Week 7, No Worship in a Foreign Land, Hosea 9:1-9

The first nine verses of Hosea chapter 9 are hard to read. The prophet Hosea marches into a festal celebration where the people of Israel are enjoying (apparently) the Feast of Tabernacles—or rather, their version of the feast which had merged with the pagan harvest rituals and therefore took place on threshing floors rather than with booths set up at the temple. They are partying, pouring out drink offerings to the LORD, bringing sacrifices, and eating the bread baked from the firstfruits of the grain harvest, when Hosea walks in and rains on their parade with his pronouncement of judgement: Continue reading “Week 7, No Worship in a Foreign Land, Hosea 9:1-9”

Week 6: Israel’s Hypocrisy, Hosea 8:1-14

This week in our study of Hosea chapter 8, we continue learning the cost of Israel’s iniquities. Their many sins in breaking God’s covenant and rebelling against his law, which included idolatry, alliances with pagan nations, hypocrisy in worship, and self-reliance, trace directly to the root of forgetting the God who made them (8:14). Therefore the God to whom they should have turned for protection has decreed their demise. Instead of crying out to the LORD who covenanted to be their refuge, they have turned to the neighboring nations seeking security, employing worldly solutions to their degenerating foreign affairs. Meanwhile, Assyria is circling like a vulture overhead and will soon swoop down upon them with unrelenting destruction (8:1).

And yet it is evident that the Israelites believed that they were on good terms with God. Appealing to him that, “My God, we—Israel—know you” (8:2). But they have “spurned the good” (8:3), rejecting (with disdain and contempt) the covenant and laws by which he made himself known to them and called them to walk in his ways as his own people. They are pursuing relationship with their Creator not on his terms, but their own. By forsaking their exclusive calling to be set apart from the nations and live according to God’s holy laws, they made a mockery of their faithless worship of him. Continue reading “Week 6: Israel’s Hypocrisy, Hosea 8:1-14”

Hosea Week 5: Transgressors of the Covenant, Hosea 6:4-7:16

This week’s passage not only covered a lot of ground, but it was not easy ground to walk through. I have promised myself and you that I will keep these summaries brief, and so I can’t touch on everything we discussed. But in this lesson we covered a topic so fundamental to our understanding of our need for the gospel, that it’s worth a closer look. When God, through Hosea, told Israel that like Adam, they have transgressed the covenant (6:7), he was going to the heart of the reason for their unfaithfulness. The reason why they failed to press in to know the LORD and to return his steadfast love is because Adam broke covenant with God, therefore they, and all humanity—in Adam—are covenant breakers. Continue reading “Hosea Week 5: Transgressors of the Covenant, Hosea 6:4-7:16”

Hosea Week 4: Punishment Coming, Hosea 5:1-6:3

In last week’s lesson we saw that God was calling Israel to court, as it were, leveling against them a lawsuit for their unfaithfulness. His chief accusation in chapter 4 was against the priests who had neglected their positions as the teachers and preachers of God’s word, thus leaving the people to perish without the knowledge of God. He now continues his accusations, indicting the rest of the cultural leadership of society for leading the people astray into the pagan worship practices of the surrounding nations. The people of Israel had forgotten their knowledge of God, nevertheless, God knows them through and through, from their deeds to their hearts. Continue reading “Hosea Week 4: Punishment Coming, Hosea 5:1-6:3”