Scripture reading – Hosea 2; Hosea 3; Hosea 4

 

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* This is the second of two Bible studies for today.

 

Hosea 4

With the backdrop that is reminiscent of a heavenly courtroom, we read the words, “Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel” (Hosea 4:1). Here, the LORD presides as judge, and the prophet Hosea served as the prosecuting attorney.

Israel Indited: The Charge Against God’s People (Hosea 4:1-3)

Hosea declared the LORD had a “controversy,” a quarrel and conflict with Israel. The “children of Israel” were charged with a threefold count: There is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land” (Hosea4:1).

First, the LORD charged that truth and integrity were lacking among His people. There was no one to be trusted. Secondly, mercy, compassion, and kindness were lacking among the people. Finally, there was “no knowledge of God in the land,” for the people strayed far from the LORD and His revelation (Hosea 4:1). Though Israel had the Law and Commandments, and the LORD sent His prophets and teachers, the people had no knowledge of God’s person and character.

 

Five violations of God’s Commandments were recorded (Hosea 4:2). The people were guilty of swearing (the third commandment states, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain,” Exodus 20:7). They were liars, and thus violated the ninth commandment (“Thou shalt not bear false witness,” Exodus 20:17). Israel had become a nation of murderers (violating the sixth commandment, Exodus 20:13). They were thieves(breaking the eighth commandment, Exodus 20:15). Lastly, like Gomer, they were a nation of adulterers (a violation of the seventh commandment, Exodus 20:14).

 

Like the news headlines of the world in our day, Israel was a nation rife with civil strife and violence. The people did “break out, and blood toucheth blood” (Hosea 4:2). Because of the bloodshed and the wickedness of the people, the LORD declared the land was polluted, and nature would not be spared from suffering (Hosea 4:3).

Five violations of God’s Commandments were recorded (Hosea 4:2).

The Spiritual Ignorance and Lawless Condition of the Nation (Hosea 4:4-11)

 

Adding to the condemnation was that the people were of the type that “strive with the priest” (Hosea 4:4). The faithful priests and Levites had long before departed northern Israel and lived in Judah. Therefore, without priests, no one could settle matters judiciously according to the law. (Hosea 4:4). Even if there were priests, the people would have strived with them.

 

Spiritual Ignorance (Hosea 4:6-9) 

The LORD, therefore, declared His judgment (Hosea 4:5), even as Hosea decried the spiritually backslidden nation and declared, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: Because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: Seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children” (Hosea 4:6).

The people’s rejection of the knowledge and revelation of the LORD moved Him to declare to Israel, “I will also reject thee… thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. 7As they were increased, so they sinned against me: Therefore will I change their glory into shame” (Hosea 4:6–7).

Famine, Infertility, Drunkenness (Hosea 4:10-11)

Rather than turn to the LORD, the people turned to their idols. Therefore, the LORD declared they would suffer for their wickedness. The nation would suffer a food crisis, and the people would be hungry and not have enough to eat (Hosea 4:10a). They pursued sexual depravity and became infertile, leading to a decrease in the population (Hosea 4:10b). As sexual promiscuity and alcohol go hand in hand, the LORD declared that “new wine [would] take away the heart” (Hosea 4:11).

An Admonition (Hosea 4:12-14).

An Admonition (Hosea 4:12-14)

 

The children of Israel were charged with three counts of gross wickedness. They refused to seek the LORD for wisdom and had turned to “their stocks” (idols carved from wood) and spiritually “gone a whoring” (Hosea 4:12). They neglected the LORD’s altar and offered sacrifices upon the mountain peaks and burned incense in the groves (Hosea 4:13). They became a grossly immoral people (Hosea 4:13b-14). The sins of the nation sounded the death knell of Israel.

 

Hosea’s Warning to Judah (Hosea 4:15-19)

 

The prophet’s warnings focused on Judah, the southern kingdom, for a few brief sentences.  Hosea pled with that nation: “Though thou, Israel, play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend” (Hosea 4:15). Israel was backslidden (Hosea 4:16), and Hosea urged the southern kingdom not to go up to “Bethaven” (Hosea 4:15). Bethaven had been a sacred place known as “Bethel” (the “house of God”), but the people in their wickedness had turned it into “a house of evil” (Hosea 4:15).

 

Closing thoughts

 

Hosea’s love and longing to restore Gomer depicted God’s forgiving, unconditional love and compassion for Israel (Hosea 3:4-5). As he sought to find and restore his wife and children to his home, so did the LORD long to restore His people.

 

I close with a reminder to believers that the love the LORD expressed to wayward Israel is the love He has for His church and has commanded a husband to have for his wife.

 

“Husbands, love your wives, even as [to the same degree] Christ also loved [sacrificially loved] the church, and gave himself for it.” (Ephesians 5:25)

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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