Welcome to the book of Hosea!
To God, the people of Israel have been as a wife in covenant relationship with Him. And yet their continual idolatry was a constant reminder of their unfaithfulness to the covenant. In an effort to draw Israel away from her spiritual lovers and to show her the danger of her infidelity, God calls upon the prophet Hosea to bring his message and warnings – through both hard preaching and prophecy, and in another (and most unusual) way as well.
Hosea begins his ministry during Jeroboam’s reign, and will continue his work for the next 60 or 65 years. His ministry will span the reigns of the next two or three kings of Israel as well as Jeroboam’s. It is not known exactly when he delivers his various rebukes, admonitions, and warnings, but they are all collected at this point to show the central thrust of his message.
Because Hosea is so emotional, he doesn’t stop to explain a large number of images or biblical references. A Bible dictionary will help you understand the names and places you aren’t familiar with. Also, be aware that Hosea was a contemporary of Amos in Israel, and of Isaiah and Michah in Judah.
The themes of chapters 1 – 3 echo throughout the rest of the book. The adultery of Gomer (chapter 1) illustrates the sin of Israel (chapters 4 – 7); the degradation of Gomer (chapter 2) represent the judgment of Israel (chapters 8 – 10); and Hosea’s redemption of Gomer (chapter 3) pictures the restoration of Israel (chapters 11 – 14). More than any other Old Testament prophet, Hosea’s personal experience illustrate his prophetic message.
Our journey through the prophecies of Hosea will carry us through the remainder of the holiday season, right up to the New Year. Thank you all for following my blog. It is my prayer you have been enriched and bless through your study of God’s Word.