Summary: Who are the Minor Prophets and what can we learn from them? Hosea is the 1st in a list of prophets that we refer to as 'Minor Prophets' but their message is anything BUT minor!
Hosea 1:1 [NLT]
February 27, 2013
Oak Park Baptist Church – Wed Bible Study Series
Hosea Bible Study
Hosea – An Introduction:
A Study of the Minor Prophets Hosea (760-720 BC)
HOSEA to Israel (Northern Kingdom)
Hebrew word for “Salvation”
If you want some really good background for the book of Hosea I want you to read 1 Kings 13-17 and 2 Chr 26-29. It will help you tremendously as you study this book of the Bible.
Now as we read the first few chapters we find Hosea summing up the charges against Israel in the one word – punishment.
First Charge laid forth was: God declared that Israel had done worse than adultery; as a harlot she had prostituted herself before the Ba’al in the land for hire (2:12-13).
Second charge was that the people were without knowledge of God (4:6; 5:4), and as a result they were ignorant of God and His laws (8:12).
It was NOT as if they did not know who God was or who they were as a nation. They were going thru the motions of what the Law required and they would nominally pay homage to Jehovah, but in reality they honored the false God Ba’al. This sin brought Hosea's most severe rebukes. The people were victims of two systems of false religion:
the calf worship introduced by Jeroboam I, and
Baal worship stressed by Ahab and Jezebel.
Each of these grievances were completely foreign to the Law of God set forth by God thru Moses. Each was the fruit and result of apostasy (turning away from God)
God used a tremendously cruel illustration to paint a clear picture of the spiritual condition of the people of the nation! Hosea reveals this illustration in ch1 with his calling from God to his wife Gomer! Marriage is a direct reflection OF the Lord's experience with Israel.
They had committed spiritual adultery against God and had prostituted themselves spiritually with foreign gods… God had Hosea marry a prostitute who would treat Hosea JUST LIKE Israel was treating God!
In this book, God wants to forgive Israel (Northern Kingdom) and we find Him offering for Israel to be restored.
We find a great righteousness portrayed by God throughout Hosea. Even though doom for the wicked within the nation of Israel is announced, Hosea often speaks of the love of the Lord. God loved His people, but Israel had sown to the wind and deserved to reap the whirlwind (8:7).
Their conduct was the opposite of that, which God desired and demanded, and the people were guilty of sins abominable before God. Sadly the people had been fashioned by their lack of intimate knowledge about God…
This lack of intimacy for and with God brought about a great apathy among the people toward the relationship with God! This apathy resulted in the nation’s outright abandonment of a godly life and sought their own pleasures! The picture painted here by God is one of a nation in decay.
In the NT we find the book of Hosea is quoted many times:
1 Pet 2:10; 10Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
13Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
7If you had known what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the innocent.
The DATING for the book of Hosea
The date for Hosea's prophecy is probably from 750-725 BC. If you look on the timeline handout I gave to you…you will see that Hosea was one of the first of the Minor Prophets! He was a contemporary to Amos, Jonah and Micah…
This time period comes from what we read in the 1st verse. If Hosea began his ministry in the last days of Jeroboam II, king of Israel, and continued his work until the early days of Hezekiah, king of Judah, these dates would fit.
The name Hosea means "salvation." The names Joshua (Num. 13:16) and Jesus (Mt. 1:21) are derived from the same Hebrew word. Hosea's father was named Beeri (1:1), but we know nothing more about his personal family or background.
Hosea's message emphasizes the righteousness of Jehovah: God is love. This great principle is emphasized throughout his prophecy. A favorite expression of the prophet is "God’s lovingkindness."
The overarching message of God’s love is the main thrust of this prophet’s work, although much of God’s love in Hosea is what we may consider as ‘tough love’
The doom of the nation is inevitable and although his message is that of the righteousness of God Jehovah, it is also a message of the doom of Israel.