Summary: This Sunday we’ll be looking at “The Faithfulness of God” from the book of Hosea, because God’s faithfulness is not only a reoccurring theme found throughout Hosea’s story, but one that is found throughout God’s word.
The Faithfulness of God
The Book of Hosea
Today we’ll be looking at the faithfulness of God. And to do so we’ll be looking at the Old Testament book of Hosea. But before we turn there, would you please turn in your Bibles to 2 Kings 17.
If there is one verse within the Bible that I would say sums up the book of Hosea, it is what the Apostle Paul says to Timothy in his second letter to him.
“If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13 NKJV)
And as we proceed in our study, we’ll see why this verse is so apropos.
Hosea was the prophet to the Northern tribes or kingdom of Israel, prior to their captivity to the Assyrians. Often, we’ll hear of Hosea being the 11th hour prophet.
Hosea began his prophetic ministry when Jeroboam II reigned as king. It was considered a profitable time and was known as the golden age of prosperity. Unfortunately, this didn’t include their spiritual life, because Israel did not repent of its sins, its immorality, nor its idolatry. It was in this setting that Hosea wrote this prophecy.
After Jeroboam II’s death, the Northern kingdom went into a very steep downhill slide, where four of the last six kings were assassinated, and one was taken into captivity. And because of their continual sin and overall spirit of unrepentance, God would then remove them from the land as He foretold in His law.
The Lord said, “But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you.” (Deuteronomy 28:15 NKJV)
Then the Lord lists out a pretty lengthy list of what this would look like, and in verse 64 we are told of the one that would now apply to the Northern kingdom.
“Then the Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods, which neither you nor your fathers have known--wood and stone.” (Deuteronomy 28:64 NKJV)
And this is exactly what happened.
“So they left all the commandments of the Lord their God, made for themselves a molded image and two calves, made a wooden image and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. And they caused their sons and daughters to pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft and soothsaying, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger. Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them from His sight; there was none left but the tribe of Judah alone.” (1 Kings 17:16-18 NKJV)
“For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they did not depart from them, until the Lord removed Israel out of His sight, as He had said by all His servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria, as it is to this day.” (1 Kings 17:22-23 NKJV)
And so, God sent Hosea to Israel to let them know of their condition before He exacted justice so they couldn’t say, “We didn’t know.”
Now, God used the prophet Hosea in a very unusual way. He didn’t just preach God’s message, he literally lived it out in front of them. And the message was both shocking and horrifying.
It began with God telling Hosea to get married. (Now, this is not the horrifying part.) It was shocking because God told him to marry a harlot by the name of Gomer. And what we see is that she was unfaithful to the marriage vows because the children born from their union weren’t his, but rather they were the children of her lovers.
You see, the purpose of Hosea’s marriage to Gomer was an object lesson about the people’s relationship with God, that is, their unfaithfulness as God’s wife.
We are told throughout the Bible how God was Israel’s husband, like in Isaiah 54:5.
“For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.” (Isaiah 54:5 NKJV)
Now, while many are tempted to say this refers to the nation of Israel, and doesn’t apply to us today, let me say that just as Israel was betrothed and married to the Father, the church is betrothed and married to Jesus Christ. Paul relates this best in his second letter to the Corinthians.
“For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:2 NKJV)