Morning Bible Study
The prophet Hosea lived during the time of the divided kingdom. The southern
kingdom was usually called “Judah”. The northern kingdom was known either as
“Israel” or “Ephraim”. Hosea’s job was to speak for God to the northern
Hosea had an unusual home life. God has asked him to marry a prostitute
named Gomer. After he had children with Gomer, Gomer went back to work, being a
prostitute. Then came the most amazing thing of
all. God asked Hosea to get his wife
Hosea’s life was to be a picture of God’s love for His people.
Even though God’s people sometimes fall away and follow after other things,
God hasn’t stopped loving us and He wants us to come back.
Hosea’s main ministry was to get the people to repent of their backsliding
so they might not face the judgment coming on the northern kingdom.
3:1-5 Redemption and return
:1 Then the Lord
said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing
adultery, just like the love of the Lord
for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin
cakes of the pagans.”
:1 raisin cakes
Raisin cakes were involved in the worship of both god Baal and the goddess
Astarte (Jer. 7:18)
:1 Go again, love a woman
Hosea is asked by God to take his wife back, even though they have divorced
and even though she has committed adultery.
The Law of Moses allowed for divorce by saying that if a woman “finds no
favor” in the eyes of her husband because of some “uncleanness”, he could give
her a certificate of divorce, and the marriage was over (Deut. 24:1-4).
In Jesus’ day, there were some who interpreted Moses’ statements to mean
that even burning a husband’s morning toast was “uncleanness”, and a reason for
(Mt 19:3–9 NKJV)
—3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is
it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” 4 And He
answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at
the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For
this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So then, they are no longer two
but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
plan was for there not to be divorce.
God’s original idea was that when a man and woman became “one flesh”,
that it was to be inseparable.
7 They said
to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to
put her away?”
8 He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts,
permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say
to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her
who is divorced commits adultery.”
By the time of Moses, God made an allowance for divorce because
of the “hardness” of a heart. And Jesus
clarifies that when sexual immorality was involved, that this was a justifiable
reason for divorce.
I think the idea works like this – when a person has been betrayed
at the level of sexual unfaithfulness, then their heart can become so hard that
it just can’t go on in the marriage. And
God allows for this. But I think Jesus
is hinting that even this wasn’t God’s original intent. It’s just an allowance.
We believe that Paul may have given another acceptable reason for divorce,
(1 Co 7:15 NKJV) But if the
unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage
in such cases. But God has called us to peace.
If your spouse has left you, it seems that Paul is saying
that you are no longer bound to the marriage.
But keep in mind the picture of Hosea.
Even though we saw in the last chapter that Hosea was writing up divorce
papers, here we see God asking him to buy back his wife.
Even if your spouse has committed the most horrible of sins against you,
you don’t have to divorce them.
There may be times when God would have you be like Hosea. Divorce doesn’t have to be automatic.
Too many of us threaten our spouse with the “D” word too often. It shouldn’t be a part of our vocabulary at
Revenge or Restoration
I think one of the keys to Hosea’s approach to marriage is trying to decide
whether we are out for revenge or restoration.
Is your heart broken for your spouse?
Or do you just want to get even.
Hosea is an intentional picture to us of the heart of God.
God isn’t out to get “even” with you.
He wants to bring you back.
The Bible says,
(Ro 5:8 NKJV) But God
demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us.
Jesus didn’t wait to die for us until we turned from our
sin and became “nice” people.
Jesus died for sinners.
If you are a “sinner” like Gomer.
I’ve got news for you. God wants you back. He’s even paid a great price for you. He sent His Son to die for you.
If you are someone who has been wronged, don’t forget what Paul taught us:
(Eph 4:31–32 NKJV) —31 Let all
bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with
all malice. 32
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted,
forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
The word “forgiving” means literally “gracing”. God showed His grace towards us in sending
Jesus to die for us. We ought to learn
to do the same towards those who have wronged us.
:2 So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels
of silver, and one and one-half homers of barley.
that 1 ½ homers was equivalent to 15 shekels, adding that to the 15 shekels,
and the total price that Hosea paid for her was 30 shekels.
