Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Studies in Hosea|
Chapter: Hosea 6
Passage: Hosea 6:1-4
A. Find Out:
1. What were Israel saying they should do? v.1a
2. What did they say the Lord had done and would do? v.1b,c
3. How soon did they expect things to be well? v.2
4. What did they say they should do and with what result? v.3
5. Yet how did the Lord describe them? v.4
In verses 1 to 3 we see Israel's apparent desire and intent to return to the Lord. It all looks very good at first sight.
First, they acknowledge what the Lord has done: He has torn them to pieces, He has injured them, i.e. He has afflicted them.
Second, they state what they will do: they will return to the Lord (v.1), acknowledge the Lord (v.3) and press on to acknowledge Him (v.3).
Third, they state their expectation of the Lord: He will heal, He will bind up their wounds, He will restore them, He will restore them to His presence, He will come with blessing. All very good, or is it?
The Lord's response indicates that it is not! “Your love is like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears”. What an indictment! Your love, your turning to me is very superficial and will soon be gone! Yes, their words are all too easy, too simple, too superficial. There is no heart felt grief for their sin, they don't see the awfulness of what they have done, they only want to escape the consequences of what has happened, they want to be restored but at little cost to them. But true repentance is not like that (see 2 Cor 7:9-11), it means real heart felt anguish to be rid of the sin, to be cleared of the guilt and to be put right with God. Wanting to simply escape punishment is not repentance, it is self-motivated and God will reject it.
Chapter: Hosea 6
Passage: Hosea 6:5-11
A. Find Out:
1. What had the Lord done? v.5
2. Why? What had He wanted? v.6
3. What had they been doing? v.7
4. What sin did the Lord then speak against? v.8,9
5. What had happened to Israel ? v.10
6. How does Judah get included? v.11
Israel has spoken of returning to God but their superficial words were rebuffed by the Lord. The Lord saw that, as so often in their history, their words had been short lived, therefore throughout their history He had spoken against them through His prophets. Continually they had acted religiously, performing the required religious actions but without any heart commitment.
‘Adam' in verse 7 is more probably a place where they had broken the covenant and worshipped idols. Gilead also came in for censure but for the sin of violence against others. It seems that this means literal physical violence but in the context of unfaithfulness in verses 7 and 10 it may, perhaps, mean spiritual violence that brought about spiritual death, although it is not clear.
What is clear is that yet again the Lord speaks powerfully against both Israel and Judah. The prostitution of v.10 is obviously spiritual adultery and Judah is similarly indicted (see “also” v.11a).
Again and again the prophetic word comes through Hosea in a sharp cutting manner, indicting Israel for its spiritual unfaithfulness and the accompanying sins. No, mere surface words of return are inadequate. Israel has been like this throughout its history!
Chapter: Hosea 7
Passage: Hosea 7:1-7
A. Find Out:
1. What had the Lord gone to do but what had He found? v.1
2. What had the sinful people not realised? v.2
3. How was the king indicted? v.3,5
4. How are the sinful people described? v.4
5. How was that picture explained? v.6
6. How was that used to explain people and rulers? v.7
Some commentators suggest the main indictment here is against Israel 's priests, yet the words of v.1 indicate this is a far wider indictment that covers generally bad people who have come to the fore in the life of Israel . Whenever the Lord goes to go to Israel to bring restoration, He simply finds evil there which makes such restoration an impossibility.
Such wicked people even have the ear of the king, and the king and his court even applauds them, his heart is just the same as theirs. But, says the prophet, it is even more dangerous than this; it is like an oven where, to ensure steady cooking the coals maintain a steady heat, so they can burst into flame in the morning when more air is let in and the embers stirred up. The wrong attitudes of the people and the rulers is like this, they will smoulder on and on but will eventually ignite and destroy the king when they are agitated and stirred up by plotters.
The king should have been setting a righteous example for the people and should have stood against their wickedness as he upheld his responsibility to maintain law and order. Instead he sided with the evil people, was as bad as them, and will eventually be destroyed by these evil ways which will be turned against him.
Chapter: Hosea 7
Passage: Hosea 7:8-16
A. Find Out:
1. How is Israel first now described and why? v.8,9
2. How is she next described and why? v.11
3. What is the indictment against Israel ? v.10
4. How is that further stated? v.13-16a
5. What does the Lord say He will do? v.12
6. What will be the outcome of that? v.16b
Hosea continues his indictment of Israel. He gives a picture of Israel being like a flat cake (like pitta bread) being baked. In the previous illustration, heat was pictured as that which was growing unrighteousness. So as a cake, they have constantly faced the unrighteousness of other nations and will have become dried out and even burnt. It has been a gradual process and they have hardly noticed it, but the other nations have sapped their spiritual strength and they have been dried out.
But he also likens them to a foolish dove, that flutters around with no direction, turning first to this nation then to that. The Lord will trap them and take them into captivity. The first half of the chapter was about the nations sin and political intrigues, the second half is about their sin with other nations.
