Week 2: Hosea’s Family, Hosea 1:1-3:5

This week we dove straight into Hosea. Just like diving into a cold pool on a hot summer day, it was both shocking and refreshing.

Hosea was instructed by God to marry a “wife of whoredom” to illustrate to Israel (and Judah) in shocking fashion the depth of their national depravity and the abomination of their spiritual adultery. If his marriage wasn’t enough, the names God had him give to his children would provide repeated opportunities to reiterate the message God had for his wayward people.

“Hosea! Long time no see. Are these your children?”

“Why yes, they are. Allow me to introduce Bloodshed, No Mercy (we call her Unloved, for short), and Not My People (nicknamed, Not Mine).”

“Um, okaaay…”

Though these first three chapters are shocking, we also found the blessed refreshment of the gospel in at least three places, and that’s what I want to focus on for our summary today. Continue reading “Week 2: Hosea’s Family, Hosea 1:1-3:5”

Week 1: Overview Summary

Our first class for the Hosea Bible study has met at long last and it was such a joy to see so many women —may I say, Old and New?— in attendance! Familiar faces, new faces, each and every one of you are so welcome and such a blessing. I know I speak for both Jana and myself when I say that we anticipate sweet blessings to come from the Lord as we gather each week for the study of his word. Continue reading “Week 1: Overview Summary”

Prepare For Hosea!

Happy Monday, Dear Ones! We are only two and a half weeks out from our first classes for the study of Hosea. I wanted to send out a couple of reminders and a bit of instruction so that we are all prepared for our first class on  Wednesday, September 4th (10 am & 6:30 pm).

First and foremost— if you have not yet signed up online, please do! It’s as simple as clicking HERE.

Next— Be sure to pick up your study book in the church office. There is no sign-up sheet in the office, just get your book so that you can prepare for our first class. You may pay when you pick up your book or when you come to class ($9 apiece), whichever works best for you.

How do you prepare, you ask?

I’m glad you asked! To prepare for our first class, simply read and complete Week 1: Overview, (pages 7-10) in your study book. How simple is that?

Finally, last week Dr. Chuck Betters (husband to Sharon, our conference speaker for Flourish, 2020) wrote a beautiful overview of Hosea for Daily Treasures, Sharon’s daily online devotional. I was certainly blessed to read it, and I’m sharing it here in hopes that you too will be blessed. If you haven’t discovered this gem of a devotional, I highly recommend it. You may subscribe by clicking HERE.

 

The Marriage From Hell Made in Heaven

When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the LORD. Hosea 1:2

Reading the Prophets in the Old Testament can become painful if you are looking for hope and the sentimentalism of a God of love and mercy. As I began studies in Hosea I was quickly reminded at how the love of God can get lost in the muck and mire of His judgments upon a nation steeped in idolatry. Chapter after chapter reverberates with the message that God is ticked at the nation of Israel that had bowed its knee to Baal. Verse after verse, like a dripping faucet, warns of the wrath of God where He says in essence, “Because you have done that, I will do this.” Is there anything in this little book of Hosea that gives hope?

Hosea was a northern prophet, where he spent anywhere from 30 to 50 years preaching to a nation that only had a short time to live. In fact, at the close of Hosea’s ministry, Assyria invaded Israel and deported most of them and then intermarried with the rest to dilute any vestiges of Israel’s monotheism. They became the Samaritans of the New Testament, despised by the Jews, considered to be half-breeds and called “the dogs”.

Hosea’s Israel can be described as Charles Dickens did in “The Tale of Two Cities” – It was the best of times… it was the worst of times. They had a booming economy, a powerful army and had secured many of the lands around them. But, they had a deadly flaw – they sought to merge their faith in Yahweh with the religions of their neighbors who worshipped Baal, the nature god who promised them good crops, bountiful food supplies and material prosperity. Israel bought into that lie and eventually melted into the slime of idolatry.

