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 kingdom.
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 pay to get his wife back.
Hosea’s life was to be a picture of God’s love for His people. Even when we
strayed, God loved us so much He paid to get us back.
:1 When Ephraim spoke, trembling, He exalted himself
in Israel; But when he offended through Baal worship, he died.
For the wages of sin is death…
:2 Now they sin more and more, And have made for themselves molded images,
Idols of their silver, according to their skill; All of it is the work
of craftsmen. They say of them, “Let the men who sacrifice kiss the calves!”
:2 Now they sin more and more
They started with Baal worship, but they didn’t
:2 Let the men who sacrifice kiss the
literally, “the sacrificers
of men kiss the calves”
(Ho 13:2 NIV) It is said of these people, “They offer
human sacrifices! They kiss calf-idols!”
:3 Therefore they shall be like the morning cloud
And like the early dew that passes away, Like chaff blown off from a threshing
floor And like smoke from a chimney.
:3 like the morning cloud
Like our So. Cal. “June Gloom”. It’s cloudy in the morning, but as the sun rises the clouds
:3 early dew
Often in the morning the plants are wet with
dew. But as the
sun rises, the dew evaporates.
That’s what a threshing floor is all about. Separate the grain from the chaff. They crush what has been
harvested to separate the chaff from the grain, toss it up in the air, and
the chaff blows away.
:3 smoke from a chimney
Smoke doesn’t hang around. It rises and dissipates.
Do you see a common thread in these pictures?
The nation is going to dissolve.
:4 “Yet I am the Lord your God Ever since the land of Egypt, And you shall
know no God but Me; For there is no savior besides Me.
:4 no God but Me
Isaiah lived around the same time as Hosea.
He said the same thing, over and over again…
(Is 45:21–22 NKJV) —21 Tell and bring forth your case; Yes, let
them take counsel together. Who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told
it from that time? Have not I, the Lord? And there
is no other God besides Me, A just God and a Savior; There is none besides Me. 22 “Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.
:5 I knew you in the wilderness, In the land of
:5 I knew you in the wilderness
When God brought the nation out of Egypt under Moses, they wandered for
forty years in the wilderness, in the desert.
:6 When they had pasture, they were filled; They
were filled and their heart was exalted; Therefore they forgot Me.
:6 They were filled … they forgot
When Israel was going through the wilderness, they learned that they needed
to cling to God.
Once they got into the Promised Land and settled down, life was easier.
The problem with “easier” is that we can tend to forget that we still need
Be careful of thinking that just a “little more money” will solve your
(Pr 30:8–9 NKJV) —8 Remove
falsehood and lies far from me; Give me
neither poverty nor riches— Feed me with the food allotted to me; 9 Lest I be full and deny You, And say,
“Who is the Lord?” Or lest I be
poor and steal,
And profane the name of my God.
:7 “So I will be to them like a lion; Like a
leopard by the road I will lurk;
:8 I will meet them like a bear deprived of her
cubs; I will tear open their rib cage, And there I will devour them like a
lion. The wild beast shall tear them.
:7 like a lion
God compares Himself to images of wild, dangerous animals.
They will be experiencing judgment from God.
A lion speaks of ferocity, authority, and power.
C.S. Lewis wove Jesus into the Narnia books as
the character Aslan, a lion. There’s a scene in
the book that was left out of the movie…
When the Pevensie children first hear about Aslan, they are having supper with the beavers. They hear
that this coming king, Aslan, is a lion.
Susan says, “Ooh! I’d thought he was a man. Is he
– quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.” “That you
will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver, “if there’s anyone who can
appear before Aslan without their knees knocking,
they’re either braver than most or else just silly.” “Then he isn’t safe?” said
Lucy. “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who
said anything about safe? ‘Course he
isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell
C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (pg. 75-76)
If you are not trusting God (like Israel was
doing), then you ought to be afraid. He isn’t safe.
If you are trusting God and living the way He
wants you to live, you may still tremble a bit, but you can know that He is
:9 “O Israel, you are destroyed, But your help is
:10 I will be your King; Where is any other,
That he may save you in all your cities? And your judges
to whom you said, ‘Give me a king and princes’?
:11 I gave you a king in My anger, And took him
away in My wrath.
:11 I gave you a king in My anger
When the prophet Samuel was getting up in years, the nation came to him and
asked him to appoint for them a king.
The nation had never had a king.
God had always worked to lead the nation directly, through the
prophets. Samuel was upset at this
request, partly because he felt that they were rejecting him as well.
God told Samuel …
(1 Sa 8:78 NKJV) And the Lord said to
Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they
have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over
God gave them what they asked for.
He did it in His anger.
:11 took him away in My wrath
Israel would be losing their kingdom and their king with the coming
invasion of Assyria.
he did evil in the sight of the Lord, but not as the kings of Israel who were before him. Shalmaneser the king of Assyria went throughout all the land, and went
up to Samaria and besieged it for three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea, the
king of Assyria took Samaria and carried Israel away to Assyria, and placed
them in Halah and by the Habor,
the River of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.
:12 “The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up;
His sin is stored up.
:13 The sorrows of a woman in childbirth shall
come upon him. He is an unwise son, For he
should not stay long where children are born.
:13 he should not stay …
(Ho 13:13 NLT) Pain has
come to the people like the pain of childbirth, but they are like a child who
resists being born. The moment of birth has arrived, but they stay in the womb!
:14 “I will ransom them from the power of the
grave; I will redeem them from death. O Death, I will be your plagues! O Grave,
I will be your destruction! Pity is hidden from My
:14 I will ransom them
Some make this sound like a question, “Should I ransom them from the
grave?” But I
think the New King James translates it best.
So does the apostle Paul.