According to the Law of Moses, this was the price to release a woman from a
vow (Lev. 27:4)
:3 And I said to her, “You shall stay with me many days; you shall not play
the harlot, nor shall you have a man—so, too, will I be toward
Because Hosea has “bought” her, she no longer belongs to any other man. There will be no other men in her life.
:4 For the children of Israel shall abide many
days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod
:4 without king or prince
Israel would no longer have other “men” in their lives – princes or priests
– but only God.
:5 Afterward the children of Israel shall return
and seek the Lord their God and
David their king. They shall fear the Lord
and His goodness in the latter days.
:5 in the latter days
Israel (the northern kingdom) had not followed the kings descended from
David for centuries.
But they will one day follow a descendant of David, Jesus the Messiah.
4:1-10 The Charge against Israel
:1 Hear the word of the Lord, You children of Israel, For the Lord brings a charge against the inhabitants of the
land: “There is no truth or mercy Or knowledge of God in the land.
:2 By swearing and lying, Killing and
stealing and committing adultery, They break all restraint, With bloodshed upon
:2 swearing … lying, Killing … stealing
Sounds just like … America.
:3 Therefore the land will mourn; And everyone who
dwells there will waste away With the beasts of the field And the birds of the
air; Even the fish of the sea will be taken away.
:4 “Now let no man contend, or rebuke another; For
your people are like those who contend with the priest.
The priests should have been spiritual authorities, but the people don’t
want to hear about what is right and wrong.
:5 Therefore you shall stumble in the day; The
prophet also shall stumble with you in the night; And I will destroy your
The “prophet” here might be the false prophets in the land. They will stumble.
:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest
for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your
God, I also will forget your children.
:6 destroyed for lack of knowledge
It is through the study of the Scriptures that we gain the right kind of
knowledge, the knowledge of God.
The true strength of a church can be measured by the emphasis it places on
teaching the Bible.
:6 I also will reject you from being
priest for Me
A priest is supposed to be a go between.
He should be able to connect people with God.
Israel as a nation was supposed to be a light to the world (Ex. 19:6). They were supposed to connect the world to
God, yet now they would not be God’s “priest” any more.
:7 “The more they increased, The more they sinned
against Me; I will change their glory into shame.
:8 They eat up the sin of My people; They set
their heart on their iniquity.
:8 They eat up the sin of My people
(Ho 4:8 NLT) “When the
people bring their sin offerings, the priests get fed. So the priests are glad
when the people sin!
When a person brought an offering to pay for their sin, the priest would
get to keep a portion of that offering as part of his “income”.
These priests liked it when the people sinned because it meant more income
(1 Co 13:6 NKJV) (love) does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the
Loving others means you want sin to stop.
:9 And it shall be: like people, like priest. So I will punish them for their ways, And reward them for
:10 For they shall eat, but not have enough; They
shall commit harlotry, but not increase; Because they have ceased obeying the Lord.
:10 they shall eat, but not have enough
When we are rebelling against God, nothing will satisfy.
is a way that seems right to a man,But its end is the way of death.
4:11-19 Israel’s Idolatry
:11 “Harlotry, wine, and new wine enslave the
:11 Harlotry, wine …
There is nothing new. These “enslave” our hearts as well.
:12 My people ask counsel from their wooden idols,
And their staff informs them. For the spirit of harlotry has caused them
to stray, And they have played the harlot against
:12 their staff informs them
It may be cute when a kid talks to a wooden puppet, but not an adult. (“Help
you I will”)
:13 They offer sacrifices on the mountaintops, And
burn incense on the hills, Under oaks, poplars, and terebinths,
Because their shade is good. Therefore your
daughters commit harlotry, And your brides commit adultery.
:14 “I will not punish your daughters when they
commit harlotry, Nor your brides when they commit adultery; For the men
themselves go apart with harlots, And offer sacrifices with a ritual harlot.
Therefore people who do not understand will be trampled.
:14 I will not punish your daughters
You can’t blame the daughters when it’s the men driving the business. More later…
:15 “Though you, Israel, play the harlot, Let not
Judah offend. Do not come up to Gilgal, Nor go up to Beth Aven, Nor swear
an oath, saying, ‘As the Lord
Joshua had built an altar here. It was a “holy city” where the people still
:15 Beth Aven
= “house of wickedness”
This is Hosea’s name for “Beth-el”, which meant “house of God”. Bethel was one of the two
main worship places in the northern kingdom where Jeroboam had set up his
golden calves to be worshipped.
