TODAY’S READING: HOSEA 7-14
Israel’s sin rebuked (chapter 7); Israel’s judgment foretold (chapters 8-10); Israel’s restoration promised (chapters 11-14).
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
In yesterday’s reading, just as God had predicted, Hosea’s wife, Gomer, deserted her faithful husband for other “lovers,” a very painful but graphic illustration of Israel’s unfaithfulness to her husband, God Himself. In chapter 3, Gomer even ended up on the slave block, and God commands Hosea to go “redeem” her (or “buy her back”) and restore her as his wife. (All I can say is, “What a guy!”) Remember, Hosea is a picture of God, and His love for Israel, and His plan to restore her as His wife. (All I can say is, “What a God!”)
The people of Israel all knew who Hosea was, and knew all that his wife had done. They, no doubt, pointed the finger at her and her many sins. Little did they realize that they were actually pointing the finger at themselves! In chapter 4, Hosea begins to help them to understand their own sin (4:1-2), and their unfaithfulness and spiritual adultery against their husband. Hosea likens them to several graphic pictures:
1)“A morning cloud” (6:4) – i.e. here one minute and gone the next.
2)“A cake not turned” (7:8) – what we might call today “half-baked.” i.e. Their spirituality was only superficial, not into the core of their being.
3)“Gray hairs” (7:9) – i.e. gradually losing their strength, but unaware of the change.
4)“A silly dove” (7:11) – i.e. extremely fickle; here, there, and everywhere.
5)“A deceitful bow” (7:16) – i.e. has everything it needs to fulfill its purpose, but can’t hit the target.
Before simply moving on past the above illustrations, you may want to look back to see how many of them would be descriptive of your relationship with the Lord. It is amazing how “the more things change, the more things stay the same”!
As we move into chapter 8, Hosea understood that it would not be long before the Assyrians would come to take Israel into captivity. He likens God’s judgment to the circling of an eagle (8:1), the devastation of a whirlwind (8:7), and the burning of a fire (8:16). Numerous times in our 365 Days of Pursuit we have mentioned the Galatians 6:7-8 principle, that we “reap” according to what we’ve “sown.” Don’t miss, however, that the fact is, we always reap MORE than what we sow! Israel sowed the wind, yet reaped a whirlwind (8:7; 10:13). A farmer sows a few seeds that multiply into a huge harvest. Is there anything you’re sowing in your life right now that you’re not wanting to reap, much less, reap in abundance?! May we learn from Israel’s mistakes. I Corinthians 10:6 and 11 command us to!
Chapter 9 walks us back into some key places of sinfulness in Israel’s past. Hosea references the “deep corruption” at Gibeah (9:9), the “shame” and “abominations” at Baalpeor (9:10), and the “wickedness” at Gilgal (9:15). It teaches us that a life of sin leaves a trail. In time, the trail itself tells the story of how we ended up where we did.
The Book of Hosea doesn’t end, however, on a negative note. Just as Hosea never lost his love or his heart for his wife in spite of all of her unfaithfulness, God did not lose His love or His heart for Israel in spite of her unfaithfulness. And just as Hosea bought his wife back out of slavery to be restored in their relationship, God begins to point to the time when He would redeem Israel out of their slavery and be restored in His relationship with them.
God shows His heart for Israel in chapter 11, as He reminds them of how He loved them from the very beginning of their relationship, when He called them out of Egypt. He also reminds them of how from the very beginning of His marriage to them, they were “bent on backsliding” (11:7). God “drew them with cords… and bands of love” (11:4), but they saw the cords and bands as restrictive and wanted to be free of Him.
In chapter 14, God cries out to His wife to return to Him (14:1). He says, “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him” (14:4). He points to a time when the nation will be as a beautiful lily, a fruitful olive tree, and flourish as a vine. As we have repeatedly seen in the prophets, this is pointing to the time of the Second Coming of Christ when He sets up His millennial kingdom.
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
In ISRAEL, as the SON WHO WAS CALLED OUT OF EGYPT – Hosea 11:1 (Matt. 2:14-15).