Hosea

Hosea is a hard book for those who love Israel and the Jewish people. It chronicles God’s disappointment with the sin of Israel, and those of us who look forward to the time when Israel will once again be reunited with her God.

So, I will skip over the verses in Hosea that condemn Israel and Judah. History has done enough of that. What I will instead do is look at the verses that speak of the blessing that God will bestow upon her in the last days.

Hosea 1

10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass that, in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.

11 And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint themselves one head, and shall go up from the land; for great shall be the day of Jezreel.

There is something special about Jezreel. It is the valley that lies before Mount (Har) Megiddon – or, Armageddon. Yes, that’s right. Mount Megiddon is the Armageddon, and the battle of Armageddon will be fought in the valley that lies before it – Jezreel.

And yes, great shall be the day of Jezreel. (And no, you really don’t want to be IN that valley when all that happens.)

Hosea 2

14 Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.

15 And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope; and she shall make answer there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.

16 And it shall be at that day, saith Jehovah, that thou shalt call me Ishi, and shalt call me no more Baali.

17 For I will take away the names of the Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be mentioned by their name.

18 And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the birds of the heavens, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the land, and will make them to lie down safely.

19 And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in justice, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.

20 I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness; and thou shalt know Jehovah.

21 And it shall come to pass in that day, I will answer, saith Jehovah, I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth;

22 and the earth shall answer the grain, and the new wine, and the oil; and they shall answer Jezreel.

23 And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them that were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.

It is interesting to see how God has changed the Jewish people while they were in Exile. And then, when God prepared to bring them back to the land, He changed them yet again. The Jew of the diasporah isn’t the Jew of the Land of Israel. God has made a new people unlike what they were before 1948, and it is wonderful to behold.

The time of the mercy of God upon Israel is coming, and reading these verses again really makes me want to jump on a plane and rush back to my home in Jerusalem.

Hosea 3

1 And Jehovah said unto me, Go again, love a woman beloved of her friend, and an adulteress, even as Jehovah loveth the children of Israel, though they turn unto other gods, and love cakes of raisins.

2 So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and a homer of barley, and a half-homer of barley;

3 and I said unto her, Thou shalt abide for me many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be any man’s wife: so will I also be toward thee.

4 For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king, and without prince, and without sacrifice, and without pillar, and without ephod or teraphim:

5 afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek Jehovah their God, and David their king, and shall come with fear unto Jehovah and to his goodness in the latter days.

It is really the last two verses here that are positive. The Children of Israel will wander the world without a nation to call their own, but in the latter days, they will return and seek God, and Jesus, the Son of David, will be their king in the last days.

Hosea 4

1 Hear the word of Jehovah, ye children of Israel; for Jehovah hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor goodness, nor knowledge of God in the land.

2 There is nought but swearing and breaking faith, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery; they break out, and blood toucheth blood.

I am reluctant to touch Hosea, except in these first two verses. These two verses really point to the reason why God threw His people out of Israel – and why God is preparing to judge His church. You can find these two verses writ large in our churches today, and it is shameful. And, just as the Lord did to Israel, He will do to us.

And, it breaks my heart to see it.

We have learned so little from Israel’s example.

Hosea 5

15 I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me earnestly.

Hosea 5 is yet another hard chapter, but it ends with this one verse of hope. In their affliction, they will seek me earnestly.

I believe that this time has come, and poor Israel has been grievously afflicted indeed.

Hosea 6

1 Come, and let us return unto Jehovah; for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.

2 After two days will he revive us: on the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live before him.

3 And let us know, let us follow on to know Jehovah: his going forth is sure as the morning; and he will come unto us as the rain, as the latter rain that watereth the earth.

4 O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the dew that goeth early away.

5 Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth.

6 For I desire goodness, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt-offerings.

7 But they like Adam have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me.

8 Gilead is a city of them that work iniquity; it is stained with blood.

9 And as troops of robbers wait for a man, so the company of priests murder in the way toward Shechem; yea, they have committed lewdness.

10 In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing: there whoredom is found in Ephraim, Israel is defiled.

11 Also, O Judah, there is a harvest appointed for thee, when I bring back the captivity of my people.

Here I get to throw in the whole of Hosea 6. Verse two is interesting, and I am not quite sure how far to interpret this verse.

The Lord says here:

2 After two days will he revive us: on the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live before him.

Is the verse referring maybe to the fact that each day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day? (2 Peter 3:8) Could the Lord be prophesying that Israel would return after two thousand years in the wilderness of the Diaspora?

I think that it could be.

And, during the millenium where we will all stand before the Lord, we will stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters and live before God Himself. And yes, there will be a great harvest when God returns for His people.

Hosea 8:8 Israel is swallowed up: now are they among the nations as a vessel wherein none delighteth.

You can probably guess that there isn’t much said about Israel in chapter seven. Likewise little good is said in chapter 8. However, I would like to point out a fulfillment of prophecy here in verse 8. ‘now are they among the nations as a vessel wherein none delighteth’ This has come true for Israel, having been thrown out of every country that they have lived except for the US and Israel.

All others have cast them out – a vessel wherein none delighteth.

But, I am pleased to say that things have changed. The world may not delight in Israel, but the day is coming when God will delight in Israel.

Hosea 11

8 How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I cast thee off, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboiim? my heart is turned within me, my compassions are kindled together.

9 I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee; and I will not come in wrath.

10 They shall walk after Jehovah, who will roar like a lion; for he will roar, and the children shall come trembling from the west.

11 They shall come trembling as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria; and I will make them to dwell in their houses, saith Jehovah.

12 Ephraim compasseth me about with falsehood, and the house of Israel with deceit; but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the Holy One.

Here is the vision of God’s mercy, and frankly it should be of great comfort to us to see a forgiving God wash away the sins of His people. His mercy never fails and His love is eternal.

May our love and mercy toward others always be so.

And now we come to the final chapter of Hosea.

Hosea 14

1 O Israel, return unto Jehovah thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.

2 Take with you words, and return unto Jehovah: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and accept that which is good: so will we render as bullocks the offering of our lips.

3 Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses; neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods; for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy.

4 I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely; for mine anger is turned away from him.

5 I will be as the dew unto Israel; he shall blossom as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.

6 His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive-tree, and his smell as Lebanon.

7 They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the grain, and blossom as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.

8 Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have answered, and will regard him: I am like a green fir-tree; from me is thy fruit found.

9 Who is wise, that he may understand these things? prudent, that he may know them? for the ways of Jehovah are right, and the just shall walk in them; but transgressors shall fall therein.

And, like all good stories, the ending is far better than the beginning. Yes, the plot was terrible, and the story began with a tempest. But, it ends with the Lord forgiving His people – a God who returns to the promise that He made with His friend Abraham.

May we all be a friend of God, and may His promise always be with us.

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