Vernon McGee Thru The Bible: 28 - HOSEA

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Vernon McGee Thru The Bible: 28 - HOSEA



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Beginning with Hosea and concluding with Malachi, there are twelve short prophecies called the Minor Prophets. They are so called because of the size of the books and not because of their content. The Minor Prophets all deal with the same major issues of the Major Prophets. They are actually quoted by the Major Prophets (Jer_26:18). The writers of the Minor Prophets were exceedingly nationalistic, but they were not isolationists. There were to be no godless alliances with other nations, but they were warned of an isolationism from God. They were extremely patriotic and denounced political and moral corruption. This has given rise to the modern emphasis on the social message of the prophets.



It is a striking fact that there is scant material on the Minor Prophets. A cursory inspection of any religious library will corroborate this. There is a wealth of material on most of the books of the Bible, but when you leave Daniel and pass over to Hosea, it is like going from a fertile valley to a sterile desert.



WRITER: Hosea

All that is known of him is what he reveals in his prophecy.





TIME:



The word of the LORD that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam, the son of Joash, king of Israel. (Hos_1:1)



In spite of the fact that Hosea mentions the four kings of Judah first and the one king of Israel last, he was a prophet to the northern kingdom, as the content of the book reveals. He was contemporary with Amos, another prophet to Israel, and also contemporary with Micah and Isaiah, prophets to Judah. His ministry extended over half a century, and he lived to see the fulfillment of his prophecy in the captivity of Israel.



THEME: “Return unto the LORD.”



Come, and let us return unto the LORD; for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. (Hos_6:1)



“Return” occurs fifteen times.

“Ephraim” occurs thirty-six times.

“Backsliding” occurs three times. Hosea and Jeremiah are the two prophets who talk about backsliding and the cure for it.



What Jeremiah was to Judah at the time of the captivity of the southern kingdom, Hosea was to Israel, over a century before, at the time of the captivity of the northern kingdom. Both spoke out of a heartbreaking personal experience.



PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:



Hosea’s experience was in the home; Jeremiah’s was in the nation. Jeremiah was commanded not to marry; Hosea was commanded to marry a harlot or, as he brutally stated the case, “a wife of whoredoms” (Hos_1:2, KJV). He married Gomer, and she bore him two sons and a daughter. Afterward she played the harlot again, and Hosea put her out of his home. But God commanded him to take again this unfaithful harlot, to bring her back into his home, and to love her again. In effect, God said to Hosea, “Now you are prepared to speak for Me to Israel — Israel has played the harlot, but I love her and will yet bring her back into her homeland.”



OUTLINE:



I. PERSONAL — The prophet and his faithless wife, Gomer,

Chapters 1 — 3



A. Marriage of Hosea and Gomer, the harlot, Chapter 1

B. Gomer proves faithless; Israel proves faithless; God proves faithful, Chapter 2

C. Hosea commanded to take Gomer again, Chapter 3



II. PROPHETIC — The Lord and the faithless nation Israel, Chapters 4 — 14

A. Israel plays the harlot, Chapters 4, 5

1. Israel guilty of lawlessness, immorality, ignorance of God’s Word, and idolatry, Chapter 4

2. Israel turns from God; God turns from Israel; deterioration within follows, Chapter 5

B. Israel (Ephraim) will return in the last days; presently to be judged for current sins, Chapter 6

C. Israel (Ephraim) could escape judgment by turning to God who loves her (key, Hos_11:8), Chapters 7 — 12

1. Israel (silly dove) turns to Egypt and Assyria, Chapter 7

2. Israel turns to golden calves and altars of sin, Chapter 8

3. Israel (backsliding heifer) turns to land productivity; will be driven from the land, Chapters 9, 10

4. Israel turns from God — must be judged; God will not give her up, Chapters 11, 12

D. Israel (Ephraim) will turn from idols to God in the last days, Chapters 13, 14

1. Israel will be judged in the present, Chapter 13

2. Israel will be saved in the future, Chapter 14



COMMENT:



(Also see author’s booklet, “The Greatest Sin in All the World.”)



I. PERSONAL — The prophet and his faithless wife, Gomer,

Chapters 1 — 3



A. Marriage of Hosea and Gomer, the harlot, Chapter 1

Hos_1:1 — See TIME, first page.

Hos_1:2-3 — Hosea gives us more of his personal and intimate experiences than does any other of the prophets. Most are reluctant to intrude their own personal experience into their prophecies, but the experience of Hosea parallels the experience of the nation Israel. He will know how God feels when the nation plays the harlot by departing from the Lord.

Hos_1:4-5 — Jezreel is the name of a city and also of a famous plain, the plain of Armageddon where the last war will end. It has an infamous history. Read 2 Kings 10 for the historical background.