In order to preach his message, Hosea was instructed by God to become a living sermon illustration of God’s infinite love by marrying a whore named Gomer. This woman would devastate Hosea’s life over and over again by rejecting his love and returning to her role as a sacred prostitute. She and Hosea conceived one child together while she and other men conceived two others. The names she gave them serves as a backdrop to the rest of the book, a son named “God will judge,” a daughter named, “no mercy,” and a son named “not my people”. Talk about depressing.

Loose living abounded. We read of drunkenness (Hosea 7:3-7), armed robbery, adultery and murder. The leadership of the nation was corrupt (Hosea 4:1-2, 5:1-2, 6:6, 6:9, 7:1, 7:6-7). The underlying cause of all of this was corrupt religion. People worshipped the Baals. This meant sexual deviance cloaked the worship of Yahweh. They consulted spirits (Hosea 4:12) and imbibed drugs. The people must repent and turn to God (Hosea 6:1-6), said Hosea, and live in mercy and righteousness (Hosea 6:6). But they will never do so voluntarily. They must be chastised and then there will be a way for their returning and finding salvation (Hosea 1:16, 3:5, 3:14).

The age was characterized by violent crime, religious compromise and hypocrisy, ungodly alliances with heathen nations, open acceptance of sexual sin that called evil good and good evil, social injustice, political division and selfish arrogance that marked them as a nation in love with idolatry, and a social injustice where the faithful were the persecuted ones.

Can you see the parallels to our own nation today? How have we allowed the pagan culture around us via spiritual osmosis to slip into our churches? This is a warning to believers today. We must never allow the teachings of the Bible to pass through our minds without allowing them to change our lives. Otherwise, if we permit these teachings to hit against our hearts but not to change our lives, we develop spiritual calluses. Our end will be as inevitable as Israel’s. Our enemy — Satan — would soon sweep into our lives and entangle us in the chains of this world. As was true for Israel, we have a way of escape. It is through repentance and the applying of God’s Word to our lives.

There is so much more to this little book that is rich with repeated judgment warnings, but even greater is the powerful description of God’s broken heart and unending love for His people.

PRAYER

Oh Lord, may we learn from those who came before us, may we experience Your unending love for us even when we repent of those times we choose sin over Your righteousness.

Originally posted at Daily Treasures August 13, 2019

Blessings to each and every one of you.

Coming Attractions!

Beginning September 4, the Wednesday (morning and evening) women’s Bible study will embark on a study of the book of Hosea, using the 12-week study written by Lydia Brownback for the Knowing The Bible series of studies. This study will be co-led by Jana Henry and Barbaranne Kelly.

Why did we choose Hosea? We have been studying New Testament epistles for the past few years, and were wanting to return to the Old Testament. We firmly believe that “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the [wo]man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (1 Tim 3:16-17). In seeking to balance our diet of scripture studies, we are turning to this Old Testament prophet.

But, why Hosea? When there are so many Old Testament books from which to choose, why this one specifically? Last year we studied 1 John, which is saturated with the love of God. In choosing Hosea, we will still be studying the love of God: a love which relentlessly pursues its beloved. Hosea highlights the holiness and depth of God’s love for his people. But Hosea also demonstrates how very unlovable God’s people are when he first sets his love on them—on us. “In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us…” (1 John 4:10). We will learn how prone our hearts are to wander from our loving God and to seek satisfaction in spiritual adultery. And yet, even though we wander, God pursues us with holy, redemptive, covenant love, again and again… and again. Though we wander from God, he does not abandon us!

And I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals
    when she burned offerings to them
and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry,
    and went after her lovers
    and forgot me, declares the Lord.

Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.
And there I will give her her vineyards
and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.

(Hosea 2:13-15, bold print mine)

We look forward to this study and hope you will consider joining us. Since we are using a published study, we must order the books for each of you who register. Please register soon (click here to register), so that we can be sure to have enough books for everyone!