Summary: Hosea compares Israel and Judah to their ancestor Jacob
Hosea 12 [NLT]
July 17, 2013
Oak Park Baptist Church – Wed Bible Study Series
Hosea Bible Study
A Study of the Minor Prophets Hosea (750-725 BC)
HOSEA to Israel (Northern Kingdom)
God is angry at the nation because they have turned away from Him and turned TOWARD idols and idolatrous worship practices… the practices of the nations around them. Hosea has been tasked by God to open their eyes with His words!
In this chapter we find Hosea expounding on the apostasy of BOTH Israel (Northern Kingdom) and Judah (Southern Kingdom) and he does this by using their ancestor Jacob’s life as an example for where they are in service to God.
Let’s look at this chapter and what God was saying to Israel and what WE can learn from it…
1Ephraim chases the wind and pursues the east wind.
He continually multiplies lies and violence. He makes a covenant with Assyria, and olive oil is carried to Egypt.
In this verse Hosea references Ephraim which is a reference to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Ephraim was the largest tribe and dominant political factor within the nation… their tribe carried a lot of political weight and influenced a great deal of political decisions!
The phrase Hosea uses here that Ephraim is ‘chasing or pursuing the wind’ is a metaphor. What he is saying is that the nation is trying to control that which is uncontrollable!
Have you ever tried to chase, pursue or capture the wind? We may use the wind but there is no way we can control the wind…
They were seeking to control that which they could NOT control. Seeking alliances with countries and seeking trade agreements with nations… they believed they were securing their safety but did not understand the inherent danger in what they were doing.
How often do we do the same thing in our lives? We believe we can align ourselves with this belief or that movement and it will bring us happiness or peace… only to see it NOT deliver on its promises… but not only did not deliver on its promises but actually turns on us and harms us!
This is like getting a pet tiger or pet alligator and believing that because you have raised them or been feeding them for an extended period of time that you are totally safe with them…
Israel was seeking alliances with anyone BUT God and instead of turning to the ONE that could help them they relied on themselves and their alliances to save them! Hosea was warning them that this was not going to save them!
2The Lord also has a dispute with Judah. He is about to punish Jacob according to his ways; He will repay him based on his actions.
Here in v.2 Hosea begins to compare the nation of Israel with the life of Jacob… Jacob whose name was changed to Israel…
Judah is now being placed into the guilty party by God. Judah is now considered just as guilty as the nation of Israel. It is almost as if Hosea is setting up a courtroom scene in which he will describe the failings of the nation. By comparing their actions with the actions of Jacob in his life…
Look at v3-5
3In the womb he grasped his brother’s heel, and as an adult he wrestled with God. 4Jacob struggled with the Angel and prevailed; he wept and sought His favor. He found him at Bethel, and there He spoke with him. 5Yahweh is the God of Hosts; Yahweh is His name.
Here Hosea details some of Jacob’s life actions… the grabbing of Esau’s heel from the womb, and his defiance of the angel with whom he wrestled…
What we can take from this is that Hosea is portraying that the nation has taken up with all the bad qualities of Jacob and none of the good qualities…
Jacob is portrayed as a man desperate, but a man that is ultimately transformed by God. The desperation of Jacob begins in the womb as he struggles with his brother and it continues in the conflict between the brothers.
In these verses, Jacob is portrayed as a man who is willing to push aside even his brother to see success. Jacob’s life was filled with his conniving struggles and battles for survival, but it is at Bethel were God offers His covenant to Jacob…
The order of the story of Jacob’s life is rearranged by Hosea to offer us a picture of how Jacob believed he could ‘fight for’ and make happen what needed to happen but in the end it is only through the grace and gift of God does he receive blessing!
This is a picture of the nation of Israel at this time… a picture of a nation that was scrapping and fighting and bargaining to MAKE happen what they wanted to happen… but what Hosea wants them to see is… that they only need to turn to God and allow Him to provide as He has throughout their history!