LESSON 29 THE BOOK OF HOSEA
The last twelve books of the Old Testament are considered as books by minor prophets. These prophets are not insignificant in attributes but rather minor in their popularity. As we look at these last books, we must remember that the Bible is not in chronological order. We must examine each book and locate their place in history in order to get harmony. Your understanding of I and II Kings will become necessary for historical placement.
The name Hosea means "Salvation". The names Hosea, Joshua and Jesus are all derived from the same Hebrew root word. Hosea was a young contemporary of Amos, another Northern Kingdom prophet. He was also a contemporary of Isaiah and Micah who ministered to the Southern Kingdom (Judah). Very little is known of Hosea's past since he is not mentioned elsewhere in the Bible. He is the author of this book, the son of Beeri (1:1), husband of Gomer (1:3), and the father of two sons and one daughter (1:4,6,9). The reign of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah covered a period of 112 years, so he must have lived to be quite an old man.
It may be good to re-familiarize yourselves with the outlines from I & II Kings to get the prophet's setting. Hosea was a prophet to the Northern Kingdom, called Israel, from the time of the division. Hosea's ministry took place in the last few years prior to Assyrian captivity. His prophesies have taken on various titles such as "The Zero Hour" or "The Last Swirl In the Drain". (II Kings 15-17)
Israel is referred to as Ephraim, after its largest tribe. The nation was enjoying a time of prosperity and growth outwardly; but inwardly were experiencing moral corruption and spiritual adultery. The personal life of Hosea is an accurate and tragic dramatization of the unfaithfulness of God's people.
It is interesting to note that Hosea, in the Eighth Century, before Christ, had the same scriptural references that we do today. This shows that his Old Testament was just like ours.
Consider from Genesis:
1. Adam's sin in the Garden Hosea 6:7
2. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah Hosea 11:8
3. God's promise to Abraham Hosea 1:10
4. Jacob's experience Hosea 12:3-4; 13:15
There are other references in this book to Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and many others. (not in nane but in verbal citations)
CHRIST OF HOSEA
This shows that the exodus of Israel from Egypt as a new nation was a prophetic figure of Jesus, who was also called out of Egypt in His childhood. Also we see the love of Christ from the cross as He redeemed us from a similar slave market (3:2 Hosea's redemption of Gomer) though one of sin.
KEY WORDS: RETURN UNTO THE LORD
The central message of Hosea is found in 6:1 "Return unto the Lord". The word "Return" occurs 15 times in Hosea.
THE TWO DIVISIONS:
An Adulterous wife and a Faithful Husband (1-3)
An Adulterous Israel and A Faithful Lord (4-14)
AN ADULTEROUS WIFE Chapters 1 - 3
Hosea marries a woman named Gomer who bears him three children. Gomer is unfaithful and seeks other lovers, deserting Hosea. Hosea truly loved her and despite the depth to which her sin carries her, Hosea redeems her from the slave market and restores her.
Hosea's own painful experience allows the prophet to feel some of the sorrow of God over the sinfulness of His people. The loyal love for Gomer is a reflection of God's concern for Israel.
AN ADULTEROUS ISRAEL Chapters 4 - 14
Israel had fallen into spiritual adultery and hardened their hearts against God's gracious last appeal to return. There are many reasons for this sin. One of the reasons for this is a lack of knowledge. Hosea 4:6________________
The blatant sins and violations of God's commandments would lead to desperation. Yet God wanted to heal and redeem them. (7:1-13)
God always chastens, punishes and judges according to His righteousness.
1. What does the word Hosea mean?
2. When and to whom did Hosea prophesy to?
3. What was the message preached by Hosea?
4. What are the two main divisions of the book?
FOR NEXT TIME:
Read the Book of Joel