Scripture reading – Hosea 13; Hosea 14


Click on this link to translate this Bible study into Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, German, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Our study of Hosea concludes with today’s Scripture reading, Hosea 13 and 14. The LORD used the prophet Hosea’s personal life to illustrate His love for wayward Israel. In Hosea 1, the prophet was commanded to take Gomer, a harlot, to be his wife. Like Israel, who was estranged from the LORD, Hosea’s wife left him and their sons and daughter for other men (Hosea 2). The LORD then commanded the prophet to go, seek, and entreat his wife to leave her unfaithful ways (Hosea 3:1). When he found her, Gomer was for sale in a slave market. Nevertheless, Hosea redeemed her (Hosea 3:2), brought her home, and restored her as his wife and the mother of their children (Hosea 3:3).

Hosea’s love for Gomer was a living portrait of the LORD’s unfailing love for Israel. Through the prophet’s example, the LORD taught His people that He was longsuffering and merciful toward wayward Israel. Like a father who loves a prodigal, the LORD’s love for His people never failed despite their adulterous ways.

the prophet was commanded to take Gomer, a harlot

The LORD Reproved Israel (Hosea 13:1-4)

“Ephraim” (the largest and most influential of the northern tribes of Israel) continued in sin and led the nation to worship Baal and sacrifice to images and idols (Hosea 13:1-2).  Refusing to heed the prophets’ warnings, the people sinned “more and more” and encouraged their brethren to kiss and worship Jeroboam’s golden calves (Hosea 13:2).

Therefore, warned Hosea, Israel would disappear “as the early dew that passeth away” (Hosea 13:3a). Like chaff blown by the wind and smoke diffused from a chimney, Israel would be scattered abroad among the nations (Hosea 13:3).


The LORD Loved Israel (Hosea 13:5-6)

Yet, the LORD loved Israel and was jealous to be their God (Hosea 13:4a). Israel’s leaders, however, turned to Egypt for help, and the LORD reminded the nation He alone could be their Savior (Hosea 13:4b). His love for His chosen people was ceaseless. The LORD knew them in the wilderness and filled their pastures (Hosea 13:5-6a). Yet, they became proud and forgot Him (Hosea 13:6a).


The LORD Determined to Judge Israel (Hosea 13:7-8)

God’s judgment would come upon the nation swiftly like a lion and a leopard. Israel’s enemy (Assyria) would come suddenly and pounce upon them as prey (Hosea 13:7). Like an angry mother bear, the people would be ravaged for their sins and devoured like a lion (Hosea 13:8).


Israel’s Self-destructive Ways (Hosea 13:9-13)

With the admonition, “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself,” the LORD reminded the people He was their only hope (Hosea 13:9). He was to be Israel’s king, but the people rejected Him and demanded to have a king like the other nations (Hosea 13:10; 1 Samuel 8). Therefore, the LORD had given the nation what it demanded, but now, in His wrath, their king was taken away (Hosea 13:11)

Hosea warned that the sins of Ephraim were recorded, and those done in secret were known to the LORD (Hosea 13:12). The people were foolish and rejected the opportunity to repent. Like a mother in labor whose son cannot be born, they would suffer extreme pain and sorrow (Hosea 13:13).

Samaria, the capital city of Israel, would be destroyed

The LORD Promised to Deliver Israel (Hosea 13:14-16) 

Though all Israel would bear God’s judgment, the LORD promised a believing remnant would be ransomed and redeemed (Hosea 13:14). Those who rejected Him would see His judgment (Hosea 13:15). The east wind (i.e., Assyria) would “come up from the wilderness” (Hosea 13:15), and the land would dry up, and the wealth of the nation would be spoiled (Hosea 13:15).

Samaria, the capital city of Israel, would be destroyed, and none were spared. Hosea foretold that Israel’s enemy would not spare the infants, and the “women with child shall be ripped up” (Hosea 13:16).

The stage was set for Hosea’s final appeal to Israel. Unless the people confessed their wickedness and repented, all was lost.


Hosea 14


The Final Appeal (Hosea 14:1-7)

Hosea 14 recorded the prophet’s last invitation to that rebellious nation: “O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity” (Hosea 14:1). Though the people had broken covenant with Him, the LORD never forsook Israel, nor forgot His covenant with them. Urging the people to repent and turn to the LORD, Hosea appealed: “Take with you words [confess], and turn [repent] to the Lord: Say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously” (Hosea 14:2).

Knowing only the LORD could save Israel from the devastating judgment he had foretold, Hosea warned, “Asshur [Assyria] shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses [used in war]: Neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: For in thee the fatherless findeth mercy” (Hosea 14:3).

Like Hosea restored his unfaithful wife, the LORD spoke directly to Israel and invited the people to return to Him. Expressing His longing to forgive the people of their sins and restore them, we read, “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him” (Hosea 14:4).

What a wonderful lesson in God’s unfailing love for sinners! Not only was He longing to restore Israel, but He promised He would Heal, Love, Forgive, and Revive them (Hosea 14:5). He longed to Restore the beauty of the nation (Hosea 14:6), secure them “under His shadow” (Hosea 14:7); and make the nation Fruitful again (Hosea 14:7b).


A Spiritual Crossroads (Hosea 14:8)

For Ephraim (and the whole of Israel), the nation was at a spiritual crossroads. If they repented of their sins, they would be restored and would declare, “What have I to do any more with idols?” (Hosea 14:8a) Knowing the LORD’s offer of forgiveness, and that His promises never fail, Hosea promised, the people no longer desire their idols. They would be like an evergreen tree and need nothing (Hosea 14:8).

A Final Appeal (Hosea 14:9)

A Final Appeal (Hosea 14:9)

Having presented his closing invitation to Israel, it was time for the people to decide. Hosea proposed two questions: “Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? Prudent, and he shall know them?” (Hosea 14:9a). The wise should have understood their spiritual dilemma. Indeed, the prudent would repent (Hosea 14:9a).

If the people confessed their sins and turned from idols, they would know “the ways [laws and commandments]of the Lord are right [just], and the just shall walk in them [laws and commandments] (Hosea 14:9b). If they continued in their sins, Hosea warned: “the transgressors shall fall [be destroyed] therein” (Hosea 14:9c).


Closing thoughts –

Hosea’s concluding phrase is haunting, for “the way of transgressors is hard” (Proverbs 13:15). The LORD had been patient, and He longed not only to forgive Israel for her sins but to heal and restore her beauty and glory. Tragically, that nation rejected the prophet’s message, refused to repent, and was destroyed.

Reflecting on history, I fear for our world and my nation. I know that the LORD is longsuffering, gracious, and forgiving; however, He is also holy and just. God will not tolerate a nation’s sins forever. Let us learn from Israel’s history the grave consequences of sin as individuals, families, churches, and a nation. I fear few realize God’s hatred for sin and His unfailing, unconditional love for sinners (Romans 5:8). If they did, would they not be among those who cry out like the prodigal, “I have sinned, against heaven” (Luke 15:18, 21).

I close with Solomon’s proverb: “Good understanding [prudence; insight; discretion] giveth [earns] favour [grace; kindness]: but the way [path; course; journey] of transgressors is hard [path; course; journey](Proverbs 13:15).

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

* You can subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals by entering your name and email address at the bottom of today’s devotion.

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization. Your donation is welcome and supports the worldwide ministry outreach of