Hosea 1 -- 6
Jeroboam II, King of Israel, ruled the Northern Kingdom during its closing years, followed by Zachariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah, Pekah, and Hoshea. During that time, Hosea, Obadiah, Joel, Jonah, and Amos were prophets.
Jeroboam II followed the example of Jeroboam I, who became the first king of the ten tribes of Israel when they chose to separate from the United Kingdom following Solomon's death (I Kings 11:26-40; 12:2-20). To secure his newly-formed Kingdom of Israel, Jeroboam I had changed the place of religious worship from Jerusalem, the city which the Lord had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to put His Name (II Chronicles 12:13). Consequently, Jeroboam I became known as the man who made Israel to sin (I Kings 14:16; 15:26,30,34; 16:2,26; 21:22; 22:52; II Kings 3:3; 10:29,31; 13:2; 14:24; 15:9,18,24,28; 23:15).
It may have appeared to many that Jeroboam I was not replacing the One True God, but merely introducing visible objects to represent God. However, this was a violation of the First Commandment, which forbids having other gods; and it was also a violation of the Second Commandment, which condemns all graven images (Exodus 20:3-4). Jeroboam also instituted a non-Levitical order of priests and a new religious feast in the eighth month that rivaled the Feast of Tabernacles in the seventh month in Jerusalem. His two "chapels of convenience," with the golden calves, prepared the way for Jezebel, at a later date, to introduce Baal and Ashtoreth, her Zidonian deities, as "additional gods" and eventually to exclude the worship of the Lord God altogether.
The moral and spiritual level of the Israelites had now become so low as to embrace sodomites (male cult prostitutes) and all the abominations of the nations whom the Lord cast out before the Israelites (I Kings 14: 24). Not one of the 19 kings of the Northern Kingdom of Israel ever attempted to lead the people back to Jerusalem to worship as God had instructed Moses. It was in this situation that the Word of the Lord . . . came to Hosea . . . in the days of Jeroboam . . . King of Israel. . . . I will have no more mercy upon the House of Israel; but I will utterly take them away (Hosea 1:1-6).
The leadership had failed to see the importance of the Word of God, therefore the Lord spoke through Hosea against the people: Because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood touches blood (Hosea 4:1-2). The reason for their plight was obvious and their judgment pronounced: My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you . . . seeing you have forgotten the Law of your God, I will forget your children (4:6).
Nothing is more important to our eternal well-being than faithfulness to our Lord as revealed in His Word: This is life eternal, that they might know You the Only True God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent . . . . I have given them Your Word; and the world has hated them . . . keep them from the evil. . . . Sanctify them through Your truth: Your Word is truth (John 17:3,14-15,17).
Through Hosea's love for his unworthy, sinful wife (Hosea 3:1-5). Our Lord Jesus not only loved us while we were yet sinners, but He also died the death of shame for us on Calvary so that all He possessed might become ours (Rom. 5:8;8:32; II Pet. 1:3). I will betroth you unto Me for ever (Hosea 2:19).
2:2 plead with means bring to protest; 2:3 set means expose; 2:16 Ishi means my husband; Baali means my lord and master; 3:4 ephod means priestly robe; teraphim means household idols; 4:12 staff means diviner's wand; 4:13 shadow means pleasant shade; 4:16 slideth back means stubborn, obstinate; 5:7 portions means land, fields; 5:15 early means earnestly; 6:11 returned the captivity means bring back the captives.
Government Officials: Del. Donna Christian-Green (Virgin Islands), Rep. Thomas Ewing (IL), and Rep. Marge Roukema (NJ) · Pray for Barbara Waddell, Chairman, Ohio BRM · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast in honor of Irene Hurd · Country: Cuba (11 million) on the northern rim of the Caribbean · Major language: Spanish · Strict government surveillance of all true Christian activities · 41% Roman Catholic; 2% various spiritists; 1% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Intercede in prayer for those who forsake or disappoint you (II Timothy 4:16).
Memory Verse for the Week: