Showing posts with label Hosea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hosea. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Hosea 14

The final chapter of Hosea is filled with His love and is literally pleading people to return to the LORD. He says the way is wide open, for those who want to travel. The one and only requirement is loyalty to the LORD.

He then shows us the path to find love and forgiveness and thus to embark on a new and transformed life.

Finally, Prophet Hosea calls out to those who are wise:
Hosea 14:9 Who is wise? Let them realize these things.
    Who is discerning? Let them understand.
The ways of the LORD are right;
    the righteous walk in them,
    but the rebellious stumble in them.

Hosea 13

Even though Israel may turn to other gods such as Baal, there is only one God - the LORD. He never blessed Israel when they worshiped Baal; however, that did not stop them. His children forgot them when He took care of them. They acquired the biggest sin of proud.
Hosea 13:6 When I fed them, they were satisfied;
    when they were satisfied, they became proud;
    then they forgot Me.
To bring humility upon them, like a lion, the LORD will tear Israel apart. When LORD departs from them, they will not have any wisdom whatsoever, but endure pain.
Hosea 13:13 Pains as of a woman in childbirth come to him,
    but he is a child without wisdom;
when the time arrives,
    he doesn’t have the sense to come out of the womb.
However, out of His love, LORD will deliver them from their grave.

Hosea 12

Israel is reminded about their father Jacob, how he behaved while in womb of his mother, how he put up a fight with the angel, begged for favor, and learned to lean of the LORD.
Hosea 12:6 But you must return to your God;
    maintain love and justice,
    and wait for your God always.
Ephraim is boastful about it's wealth, and thinks itself to be invincible.
8 Ephraim boasts,
    “I am very rich; I have become wealthy.
With all my wealth they will not find in me
    any iniquity or sin.”
The LORD will bring them low, and can make them live in tents again. Prophets were the ones whom LORD used to deliver and preserve the people of Israel. The current attitude of Israel to reject prophets will incur tLORD’s wrath.

Hosea 11

Prophet Hosea takes us into that infinitely loving parent-heart of the LORD. One who has poured out his/her heart to another will understand the sentiments contained in this chapter. It is impossible to condense the love depicted in this chapter, as LORD narrates those long years of history.
Hosea 11:1 When Israel was a child, I loved him,
    and out of Egypt I called my son.
2 But the more they were called,
    the more they went away from me.
They sacrificed to the Baals
    and they burned incense to images.
Israel has rejected LORD's love, and the nation deserves no mercy. Next, Ephraim is represented as an ungrateful child, responding to God’s loving care with ingratitude.

We get a glimpse into the LORD's mind here - where He says He is the Holy One among us.

LORD is torn between love and justice, neither of which can be denied. He shares His deep pain.
Hosea 11:12 Ephraim has surrounded me with lies,
    Israel with deceit.
And Judah is unruly against God,
    even against the faithful Holy One.

Hosea 10

On the outside, Israel put up a great show of religion. However, inwardly people were too far away from the LORD. As their wealth increased, they built several altars. Their only fear is towards the calf-idol.
Hosea 10:5 The people who live in Samaria fear
    for the calf-idol of Beth Aven.
Its people will mourn over it,
    and so will its idolatrous priests,
those who had rejoiced over its splendor,
    because it is taken from them into exile.
Prophet Hosea calls out to his people to do what is right - to sow righteousness and reap the fruit of unfailing love. He encourages everyone to seek the LORD until He comes and and showers His righteousness on them. However, they have done the opposite, and depended upon their own strength.
Hosea 10:13 But you have planted wickedness,
    you have reaped evil,
    you have eaten the fruit of deception.
Because you have depended on your own strength
    and on your many warriors,
He encouraged them to sow an altogether different crop and reap it's fruits. 

Hosea 9

It is during the grape festival that Hosea mentions Israel not to be jubilant. He tells them, "The days of punishment are coming, the days of reckoning are at hand." For spreading this message, people consider him as a fool and a maniac.