They have ceased to be the distinct people of God that they were called to be and are no longer a light to the nations. They turned away from God and turned to other nations and now actually speak against God. Because of this contact with other nations they have become hardened (dried out) and their strength has gone. There is little left for the Lord to do but take them away, for they are no longer what they were created to be. What an indictment, what a tragedy for this once glorious nation!
Chapter: Hosea 8
Passage: Hosea 8:1-6
A. Find Out:
1. What is the state of the nation? v.1
2. Yet what do they cry out? v.2
3. What had Israel done and what will happen? v.3
4. What 2 complaints has the Lord against them? v.4
5. What does he instruct them to do? v.5
6. What will happen to it? v.6
We have here a similar pattern to what we saw in the beginning of chapter 6. Israel cries out to the Lord, “We acknowledge you”, yet the reality of that is very different. Because of their anguish, because of the state of the land, they were crying out to God, but that was a self-centred cry. In these verses the prophet reveals the folly of it.
First he is told to draw everyone's attention to what is happening, for a bird of prey is hovering, keeping watch over the house of the Lord to see the truth of what is happening.
And the truth? Israel have
All of these things show that their cry to God is meaningless, for they have not sought to restore the covenant by repentance, they have not destroyed their idols. In other words, apart from speaking words they have done nothing to show they really wanted to come back to God. John the Baptist would have words for them - see Matt 3:8.
Chapter: Hosea 8
Passage: Hosea 8:7-14
A. Find Out:
1. What do Israel sow and what do they reap? v.7a
2. With what effect in the picture and in reality? v.7b,8
3. What have they done? v.9,10a
4. What also have they done? v.11,12
5. How have they shown self reliance? v.14a
6. So what will happen because of all this? v.10b,13b,14b
In the first part of this chapter the indictment was more general: Israel had rejected the Lord, relied on their own abilities and worshipped other gods. Now the focus is on their relationship with other nations again (as it was in 7:8-16).
They sow fickleness (the wind), says the prophet, and they will reap destruction (whirlwind). They should be likened to corn or wheat which produces a fruitful crop but instead they have nothing. Israel has become worthless among the nations. Why? Because they went to the nations for their help, instead of to the Lord, and they lost their distinctiveness, they lost their strength and their power and they are nothing now.
In addition, the indictment of earlier in the chapter is repeated: they have turned away from the Lord and worshipped idols (v.11,12) and they have relied on their own abilities (v.14). The result? The Lord will deal with them: He will let them be gradually taken away by invading kings, their cities and refuges will be destroyed and they will be carried off into captivity. As they went to nations for help so it will be nations that destroy them.
A. Find Out:
1. What are Israel not to do and why? v.1a,b
2. Of what are they guilty? v.1c
3. What will happen? v.2
4. What will happen to Israel? v.3
5. What will they no longer do? v.4a
6. What will happen to the sacrificial food? v.4b
The same message keeps coming to Israel, but in different forms. Now Hosea brings a harsh warning: don't rejoice Israel, you have no cause to rejoice! Until judgement comes there is a temptation to think everything is all right and therefore to carry on normally and even be happy in sin. This is total deception! There are two reasons not to be happy in this situation: first because of the present state of the nation and, second, the judgement that is coming.
First the state of the nation. Already we have seen a number of things the prophet has spoken against. Here their idolatry is again highlighted. They have been unfaithful to God, they have set up idols. The threshing floor was a piece of raised ground where the beaten chaff could be blown away. On these raised areas Israel had set up idols.
Second, the impending judgement. They will be taken from the land and taken to Egypt or Assyria by invading conquerors. They will not eat the fruit of the threshing floor or the wine press but will eat the food of aliens in foreign countries. They will not continue offering sacrifices, for in the foreign land food will be so scarce that they will need every bit to stay alive; there will be none spare for sacrifices. Be aware of what the consequences of your actions will be!
A. Find Out:
1. What does Hosea say will happen? v.6
2. How does he summarise it, and for what reason? v.7a,b
3. How do Israel now view their prophets? v.7c
4. Yet what is the prophet? v.8a
5. But what does the prophet find? v.8b
6. What has happened and will happen to Israel ?
Hosea has just said that Israel will be carried away and will not have enough food to spare for sacrifices. Now he continues that theme. When you are taken, he says, your treasures, your idols (implied) will be taken from you and you will be able to worship neither them nor follow the Lord's appointed feasts in the foreign land.
Understand, he continues, these days of punishment are coming soon. The depth of your sin is so great that the Lord cannot put up with it any longer. When He speaks through a prophet you deride him. God's prophets are Israel's watchmen who warn you of what they see coming but so great is your sin that you totally refuse to hear what they are saying, and so God's judgement will come, and soon.
