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#845

Anxiety never robs tomorrow of its sorrow - it only saps today of its strength.

HOSEA 1

This very tender-hearted prophet often cries, not because of his own sins, but Israel's. This book brings before us a picture of a man (God), who has an unfaithful wife (Israel) who is put away for adultery, but later is to be brought back, purified and made the centre of the new earth. The book can be divided into three sections. The first, 1:1 to end of chapter 3. God telling His purposes. The second, 4:1 to 13:8... Messages to the sinful people of Israel, and third, 13:9 to the end... the final blessings and glory of Israel on this earth. Wonderful? Wonderful! You'll find four names in the 1st and 2nd chapters. Their meanings are "Lo-Ammi" 1:9, "Not my people;" "Ammi" 2:1 "My people", "Lo-Ruhamah" l:6, "Not having obtained mercy", and "Ruhamah" "Having obtained mercy".

You'll notice the negative one is first in both cases because Israel deserved nothing but punishment which they will get, but afterwards they will be blessed and happy.

Hosea speaks of the love of God more than the righteousness of God. This makes the warnings to Israel even more terrible. But yet a morning of blessing is promised after the dark night. God uses Hosea in a very striking way.

Hos 1:2-4 Hosea is told by God to live out a parable. The reason being that Israel was very unfaithful to God. Jer. 3:14 tells us that God Himself uses a parable about Israel. So Hosea is used by God to shock the people. You will see that Israel itself is called by the same name as the son that is born to Hosea (verse 11). Most of the prophets had to suffer dreadful things so that their message from God would be listened to.

Hos 1:5 The son's name is a name of a place in Israel today. A reminder that God is still going to punish Israel.

Hos 1:6-7 The daughter's name means "not having obtained mercy". This refers to the separated ten tribes called "the house of Israel". They were swept away into captivity and have never been heard of since. But God is going to collect them all up again. "The house of Judah" was going to be kept by God. (It is Judah which has been back in the land of Israel since May 14, l948).

Hos 1:8-9 But God had, at that time, completely set aside Judah also.

Hos 1:10-11 A view into the yet future... all completely restored and blessed. Not because of themselves, but because the Lord Jesus has taken their punishment since Hosea's time.

#846

If we center our attention and affection on Jesus Christ, we will walk and work together. If we focus on ourselves, we will cause strife and division.

HOSEA 2

Hos 2:1-13 The Lord speaks to Israel as if she were His wife who had become unfaithful to Him. We could say "where sin abounded..." (see Romans 5:20).

Hos 2:5 Israel thought that she received her blessings from the false gods to which she had turned.

Hos 2:6-13 God has had to put Israel through terrible days since that time to make them realize that it was not the false gods who were watching over her, but God Himself.

Hos 2:14-23 Here we can say "grace did much more abound" Romans 5:20. God always has His eye on the day when He will bless Israel in the yet future. These verses are beautiful to read with this in mind. Every punishment was needed to cause Israel to look up to the Lord.

#847

The highest point of moral dignity in Abraham was this: that he was a stranger in the earth.

HOSEA 3

Israel has experienced this to the full. Since the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus, Israel has wandered as a stranger over this earth, being pushed from country to country unwanted. (It is only in the last 50 years that the Jews have been accepted in the countries in which they have wandered.) This chapter ends the first section of the book.

#848

It is simplicity that brings us into the presence of God.

HOSEA 4

From here to end of the Book, God speaks to the people and pleads with them to turn back to God.

Hos 4:1-14 In this chapter, God shows that every class of people in Israel had sinned. Prophet, priest, king, everyone. Adultery and wine took all their understanding away.

Hos 4:15-19 A special warning to Judah not to follow the other ten tribes of Israel. And this is just what she did.

Hos 4:17 It is a terrible thing when God leaves us alone. Sometimes when we are determined to have our own way, He does (for a while).

#849

We cannot have good practice unless we have good doctrine.

HOSEA 5

Hos 5:1 Hosea speaks to the priests and to the people. He shows them that all their own sins have brought the troubles. (A very important lesson for believers to learn. Not the sins we did before we were saved, but those things which we are going on with now. Remember that doctrinal sins are even more serious than moral sins).

Hos 5:15 Again that burst of sunlight, "till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face".

#850

In the bread we see unity; in the cup, fullness of blessing - the price paid to redeem us.

HOSEA 6

Hosea increases his tender pleadings to return to the Lord.

Hos 6:3 Beautiful promise. (And for us too). "Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord". If we all obey the Word of God, then we will all understand alike, and think alike. The Spirit of God cannot teach one believer one thing and teach another believer something opposite. Adultery or whoredom in Israel's time, teaches us spiritually what unfaithfulness to the Lord is. To be disobeying the Lord doctrinally today is like committing adultery in those times. And the longer we continue in it, the harder our heart gets.

#851

There is no higher privilege on earth than to be at the Lord's Table, remembering His Person and His work (death).

HOSEA 7

This is a chapter full of spiritual instructions for the believer in the Lord Jesus today.

Hos 7:2 These people were so careless that they could not realize that God saw everything that was in their heart!