Idolatry and sin has become habitual, and ingrained to a point where LORD has decided to withdraw His love. LORD did not approve them becoming vile by going towards Baal Peor.
Hosea 9:11 Ephraim’s glory will fly away like a bird—
    no birth, no pregnancy, no conception.
12 Even if they rear children,
    I will bereave them of every one.
Woe to them
    when I turn away from them!
Prophet Hosea has become angry at his own people due to their deeds that he prays to the LORD to give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. He prayed for their mercy - fewer the children, few will face the judgement of LORD.

LORD sends wandering and dryness upon Israel.
Hosea 9:16 Ephraim is blighted,
    their root is withered,
    they yield no fruit.
Even if they bear children,
    I will slay their cherished offspring.
People went after Baal Peor and Asherah because they were fertility gods. LORD reminds His people that He is the one who gifts fruits in the wombs. 

Hosea 8

LORD is angry and Israel will be caught up in a whirlwind of His Judgement. They have become wise in their own eyes, and chosen leaders without LORD's consent, on their own accord. Next, they have aroused LORD's anger because of idols - calf of Samaria.

In order to rival Jerusalem as religious center, Israel's kings had set up two of their own religious centers. Calf has been part of pagan culture from the days of Moses.

LORD is not willing to accept their offerings, because Israel has forgotten its maker.
Hosea 8:11 Though Ephraim built many altars for sin offerings,
    these have become altars for sinning.
12 I wrote for them the many things of my law,
    but they regarded them as something foreign.
13 Though they offer sacrifices as gifts to me,
    and though they eat the meat,
    the LORD is not pleased with them.
Now He will remember their wickedness
    and punish their sins:
    They will return to Egypt.
He calls their altars 'altars for sinning'. He rebukes their people as they want their own law, and not His original written law. They want to run their religious institutions their own way and expect LORD to be present in their midst. 

Hosea 7

Prophet Hosea continues to narrate the catalog of evil using vividly pictorial images.

Israel thinks the LORD has forgotten their wickedness. Kings are falling at the hands of conspirators, and Israel's heart is heart is inflamed after idols, like a baker’s oven. Nobody is turning to the LORD.
Hosea 7:5 On the day of the festival of our king
    the princes become inflamed with wine,
    and he joins hands with the mockers.
6 Their hearts are like an oven;
    they approach him with intrigue.
Their passion smolders all night;
    in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire.
7 All of them are hot as an oven;
    they devour their rulers.
All their kings fall,
    and none of them calls on Me.
Next, the biggest sin of Pride - Israel has mixed itself with other people - i.e., foreign powers and foreign gods.

Israel is like a silly dove, who is senseless and easily deceived. They are calling upon Egypt and Assyria for help. They are working against their own LORD.
Hosea 7:15 I trained them and strengthened their arms,
    but they plot evil against Me.

Hosea 6

When people go through sufferings, they return to the LORD. This chapter calls for a return to the LORD.

Let us return to the LORD; as surely as the sun rises, He will appear; He will come to us like rain.

Like a dew, the love of Ephraim will evaporate in the hot sun. LORD wants His people to know Him rather than merely sacrifice to Him.
Hosea 6:6 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
    and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
Priests are like a band of robbers who lie in wait for a man, and carry out their wicked schemes.

In Ephraim, lewdness and harlotry is committed, and Israel is defiled.

Hosea 5

Due to Israel's idolatry, priests are rebuked for the sinful state of the nation. Despite stumbling, the tragedy is that the nation does not respond to LORD's rebuke. They are not paying attention to Him at all.
Hosea 5:4 Their deeds do not permit them
    to return to their God.
A spirit of prostitution is in their heart;
    they do not acknowledge the LORD
People are filled with arrogance and pride. Therefore, LORD has withdrawn from them. When a time comes for them to seek Him they will not be able to find Him.
Hosea 5:6 When they go with their flocks and herds
    to seek the LORD,
they will not find him;
    he has withdrawn Himself from them.
Ephraim is defiled, and comparatively, Judah is little better. On the day of rebuke, Ephraim will be desolate. The LORD will be to Ephraim like a moth, and to Judah like rottenness.