Within this passage there is that sense of the depth of the sin of Israel, that has so permeated their hearts that it seems impossible for them to hear God's warnings to them. These same warnings have come again and again through Hosea. Israel have no excuse. It is not as if they could say, well we only heard it once and didn't understand it. They had heard it again and again through Hosea, different slants on the same message: you are in sin, repent otherwise destruction will come. Now it IS coming, there is no alternative. How terrible!
A. Find Out:
1. What had Israel been like originally? v.10a
2. But what had gone wrong? v.10b
3. What will happen to Israel ? v.11-13
4. What does Hosea pray in line with this? v.14
5. Why was the Lord against them? v.15,16
6. So what does Hosea declare? v.17
God has been saying through Hosea that their future will be in captivity and there they will not have resources or opportunity to either worship false gods or carry out their sacrifices to the Lord. The emphasis in the present passage is twofold. First it is a condemnation of their idolatry and second a warning of their future.
First the condemnation. The Lord reminds them of when He first brought them out of Egypt and met with them in the desert at Sinai. Then they were beautiful, free from idol worship, but within a little while in their wanderings on the way to the promised land they had been led astray by the wiles of Balaam and had mixed with foreign women and worshipped their idols. That same tendency to drift away from the Lord to foreign idols remained with them right up to the present when it had got worse and worse. It will be their downfall!
Second, the future. Again and again here is reference to their children. Children are the next generation, the immediate future. In the Lord's statement and in Hosea's prayer (which simply reflects the Lord's stated will) is this clear warning: you have no future! The sense is that this will be in the near future; you cannot keep on sinning and get away with it. God is going to stop you - soon!
A. Find Out:
1. How was Israel described and what did he do? v.1
2. Why, and what must now happen? v.2
3. What will they acknowledge? v.3
4. What is constantly happening? v.4
5. What do the people fear for, and what will happen to it? v.5,6
6. What will happen and what will be the outcome? v.7,8
Flowing straight on from the previous chapter, Hosea picks up again the picture he used in 9:10 of grapes on a vine. He starts here by saying that the vine, Israel , had been luxuriant to start with, but as it had prospered, it had become lax and had turned to other forms of worship and had filled the land with altars to “other gods”. For this, God will come and destroy them. That is the simple message here.
In these verses he shows what will happen and the outcome of that. First, what will happen. The calf-idol that had been set up at Bethel (original name of Beth Aven) will be carried away and the priests who had attended it will also be taken. The idols scattered around the country will all be destroyed and the various stone altars set up to the false gods will also be destroyed.
Yet it goes further than that. He goes on to show the effect of the coming destruction. In captivity, when they get carried away, they will have no king, no leadership and there will be strife between the ordinary people. Finally there is a powerful picture of the land after the destruction: “thorns and thistles will grow up and cover their altars”. The picture here is of long-term desolation. This will not be a quick-fix thing but will leave the land empty for a long time to come!
Chapter: Hosea 10
Passage: Hosea 10:9-15
A. Find Out:
1. Of what place does Hosea remind them? v.9 (See Judg 19 & 20)
2. What picture does he give to describe what will happen? v.11
3. What does he say the Lord wants? v.12
4. But instead what have they done? v.13
5. So what will happen? v.14
6. What will happen and why? v.15
Having just spoken about an enemy coming and clearing away all the idols, Hosea continues painting the picture of the sin of the nation, the need of the nation and what will happen to it.
Let's observe the picture of sin first. He states they have sinned (v.9), even double sin (v.10 - possibly referring to their past - Gibeah had been an incident of sin producing war - see Judges 19 & 20), there is wickedness, evil, deception and self-reliance in the land (v.13), all lumped together and described as great wickedness (v.15).
Next consider what he says needs to happen. The land or the nation needs to be ploughed up. The hard, unfeeling, unrepentant nation needs breaking up so that something new can be sowed that will produce a different harvest. They have produced sin (weeds?) and therefore the nation needs ploughing up, completely turning over and starting the growing process all over again, so that righteousness can be the fruit instead. They ought to be seeking the Lord but they are not, and so the land will be turned over!
Finally consider the Lord's means of “ploughing the nation”. He is going to gather nations against them (v.10), they will be devastated by an enemy (v.14).
RECAP - "Punishment Decreed" - Hosea 6-10
In this third group of 11 studies we have seen :
These chapters seem to be a recurring cycle: superficial repentance (A), exposure & condemnation (B), and warning of the judgement that will come at the hands of other nations that they had initially relied upon (C). The lessons that follow from this are obvious:
1. The prophetic word comes to draw people back to God.
2. The Lord looks for wholehearted repentance.
3. Anything less than that will be exposed for what it is.
4. Anything less than that will incur the Lord's discipline.
Ask the Lord to show you any wrong areas of your life where you are holding back or are only repenting superficially, that you may allow Him to work fully in you.
PART 4 : "The Lord's Heart Exposed"
In this last Part, although there are further calls for repentance and further declarations of Israel 's sin, there is also a greater revelation of the heart of God as to what He feels for Israel, and hope from God in respect of what will yet happen in Israel's future. Watch for these