haters of the LORD would pretend submission to Him,
But their fate would endure forever.
He would have fed them also with the finest of wheat;
And with honey from the rock I would have satisfied you.”
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.