Week 12, Hosea Summary and Conclusion

How can I summarize this study of the book of Hosea? We spent 12 weeks mining the treasures of this book, and I still feel like there’s so much that we didn’t tap, so much still just out of reach.

We know that God is love. Last year we studied—deeply—the book of 1 John, in which we learned of the great love of God that moved him to give his one and only Son to save sinners and make them his children. If we study the ‘math’ of redemption long enough, at some point, it all adds up. We are sinners. Sinners cannot earn salvation. But, God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). So Jesus came, lived a perfect life, paid for our sins by his death on the cross—the death we deserved—and all who believe in him by faith are forgiven their sins, clothed in his righteousness, and receive eternal life. This is the great and glorious truth of the gospel: the Great Exchange. When we grasp it, it makes sense, in a way. By God’s great love and mercy, sinners are saved.

But in Hosea we see the other side of the equation, and suddenly, our math is thrown all out of whack. Continue reading “Week 12, Hosea Summary and Conclusion”

Hosea Week 11: Final Appeal

Oh, sisters, how refreshing it is to come at last to the final chapter of our study. Not because it means that our time is drawing to a close, no, but because we see in chapter 14 of Hosea a model of true, mindful, heartfelt repentance and the Lord’s turning from his anger as a result. The outline of true repentance in the first 3 verses are instructive, and the promises of God to his repentant people are precious. These point forward to Christ, because of whom, ultimately, God’s anger is turned from his people, our apostasy is healed, and God therefore loves us freely and blesses us abundantly. Continue reading “Hosea Week 11: Final Appeal”

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”