Hos 7:9 Only slowly did they slip away from the Lord. (Were you once happy when you first came to know the Lord as your Saviour? And do you now have no strength to resist temptation? Read this verse carefully).

Hos 7:10-14 Here is our answer. Come back to the Lord, and confess the sins we are going on with. Get into God's presence alone. If we don't, we won't realize what we are really going on with. We may even think we are being good and living clean moral lives. That is good, but what about our religious associations? Does Scripture condemn what we are going on with? It is not what we say in "Chapter-A-Day", but what God says, to which each one of us is going to have to give account to God.

#852

If we don't enjoy the truth we're going to slip away and be taken captive by the enemy. If we don't enjoy the truth we don't have it.

HOSEA 8

He continues to plead with the people. (Much instruction is here for us too.)

Hos 8:2 Do we say "Yes I know God"? And all the time the Lord sees our thoughts. (This is why so many believers have little peace in their heart).

Hos 8:4 Idols are the cause of our weakness. Anything which comes between the Lord and us is an idol.

Hos 8:11 Notice the words "altars to sin". This plainly tells us that this is not immorality, but religious disobedience. An altar was for worship. Everything was in the name of religion.

Hos 8:12 They were so careless that they did not understand. (To disobey the Lord in religious things is even worse than immorality, because it is sin against the Lord Himself!) People decide the seriousness of sin by how it affects other people. God decides the seriousness of sin by how it affects Christ.

Hos 8:14 People may build many buildings to come to worship God, as they say, but notice what God says. It is the heart that God wants. In these chapters, remember that when Ephraim is spoken of it is referring to the 10 separated tribes. When it is Israel, it is all the 12 tribes, seen as one. When it is Judah, it is just Judah and Benjamin (the two which are back in the land now).

#853

We are in the world to represent Christ, and we can do that by acting Christlike in all our social connections.

HOSEA 9

More plain talk. (Are we applying these things spiritually to ourselves? We should). They did not listen to all these pleadings. Are we? Do we go on with things which we know do not please the Lord? Do we pray for a tender conscience? If we do not our conscience becomes hardened, as it did in these people.

#854

I am to respect the conscience of another person, but another man's conscience is not to guide me.

HOSEA 10

Hos 10:1 Back to religious evil. The more riches they had, the more religious evil!

Hos 10:2 Divided hearts! How many believers there are today with divided hearts!

Hos 10:13 Note the plowing and the reaping! May the Lord open our own eyes to see what is weakening our life. Only sin weakens the believer.

#855

When we allow unholiness among us, we lose ground on doctrine. First the gold goes, then the silver, then the brass.

HOSEA 11

Beautiful chapter. God now reminds them that He is not a man. He has the heart of God. Though they didn't love Him, He remained the same! (This is the language which breaks our hearts sometimes. We believers often slip away from the Lord. With His gentle love He draws us back. In the 23rd Psalm, He says "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters". So we would think that there is no danger for us, but what does He say next? "He restoreth my soul". Just think about that! When everything is going well, this often is when we get out of communion with the Lord).

Hos 11:10-11 When they start to tremble, they have come to the end of themselves. (We can thank the Lord that He lets us come to the end of ourselves, and then we are ready to be restored).

#856

Every sacrifice has to have salt: devotion.

HOSEA 12

This is interesting. God would certainly have to punish them for their sins, but He reminds them of another time long before. The time of Jacob, when he had wrestled with the angel of the Lord, and Jacob had won. And the angel was the Lord Himself! Jacob had succeeded in turning away the Lord's anger and the Lord had told Jacob His name.

"Now", says the Lord to these people "you do the same. Turn back to Me. Wait for Me. I don't change". Just think of the mercy of the Lord toward Israel in spite of everything He said to them, they just brushed Him aside. And yet the day is going to come when He is going to make them the centre of the whole world! Does this make you thank the Lord for what He has done for you? Or are we still careless? Do we drift back to the worldly pleasures and entertainments? May the Lord touch our hearts.

#857

If we have no evangelistic desire, we have not matured in what it means to be a Christian.

HOSEA 13

These last two chapters are very beautiful. They give us a little view of God.

Hos 13:1-5 God must announce the punishment, yet in doing it, He remembers what He is. (We might put it like that).

Hos 13:6-8 Punishment was necessary.

Hos 13:9-10 But back the Lord comes to love and grace.

Hos 13:11-13 Punishment must be given because sin was there.

Hos 13:14 Notice the words, "I will" (future). But turn to 1 Corinthians 15:54 "Death is swallowed up" There it is in the past tense. Because the cross of Christ has come between these verses.

Hos 13:15-16 God would have to punish.

#858

Knowing the apostles' doctrine and practicing it is the apostles' fellowship.

HOSEA 14

Hos 14:1-3 He loves Israel so much that He even tells them what to say to Him so that He might be able to bless them!

Hos 14:4 His love bursts out. God is holy. God is love. Holiness demands punishment. But God's love in the end shall overcome. Do you know why? Because He punished His Son, the Lord Jesus instead of Israel. We hope you have been helped by this book. May our conscience be touched by its reading.

 

by Norman Berry - 1911-2001
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