Hos_1:6-9 — Three children are born to Hosea and Gomer:



(1) Jezreel (a son), meaning God will scatter — God will avenge the blood of Jezreel.

(2) Lo-ruhamah (a daughter), meaning unpitied — God will no longer show mercy upon the house of Israel.

(3) Lo-ammi (a son), meaning not my people — Israel was called “my people.” At this time God had repudiated the northern kingdom but not the southern kingdom.



Hos_1:10-11 — The ten tribes in the north are not utterly and finally repudiated because God promises that He will regather both the northern and southern kingdoms under one head.



B. Gomer proves faithless; Israel proves faithless; God proves faithful, Chapter 2

Hos_2:1-3 — Hosea loves Gomer, and when she plays the harlot again, he sends their son and daughter to plead with her to return.

Hos_2:4-7 — Hosea even threatens her if she will not return.

Hos_2:8-23 — Here the record merges into God’s love forj



C. Hosea commanded to take Gomer again, Chapter 3

Hos_3:1-3 — God commands Hosea to break the Mosaic Law:



And the man who committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he who committeth adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. (Lev_20:10)



Gomer should be stoned, not restored. Hosea loves her and hesitates to go that far. Note what the New Testament says:



What? Know ye not that he who is joined to an harlot is one body? For two, saith he, shall be one flesh. (1Co_6:16)



Hos_3:4-5 — The application is for the nation Israel. Israel is to be restored, though she is no better than a harlot.



This (Hos_3:4) is one prophecy that has had continual fulfillment for over 1900 years:



“Without a king” since the Davidic line ended with Zedekiah (2500 years). They rejected Jesus as king.

“Without a prince” — they have no one to succeed to the throne. If the Lord Jesus Christ is not their Messiah, they have none and have no prospect for one.

“Without a sacrifice” — the temple was destroyed in A.D. 70, and there has been no sacrifice since then.

“Without an image” means “without pillars.”

“Without an ephod” — the ephod was the sacred garment worn by the high priest.

“Without teraphim” — teraphim were small images or good luck charms.

The people of Israel will not only return to the land, but they will seek the Lord their God (Hos_3:5). This they have not yet done.

“Latter days” refer to the latter days of Israel, after the church has been removed by the Rapture.



II. PROPHETIC — The Lord and the faithless nation Israel,

Chapters 4 — 14



A. Israel plays the harlot, Chapters 4, 5

1. Israel guilty of lawlessness, immorality, ignorance of God’s Word, and idolatry, Chapter 4

Now the private life of Hosea fades into the background, and the emphasis is upon the Lord and Israel.

Hos_4:1 — The Lord confronts Israel with the fact that they have no knowledge of God.

Hos_4:2 — The Lord spells out their specific sins; they are breaking the Ten Commandments.

Hos_4:3-5 — Judgment will be meted out to the people and the land.

Hos_4:6-11 — Israel’s ignorance of the Word of God leads to their destruction. They turn from God to sin, which He must judge.

“Either the Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible.”

Hos_4:12-15 — They turn to idolatry, which God must judge. Idolatry leads to immorality.

Hos_4:16 — Israel is guilty of backsliding. It is mentioned three times in the remainder of the book. Jeremiah and Hosea are the two prophets who emphasize the backsliding of God’s people. Hosea was the prophet to the northern kingdom at the time of captivity, as Jeremiah was the prophet to the southern kingdom at the time of its captivity.

Hos_4:17 — “Ephraim” occurs thirty-six times and refers to the northern kingdom of Israel — a part of the kingdom represents the whole. Israel has gone into idolatry. God says to keep hands off.



2. Israel turns from God; God turns from Israel; deterioration within follows, Chapter 5

Hos_5:1 — God condemns the leadership — priest and king.

Hos_5:5-6 — When the nation falls, they will cry to God, but He will not respond.

Hos_5:7-15 — Israel turns in desperation to her enemies for help, but there is no help. Judah is in the same plight. Assyria could not and would not assist.



B. Israel (Ephraim) will return in the last days; presently to be judged for current sins, Chapter 6

Hos_6:1-3 — Hosea looks to the last days when Israel will return to the Lord. The Lord has judged; He will save them (Hos_6:1).

“In the third day he will raise us up” (Hos_6:2) is interesting in light of the resurrection of Christ on the third day. He “was raised for our justification” (Rom_4:25) will be applicable to the nation Israel in the last days.

“Rain” (Hos_6:3) could be literal rain (see Lev_26:4; Deu_11:14; Joe_2:23; Amo_4:7), or it could be figurative (see Hos_10:12; Job_20:23).