:16 “For Israel is stubborn Like a stubborn calf;
Now the Lord will let them forage
Like a lamb in open country.
:17 “Ephraim is joined to idols, Let him alone.
:17 Ephraim is joined to idols
Ephraim (the northern kingdom) is like Gomer, is unfaithful to God.
:18 Their drink is rebellion, They commit harlotry
continually. Her rulers dearly love dishonor.
:19 The wind has wrapped her up in its wings, And
they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.
:14 I will not punish your daughters
Blaming the wrong person
Whether you are a man or a woman, we all tend to prefer to blame someone
else for our problems.
Guys will ogle women and blame them for dressing in a sexually provocative
The real problem is in the heart of the man.
Lust starts in my heart. It may be
helped along by something that is tempting, but it starts in my heart.
NKJV) —13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God
cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each
one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when
desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown,
brings forth death.
Gentlemen, do you have a lust problem?
The problem starts in your own heart.
Every once in a while you will hear about crimes being
committed against prostitutes.
Apparently in the mind of these deranged criminals is the idea that the
prostitute is the one who is at fault for society’s, or the individual’s
The truth is, if men weren’t so filled with lust, prostitutes
would go out of business.
The whole problem works in both men and women.
I’ve learned that ladies can lust just as much as men do.
But ladies, just like the men, don’t miss the point that
the lust you feel starts in your own heart.
What do I do about my lust?
I’m not going to be able to give you a magic one-step answer. I can give you a place to start.
1. Acknowledge the problem
(1 Jn 1:7–9 NKJV) —7 But if we
walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another,
and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say
that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we
confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to
cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If you want to keep your problem hidden and in the dark, it’s not going to get better.
If you learn how to acknowledge your problem, walk in the
light, you are taking the first step towards change.
2. Stop feeding the monster
(Ga 6:7–8 NKJV) —7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that
he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but
he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
Each of us has a sin nature. When
you are born again, you also will have the Spirit of God inside you as
well. God’s Spirit is always at war with
our sin nature. Whether or not God’s
Spirit wins is dependent on you.
I’m talking about more than just “delayed
gratification”. I want to learn about
how important it is to stop feeding the “monster” altogether.
There’s an old Eskimo proverb that goes:
There are two dogs fighting inside each of us. The dog you feed is the dog that wins.
If you feed the Spirit side of you, God’s Spirit
wins. But if you continue to feed that
sin nature by exposing yourself to the wrong kinds of things on TV, movies, or
the internet, then why should you be surprised when you give in to sin?
Does this mean that if you are a guy who lusts, that you ought to stay away
from women? (or men?)
No. The problem
isn’t men or women in general. The
problem is YOU.
You ought to stay away from the media that portrays women
in a tempting way, but staying away from women in general isn’t the
answer. You’re still treating women like
“things” instead of real people.
3. Ask for help
(Jas 5:16 NKJV) Confess your
trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
You don’t have to handle this on your own.
It’s likely you are going to fail on your own.
On Thursday nights we are going to offer a class called “Courage to Change”. Change doesn’t always come easy, but it is
That doesn’t mean that it’s okay for men or women to dress immodestly.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians and told them that the women ought to be
wearing something to cover their head when they were in church. (1Cor. 11)
That sounds kind of like a strange command for us, until we think about the
culture of the Corinthians. Corinth was
famous for the huge temple of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, which sat on the
highest hill above the city. Every night
1,000 temple prostitutes would come down into the city to help the men of the
city “worship” Aphrodite by having sex with them. And guess what the clue was to the men as to
who the temple prostitutes were? They
were the women who had uncovered heads.
Paul was telling the gals in the church to not dress like a prostitute. That goes for all of us. Even if you’ve “got
it”, don’t “flaunt it”.
Where are you today?
Are you someone who has been messing with bad stuff?
It’s time to change.
Are you someone who needs mercy?
God has much.
Are you someone who needs to show mercy?