Hosea Says to Worship Our God of Faithfulness
As the end of days approaches, you can find hope as you see Christ in the Old Testament--from Hosea to Micah![i]
Then the Lord said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans."
-Hosea 3:1, emphasis added
All the Minor Prophets declare that God is holy. It was their comprehension of His utter holiness that was the impetus for their scathing indictments of sin. Wherever sin was found among God's people or in foreign lands (Edom, as in Obadiah; Assyria, as in Nahum), it was still an affront to the Lord and had to be dealt with. As nowhere else in the Scriptures, sin is denounced and repentance is ardently and earnestly demanded. These prophets declared that without genuine repentance, the judgment of God is inescapable.
Hosea himself had a life of grief. His only beloved wife, Gomer, was persistently unfaithful to their marriage. This sorrow gave Hosea a unique perspective to speak about the parallel unfaithfulness of Israel for their Lord. The compassionate heart of God, with no diminishing of His holy standard, is seen in the book of Hosea, which paints a powerful portrait of the coming revelation of the love and holiness of God perfectly revealed in Christ. There is moral and spiritual bankruptcy in the nation; sin is unashamedly practiced, and God is abandoned. Worship of the true and living God is replaced by false and lifeless idols. Hosea depicts the inward decay of a collapsing nation. Ultimately, in 722 B.C., Assyria captured and deported the people of the northern kingdom to the area we would now call modern-day Iraq.
Hope helps us to clearly see God's faithfulness in Hosea. We can learn valuable lessons from how God related to His people, and how they responded. For instance, God faithfully warned His people, but Israel forgot their Maker (Hosea 8:14). However, He never forgot them; rather, God wanted them to remember Him all through their lives. This teaches the value of listening to God. Because Israel faithlessly lived apart from God by their deeds (Hosea 7:2), we are reminded of the importance of following the Lord. Because Israel faithlessly neglected God's Word and stumbled into sin (Hosea 4:5; Hosea 5:5 , but didn't even know it (Hosea 7:8-9) because she became satisfied and forgot God (Hosea 8:14; Hosea 13:6), we are cautioned to not neglect feeding upon His Word.
Israel faithlessly compromised God's plan by mixing with the nations (Hosea 7:8), which caused them to wander and rebel (Hosea 7:13). This ultimately led to their going astray by a spirit of harlotry (Hosea 4:12;Hosea 5:4). Yielding to the enticement of "a little compromise" usually leads to full-blown rebellion. We need to obey the Lord.
God faithfully disciplined His disobedient children when they stumbled into sin (Hosea 4:1; Hosea 5:2 . He had to chastise them because they transgressed His covenant (Hosea 6:6-7; Hosea 8:1 Hosea 13:4 . This is true of nations and people alike, and repentance is the only wise choice of action. Hosea thus urged Israel to acknowledge their guilt (5:15), return to the Lord (Hosea 6:1), know Him (Hosea 6:3), and wait for Him (Hosea 12:6).
With that in mind, we should respond daily to God's Word, and never put off obedience until it is more convenient. Listen to God faithfully, follow Him, feed upon His Word, and then respond in loving obedience. If you do, He will bless you for it!
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