Summary: Hosea saw a parallel between the spiritual illness that infected his marriage, and the spiritual illness that infected his nation.

Where is God?

The economy of the nation is collapsing. Companies are going out of business. Families that were once thriving are now struggling.

Where is God?

The morality of society is in decline. People cheat one another. They look out only for number one. What’s happening to the culture?

Where is God? Why doesn’t He do something about this?

Look at the church. Priests and their conduct – or misconduct I should say. Everywhere you turn there is talk about the ungodly way priests have behaved – misbehaved.

Where is God?

And what happened to the world of peace? It disappeared in a wave of violence.

Where is God?

Now if you think I’m talking about our society, think again. I’m not talking about our stock market, the collapse of Enron, the misconduct of Roman Catholic priests, or what happened almost a year ago on September 11th.

I’m talking about Hosea.

Today we begin a series of studies on the Minor Prophets. They are not called “minor” because their message, but simply because of their size. Each of the 12 last books of the Old Testament are so brief you can read them in the time it takes to read an article from Reader’s Digest.

You can easily read Hosea in 15 minutes.

Hosea was not the first of these 12 Minor Prophets to appear on the stage of history. He is actually the 5th – but Hosea comes first in the order of appearance in the Table of Contents of our Bibles, so that is why we happen to be looking at him today.

And what a perfect Sunday to look at Hosea.

This is the week we remember what happened last year September 11, 2001.

Hosea was a brilliant theologian.

He was a patriot who loved his country.

He was a passionate speaker.

And when he began his ministry, it was a wonderful time to be alive. It was, in many ways, like our own society – or at least, the way our society was about this time last year.

Hosea’s generation knew nothing of war, except through the memories of their fathers. It was, in many ways like our society was before September 11th, many of us knew of Pearl Harbor through our parents or grandparents.

In Hosea’s time, there had been peace for many years, and with it had come economic prosperity. Look at the stock market and the economy – about the way it was this time last year.

But – those wonderful times are about to come to an end in Hosea’s day.

By the middle of the Book of Hosea, the winds are war is beginning to blow. We read in the 5th chapter, "Sound the trumpet … raise the battle cry.” (Hosea 5:8-9).

By the end of Hosea’s ministry, the nation of Israel has been defeated. The foreign nation of the Assyrians take control of Hosea’s beloved nation Israel.

At the beginning of Hosea’s ministry, he sees a spiritual illness that permeates his nation. It looks like things are going well – peace, good economy. But Hosea looks deeper. He knows other nations are preparing for war. He knows there is a tremendous gap between the rich and the poor.

Hosea preaches about this spiritual illness, but the people don’t see it. They don’t want to see it. Everything is peaceful. The economy is great. What could possibly be wrong with the nation?

But Hosea could see it. He could see it plainly.

And the reason Hosea could see it so well was because he lived through it every single day. And I don’t mean that Hosea lived through it by being actively involved in his society, or because he was just very observant of his society.

Hosea could see this spiritual illness in his culture because Hosea had to live through this same spiritual illness at home – in his marriage.

The spiritual illness that was permeating Hosea’s nation, was also the same spiritual illness that was permeating Hosea’s marriage.

You see, Hosea had a lousy marriage. And when he looked at the problems in his marriage, he couldn’t help but see the problems of all of society.

Have you ever been to a wedding and looked at the bride and groom and thought, “That’s not going to last.”

That’s Hosea and his bride Gomer.

She is unfaithful from the very beginning.

The whole marriage is a sad affair.

Hosea and Gomer have three children. They have these three children in quick order, one right after the other. We get the impression that every nine or ten months, there’s Gomer giving birth to another kid.

And then, shortly after the third baby is born, Gomer is out of there!

She is out of the house.

She deserts her husband and her children and engages in an adulterous affair.

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