Summary: A one sermon coverage of the situation, sentiments and solution of Israel & Hosea’s circumstances.
Hosea WBC 2 May 04 pm
I wonder how many of you would like to be a prophet? Well, you might feel quite different after this evening!
The context in which Hosea is written is approx 8C BC.
- So he’s a contemporary of the first 40 chapters of Isaiah, and of Jonah
- but unlike Jonah his prophetic ministry is not exercised to the ’threatening’ Assyrians- rather primarily to the disobedient northern kingdom of the Jews: “Israel”
o ... who God is threatening to judge with the Assyrians. Things do get so bad that he even prophesies occasionally to/against the southern kingdom, Judah, as well.
Historical records of Hosea’s period are found in 1Kings 14-20 and 1 Chron 3ff.
The situation: (Israel and Hosea’s situation.)
Things are bad in Israel!
- (Worse than they were in Judah because they didn’t have the controlling influence of the centrality of worship/faith/practice given by Jerusalem and the temple.)
Read abridged Ch4.:
HOS 4:1 Hear the word of the LORD, you Israelites,
because the LORD has a charge to bring
against you who live in the land:
"There is no faithfulness, no love,
no acknowledgment of God in the land.
HOS 4:2 There is only cursing, lying and murder,
stealing and adultery;
HOS 4:5 You stumble day and night,
and the prophets stumble with you.
So I will destroy your mother--
HOS 4:6 my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.
"Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also reject you as my priests;
because you have ignored the law of your God,
I also will ignore your children.
HOS 4:7 The more the priests increased,
the more they sinned against me;
they exchanged their Glory for something disgraceful.
HOS 4:8 They feed on the sins of my people
and relish their wickedness.
HOS 4:9 And it will be: Like people, like priests.
I will punish both of them for their ways
and repay them for their deeds.
HOS 4:10 "They will eat but not have enough;
they will engage in prostitution but not increase,
because they have deserted the LORD
to give themselves 11 to prostitution,
to old wine and new,
which take away the understanding 12 of my people.
They consult a wooden idol
and are answered by a stick of wood.
A spirit of prostitution leads them astray;
they are unfaithful to their God.
There’s lying, murder, bloodshed. Worshipping of idols, adultery is rife and even religious prostitution- shrine prostitutes.
- The description of them is so bad that Paul uses it (Roms 1:23) to describe a society that is beyond reversal and being ’given over to sin’ and God’s judgement-
o V7 Those "exchanging God’s glory for something disgraceful.."
What’s worse- even the priest are doing the same... or encouraging it... not teaching what is right... and people are being destroyed by their ignorance (4:6).
- Physically/sexually they prostitute themselves to anyone who comes their way.... and politically and spiritually they do the same.
- Because of the threat of destruction from Assyria- one minute they’re pleading with Assyria not to do it... the next they’re trying to make an alliance with Egypt to drive off the Assyrians.
They’re described like a ’silly dove’- read 7:11.
HOS 7:11 "Ephraim is like a dove,
easily deceived and senseless--
now calling to Egypt,
now turning to Assyria.
- Fickle... changing affections. Running to whoever has the best deal.
They’re so fickle that when they don’t get what they want from Assyria and Egypt they think they might as well try GOD,
- and so feign returning to Him... saying:
HOS 6:1 "Come, let us return to the LORD.
He has torn us to pieces
but he will heal us;
he has injured us
but he will bind up our wounds.
HOS 6:2 After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will restore us,
that we may live in his presence.
HOS 6:3 Let us acknowledge the LORD;
let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth."
But Israel (and even Judah) are only after ’what they can get’,
- imagining God to be like a slot machine who will "come up with the goods’ if they “act” like pressing the right button-
- and God knows they don’t really mean it. It’s only words... their deeds haven’t changed ..
- and God cries despairingly:
HOS 6:4 "What can I do with you, Ephraim?
What can I do with you, Judah?
Your love is like the morning mist,
like the early dew that disappears.
What a height they’ve fallen from.... 13:1- "when Ephraim spoke, men trembled.... but he became guilty of Baal worship and died"