Like a lion, LORD will tear them down and bring destruction, until they seek the LORD’s face in their affliction.

Moth and Lion are mentioned as they bring destruction in different ways. 

Hosea 4

No further mention about Hosea's family is made in the book, but the reader is given a lasting impression.

Hosea then speaks about those charges brought against Israel, including no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgement of God in the land. All the land sees is cursing, lying, murder, stealing and adultery.

LORD's people have been destroyed due to lack of knowledge. The priests who are supposed to lead them are instead misleading them. A host of corrupt Priests are encouraging and misleading people into wickedness. They have utterly failed to let people know the LORD's law. Instead, they have feathered their own nests in the bargain.
Hosea 4:7 The more priests there were,
    the more they sinned against me;
    they exchanged their glorious God for something disgraceful.
8 They feed on the sins of my people
    and relish their wickedness.
Temple prostitution and sexual degradation has reached it's heights under idol worship. The LORD condemns idolatry and harlotry, sometimes conjoined in ritual harlotry.
Hosea 4:14 “I will not punish your daughters
    when they turn to prostitution,
nor your daughters-in-law
    when they commit adultery,
because the men themselves consort with harlots
    and sacrifice with shrine prostitutes -
    a people without understanding will come to ruin!
LORD holds the men accountable. Israel is like a stubborn calf, difficult for LORD to pasture them like lambs in a meadow. 

Hosea 3

LORD commanded Hosea to go back and love his wife Gomer. He said, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”

Raisin cakes were dried grapes offered to those pagan fertility gods, during idol worship, in hopes of a wonderful harvest.

Therefore, Hosea "bought" his wife Gomer for about 6 ounces of silver and 430 pounds of barley. He then put her on probation for a while.
Hosea 3:3 Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you.” 
Israel will be deprived of their idol worship and cultic practices. They will return to seek the LORD. 

Hosea 2

Israel is depicted as an adulterous wife, and her children are the children of harlotry. Hosea's voice, pleading with his unfaithful wife is that of the LORD pleading Israel.

Israel like Gomer, has a broken relationship with LORD - her relationship is dysfunctional. The nation of Israel is worshiping Baal. Due to this, LORD will take away those provisions He provided her. He will punish her by taking away His grain, wine, wool and linen, and her vines and fig trees will be destroyed. Her party days will be over.
Hosea 2:13 I will punish her for the days
    she burned incense to the Baals;
she decked herself with rings and jewelry,
    and went after her lovers,
    but me she forgot,”
declares the LORD.
Then, LORD will take her and speak to her using the tender language of love.
Hosea 2:17 I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips;
    no longer will their names be invoked.
Then He will restore her, returning her vineyards. He then plans to betroth her in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion.. He will then plant her for Himself, in His land. The people of LORD will be restored, and the land will become fruitful.

Hosea 1

The book of Hosea can be broken into two parts:
  • Chapters 1 to 3 - illustrates God’s relationship with Israel.  
  • Chapters 4 to 14 - contains the message LORD spoke directly to the nation of Israel, through the words of Hosea. 
LORD commanded Hosea to marry Gomer, an adulterous woman. This was to illustrate that the land of Israel has committed great harlotry by departing from the LORD.

Harlotry in Hosea has a double meaning - it describes both illicit sexual relationships and religious acts of unfaithfulness.

Hosea dutifully married Gomer and three children are born to her. Hosea is commanded to call the firstborn son Jezreel – referring to 'bloodshed and punishment'. Hosea is told to name the daughter, Lo-Ruhamah - referring to 'no mercy'. The second son is to be called Lo-Ammi which translates, 'not my people'.

However, Judah and Israel will finally be reunified.

My Thoughts
The one thing that separates us from LORD is our sin. LORD is Holy and sin cannot enter His presence. Sinners cannot enter LORD's Kingdom.

Sounds like a 'Catch 22' situation - similar to this: to get a job, one needs work experience, and to have work experience, one needs a job.

For those willing to enter His Everlasting Kingdom, LORD provides a way!