Knowledge leads to spiritual growth.

Hos_6:4 — “Ephraim” at times seems to be a term of endearment, again it seems to be used in biting sarcasm. Here the Lord expresses His deep love for His people by His reluctance to judge them. He seems frustrated as to the course of action to pursue — shall He drive them out of the land or restore them? Their goodness is like the morning mist on the mountainside: it is temporary and soon disappears.

Hos_6:5 — God uses strong language in warning them.

Hos_6:6 — God is more concerned with the heart relationship with Himself than with the externalities of religion (see 1Sa_15:22-23).

Hos_6:9-11 — The priesthood is corrupt.



C. Israel (Ephraim) could escape judgment by turning to

God who loves her (key, Hos_11:8), Chapters 7 — 12

1. Israel (silly dove) turns to Egypt and Assyria, Chapter 7

Hos_7:1 — The Lord would forgive their iniquity, but they persist in their wickedness.

Hos_7:2-7 — Their gross immorality is approved by the king.

Hos_7:8 — Ephraim is like a pancake fried on top of the stove — burned on one side and raw on the other. The people blow hot and cold toward God.

Hos_7:11 — Ephraim is like a silly dove that endangers its own life by pretending to be wounded in order to draw an intruder from its nest. Also, it walks into a trap. Ephraim turns to Egypt and Assyria for help — these destroyers of their nation.



2. Israel turns to golden calves and altars of sin,

Chapter 8

Hos_8:1-4 — Having turned from God, they look to their king and their wealth to deliver them.

Hos_8:5 — The golden calf that Jeroboam had set up had not helped them.

Hos_8:9 — Assyria will finally take them into captivity, yet they turn foolishly to their enemy. They try to buy off Assyria.

Hos_8:11 — An altar was a place of worship and a place to find forgiveness for sin. Altars became sin to Israel. Religion can be a curse and not a blessing.



3. Israel (backsliding heifer) turns to land productivity; will be driven from the land, Chapters 9, 10

Chapter 9

Hos_9:1-2 — Prosperity had blinded them.

Hos_9:3 — The land is the Lord’s, and He demands a return.

Hos_9:8 — The prophets deceive them.

Hos_9:11-13 — Although the people and the land look good, all is passing away.



Chapter 10

Hos_10:1 — Israel will become an empty vine (cf. Joh_15:1).

Hos_10:6 — Assyrian captivity is announced.

Hos_10:11 — A heifer stiffens her front feet and refuses to budge. Then she begins to slip backward. God will judge the nation.



4. Israel turns from God — must be judged; God will not give her up, Chapters 11, 12

Chapter 11

Hos_11:1 — God loves Israel (see v. 8). Verse 1 is quoted in connection with the birth of Christ (see Mat_2:15).

Hos_11:7 — This is the second occurrence of “backsliding” (see Hos_4:16).

Hos_11:8 — This explains the seeming frustration, indecision, and vacillation in attitude and action toward Israel. Although God loves them, He must judge them. God seems to be on the horns of a dilemma.



Chapter 12

Hos_12:1 — Ephraim is trusting the word of Assyria and doubting God.

Hos_12:8 — God seems to be judging Israel with prosperity. Riches deceive them, for they think they can buy peace. (What a lesson for the United States!)



D. Israel (Ephraim) will turn from idols to God in the last days, Chapters 13, 14

1. Israel will be judged in the present, Chapter 13

Hos_13:7-8 — Judgment is inevitable. God will come upon them like a lion, leopard, and bear.

Hos_13:11 — This is a reference to Saul.

Hos_13:13 — Judgment is coming.

Hos_13:14 — This is quoted by Paul in 1Co_15:55.



2. Israel will be saved in the future, Chapter 14

Hos_14:4 — God’s love for them cannot be changed. He will heal their backsliding. This is the third mention of backsliding (see Hosea 4:16 and 11:7).

Hos_14:8 — Love will triumph. Ephraim was joined to idols, and God let her alone. But there will come a day when Ephraim will turn from idolatry. God’s love will prevail.

Any sinner may turn to God. God always will receive sinners — because He loves them.





RECOMMENDED BOOKS:



Cohen, Gary C. and H. Ronald Vandervey. Hosea and Amos.

Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1981.



Feinberg, Charles L. The Minor Prophets. Chicago, Illinois:

Moody Press, 1976.



Gaebelein, Arno C. The Annotated Bible. 1917. Reprint,

Neptune, New Jersey; Loizeaux Brothers, 1971.



Ironside, H. A. The Minor Prophets. Neptune, New Jersey:

Loizeaux Brothers, n.d.



Unger, Merrill F. Unger’s Commentary on the Old Testament,

Vol. 2. Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1982.