“Called Back to God”
Steve Hanchett, pastor
Berry Road Baptist Church
January 7, 2001
The word of the Lord that came to Hosea the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.
After the period of the Judges, during which time the nation of Israel was going through the cycle of sin, suffering, suplication and salvation, God gave them a king to rule over the nation. The first king, Saul, became proud and his pride resulted in his failed leadership and David, the man after God’s own heart was given the throne. David was a great king and the kingdom advanced geographically, politically and spiritually under his leadership. Solomon his son began his reign with the same kind of spiritual greatness he had seen in his father. But later in his life Solomon drifted from God and the end of his life was a sad tale.
Shortly after the death of Solomon the kingdom was divided into two separate kingdoms, Israel and Judah. Jeroboam I, the first king of Israel set about to establish places of worship in Dan and Bethel. He banished all of the Levites from his territories and worked to keep his people from going to Jerusalem on the feast days. He motives were strictly political but his actions had horrible spiritual implications for the nation.
It is important to note that the Northern Kingdom of Israel had 19 kings and God’s evaluation was that they were all evil. We need to realize that sin can be enslaving for a long time. Jeroboam’s sins became so deeply ingrained in the national consciousness that the people of Israel never overcame the idolatry he started.
So by the time we arrive at Hosea’s day the nation had a long history of worshipping idols. This false worship had serious moral consequences. You can not worship idols with impunity and expect that it will not effect your moral character. You will become like what you worship. That is exactly what happened in Israel.
It is interesting to note that while Hosea was a citizen of the Northern Kingdom he mentions more kings from Judah than he does from Israel when he dates his ministry. His ministry extended over a long period of time, some estimate possibly as long as sixty years. During that time period seven kings had ruled in Israel, yet he only mentions one, Jeroboam II.
It is not likely that this was an oversight. Hosea intentionally left their names out of his writings. I believe he did so because he saw them as being illegitamate kings. He saw the wickedness and evil of the their life and rejected them as having eternal spiritual significance. He treated their reigns as if they were not worthy of mention. I sincerely believe that he obeyed the laws of the land and treated the kings with respect. But it appears that he saw them as being spiritual and moral failures in spite of what they might have accomplished politically.
Just a brief look at these kings will explain why Hosea has such a dim view of their leadership. Jereboam reigned for forty years. During his days the nation experienced a great deal of prosperity. The people were becoming wealthy and the territory was expanded so that encompassed most of what they held during Solomon’s reign. But Jeroboam never did anything to combat the spiritual and moral corruption of the nation.