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The Scriptorium

Tokens of Covenant

Hosea's children communicated a mixed message.

Hosea 1

Week 2, Wednesday: You and your children

Hosea takes his wife and they bring a child into the world. This is precisely in line with God’s covenant plan for His people from the very beginning (cf. Gen. 1.26-28; Gen. 12.1-3). Here is yet another token of the continuing strength of God’s eternal design. The children of Hosea will, by their very being in the world, remind rebellious Israel of the Lord’s ongoing grace and faithfulness.

Their names, however, will carry other messages, and will prepare Hosea for the proclamations God has in store for him.

Read Hosea 1

Meditate on Hosea 1.2-4

1. Meditate on Genesis 1.26-28, 12.1-3, 15.1-6, 22.15-18, 26.1-5. God consistently bound up all the promises of His covenant with the gift of children. Why would it be important for Hosea’s ministry to begin with bringing children into the world? What was God trying to say to Hosea, and through him, to Israel?

2. What happened at Jezreel? Read 1 Kings 21.1-24. How many ways did this act of treachery constitute a violation of God’s Law? Can you see how Ahab’s wickedness presents a template for Israel’s entire history?

3. Jehu became king under the command of God (cf. 1 Kgs. 19.16, 17) with the mandate to bring judgment against the house of Ahab. This charge he fulfilled. However, it seems he should have taken this as a message from God to lead the nation of Israel back from its violent, Baal-worshiping ways, and from all its spiritual adultery. Instead, what actually happened (2 Kgs. 10.18-31)? In God’s eyes, therefore, Jehu shed the blood of Ahab’s descendants needlessly; he did not carry God’s plan through to completion but used his violence to establish himself more firmly. Thus, God would have to pick up His own work of judgment from that point (cf. 2 Kgs. 10.32, 33).

4. OK, given what we’ve seen about children, Jezreel, and Jehu, what “message” is bound up in the name the Lord appointed for Hosea’s first child? “Jezreel” would be for Hosea a symbol for a certain aspect of his message to the people of Israel (vv. 4, 5). Summarize that message:

5. The phrase “Valley of Jezreel” doesn’t seem to refer to any particular place or event in Israel’s history. Rather, it suggests the kind of judgment God intends to bring against His rebellious people. How do you suppose the prospect of such preaching would have affected Hosea?

God’s “case” against Israel has deep historical roots. Israel has abused His grace, flouted His faithfulness, and spurned His covenant. Should God merely overlook such treachery? Ever?

Closing Prayer
Remember this, that the enemy has reproached, O LORD,
And that a foolish people has blasphemed Your name.
Oh, do not deliver the life of Your turtledove to the wild beast!
Do not forget the life of Your poor forever.
Have respect to the covenant;
For the dark places of the earth are full of the haunts of cruelty.
Oh, do not let the oppressed return ashamed!
Let the poor and needy praise Your name.
Arise, O God, plead Your own cause;
Remember how the foolish man reproaches You daily.
Do not forget the voice of Your enemies;
The tumult of those who rise up against You increases continually.

Psalm 74.18-23

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.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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