Learning from Hosea
1:1-3:5 - ‘Hosea’ means ‘salvation’. Married to ‘an adulterous wife’, Hosea spoke with great compassion to ‘the land’ which was ‘guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord’ (1:2). He brought God’s Word of love to the people: ‘I will show My love to the one I called, “Not My loved one”’. He spoke to them of the life-changing power of God’s love: ‘I will say to those called, “Not My people”, and they will say, “You are My God”’ (2:23). He brought a Word of hope to God’s people: ‘The Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God... They will come trembling to the Lord and to His blessings in the last days’ (3:5). His words of hope point us to our Saviour, Jesus Christ - ‘In these last days, God has spoken to us by His Son’ (Hebrews 1:2).
4:1-5:14 - We read here of Israel’s rebellion against God: ‘A spirit of prostitution leads them astray. They are unfaithful to their God... A spirit of prostitution is in their heart. They do not acknowledge the Lord’ (4:12; 5:4). God is not pleased with them. He speaks His Word of ‘judgment against’ them (5:1). We must look closely at our lives. What kind of people are we becoming? Are we becoming ‘slaves of sin’? God is calling us to be changed by His love and power: ‘Now that you have been set free from sin, and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap is holiness, and the result is eternal life’ (Romans 6:16,22). Let His love show you that He has not abandoned you because of your sin. Let His power assure you that He can make you ‘a new person’ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
5:15-7:16 - We are to leave the old way of sinful disobedience and follow the new way of faith and obedience: ‘Come, let us return to the Lord... Let us press on to know the Lord’. As we return to the Lord, pressing on to know Him, His blessing returns to us. He leads us in the way of fruitfulness: ‘He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth’ (6:1,3). We must not be like those who react to God’s Word with ‘pride’: ‘They do not return to the Lord their God’. God longs to ‘redeem’ them, yet they ‘rebel against’ Him: ‘They do not turn to the Most High God’ (7:10,13,16). Our ‘love’ for God is not to be ‘like the early dew that disappears’. Let us ‘acknowledge our guilt and seek His face’. Let us love Him with a ‘steadfast love’ (5:15; 6:4,6).
8:1-9:17 - ‘Israel’ had ‘forgotten’ and ‘forsaken’ the Lord (8:14). We have not remembered the Lord. We have turned away from Him. We have forgotten Him. We have been ‘unfaithful’ to Him. This is the sad story of our life - a story of forgetting and forsaking the Lord. God is very different from us. He has not forgotten us. He has not forsaken us. He has ‘remembered’ us. He has been ‘faithful’ to us. He has shown us His ‘salvation’ (Psalm 98:3). How do we know that God remembers us? How do we know that God is faithful to us? - ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’; ‘While we were still sinners, Christ died for us’ (1 Timothy 1:15; Romans 5:8). ‘If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot be false to Himself’ (2 Timothy 2:13).
10:1-12:9 - God’s love for us is much greater than our love for Him. So often, we are like ‘Israel’ - ‘they did not fear the Lord’. Our love for God grows weak. His love for us remains strong. He refuses to give up on us. We wander away from the Lord. He calls us back to Himself - ‘It is time to seek the Lord’; ‘You must return to your God’ (10:3,12; 11:1,8; 12:6). When we return to the Lord, He leads us in the way of His ‘love’. He teaches us to ‘walk in the Spirit’. He produces in us ‘the fruit of the Spirit’ (10:1; 11:3-4; Galatians 5:16-18,22-25). God will help us to grow strong in our love for Him - ‘the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We must ‘not quench the Spirit’. We must ‘not grieve the Holy Spirit of God’ (Romans 8:26; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; Ephesians 4:30).
12:10-14:9 - The Lord loves us. He invites us to come to ‘know’ Him as our ‘Saviour’. We are to ‘return’ to Him and receive the blessings of His salvation. He ‘forgives all our sins’. He leads us in the way of ‘fruitfulness’. He gives us eternal life - ‘I will ransom them from the power of the grave. I will redeem them from death ...’ (13:4,14; 14:1-2,4,8). The call to receive salvation from the Lord is a call to choose which way we will live. We must choose to be ‘righteous’ rather than ‘rebellious’. We are to acknowledge that ‘the ways of the Lord are right’. We are to choose the way of ‘the righteous’ who ‘walk in the Lord’s ways’. We are to reject the way of ‘the rebellious’ who ‘stumble over the Lord’s ways’. Let us walk in the light of the Lord’ (14:9; Isaiah 2:5).