Paul quotes this verse to talk about the future day of hope, the
The gospel is all about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
(1 Co 15:3–8 NKJV) —3 For I delivered to you first of all that which
I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that
He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the
Scriptures, 5 and that
He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that
He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part
remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was
seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due
Jesus came and died on a cross in order to pay for our
sins. He died in our place. He paid a debt He didn’t
owe because we owed a debt we couldn’t pay.
This is how He “ransomed” or “redeemed” us.
And even though Jesus died, He
didn’t stay dead. He conquered death and
rose from the grave.
Jesus’ resurrection is the assurance that one day we too
will rise from the dead, just like He did.
His resurrection assures us that there is life after death, and that if we will trust in Jesus Christ and accept
His death as payment for our sins, that we too will be given a new life after
The ultimate goal of the resurrection is that one day we will be with God
forever with new bodies that will never ever die again. Watch how Paul brings our phrase from Hosea
into this picture later in the same chapter:
(1 Co 15:50–57 NKJV) —50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood
cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I
tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—52 in a
moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and
we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and
this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put
on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then
shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up
in victory.” 55 “O Death,
where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”
(that’s our passage from Hosea)
56 The sting
of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks
be to God, who gives us the victory through our
Lord Jesus Christ.
Have you put your trust in Jesus?
Have you accepted His death on the cross as the payment for your sins?
There is hope if you have. You will
one day live forever with God in His kingdom.
:14 Pity is hidden from My eyes
Even though there is a faint glimmer of hope in verse 14, the reality for
the people of Hosea’s day was that they would be facing God’s judgment, and
:15 Though he is fruitful among his
brethren, An east wind shall come; The wind of the Lord shall come up from the wilderness. Then his spring shall
become dry, And his fountain shall be dried up. He
shall plunder the treasury of every desirable prize.
:15 fruitful among his brethren
“Ephraim” means “double fruit”.
:15 An east wind shall come
A hot, dry wind (like a Santa Ana wind) coming off of
There will be no fruit left after this wind, after the coming judgment
brought on by the Assyrian army.
:16 Samaria is held guilty, For she has rebelled
against her God. They shall fall by the sword, Their
infants shall be dashed in pieces, And their women with child ripped open.
:1 O Israel, return to the Lord your God, For you have stumbled because of your
:2 Take words with you, And return to the Lord. Say to Him, “Take away all
iniquity; Receive us graciously, For we will
offer the sacrifices of our lips.
:1 return to the Lord your God
It starts with honestly confronting your sin, learning to admit the truth
about your sin.
Too often we either lie to ourselves about our
sin, or we make up excuses as to why it’s okay for us to sin.
We sometimes like to lie to ourselves about our sin. We don’t think it’s
that big of a deal to pretend we aren’t lying to ourselves.
And it actually isn’t very funny.
Here at the closing chapter of this book about the coming judgment, there
is one last plea to the people. Turn around, come back to God.
God would make to you the same plea.
If you’ve been away from the Lord, come back.
Learn to admit the truth about your sin.
Ask Him to take away your iniquity.
:3 Assyria shall not save us, We will not ride on
horses, Nor will we say anymore to the work of our hands, ‘You are our
gods.’ For in You the fatherless finds mercy.”
:3 Assyria will not save us…
Israel was looking to the Assyrians for help. Yet it was the Assyrians
who would eventually destroy them.
They were clinging to the things that hurt them. That’s a great definition
:3 in You the fatherless finds mercy
Orphans were the most easily oppressed people in ancient society.
Yet if those who are oppressed turn to God, they
will find mercy.
He helps when no one else will.
:4 “I will heal their backsliding, I will love
them freely, For My anger has turned away from him.
:4 I will love them freely
Just as Hosea bought back his wife from prostitution, God
still loved Israel and would one day restore them.
:5 I will be like the dew to Israel; He shall grow
like the lily, And lengthen his roots like Lebanon.
:6 His branches shall spread; His beauty shall be
like an olive tree, And his fragrance like Lebanon.
:7 Those who dwell under his shadow shall return;
They shall be revived like grain, And grow like a vine. Their scent shall
be like the wine of Lebanon.
:7 They shall be revived
The nation known as “double fruit” would once more bear much fruit.
Hosea uses all the familiar Israeli agricultural pictures – olive trees,
grain, grape vines.
:8 “Ephraim shall say, ‘What have I to do
anymore with idols?’ I have heard and observed him. I am like a green
cypress tree; Your fruit is found in Me.”
:9 Who is wise? Let him understand these
things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right; The righteous walk in them, But transgressors stumble in
:9 Who is wise?
If you are wise, you will pay attention to what Israel went through.
:8 What have I to do anymore with idols?
The whole goal of the coming judgment was to bring about purity in Israel,
to separate them from the stupid things that were destroying them.
Purity through difficulty
A common theme in the Bible is the shepherd and the sheep. Sometimes the sheep go astray.
Sometimes a young lamb will go astray over and over again. They don’t seem to
get the message that they need to stay with their Shepherd. In these types of situations, the only thing
left for the Shepherd to do in order to save the straying lamb’s life is to break
its two front legs. Then the shepherd will set the bones. And
for the next five or six weeks, while the lamb’s legs are mending, the shepherd
will carry the lamb around his shoulders. Everywhere the shepherd goes, the
lamb goes. It has to. When the bones that are broken
mend, the shepherd puts the lamb down. And because of
the close bond that is now between the shepherd and the lamb, the lamb stays
extra close to the shepherd.
David, the shepherd king, had done a terrible thing. He committed adultery with Bathsheba and then
had her husband killed. When he finally
was broken and admitted his sin, he wrote,
(Ps 51:8 NKJV) Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones
You have broken may rejoice.
Just like straying lambs, we sometimes have to be trained
by our broken bones. Those times of brokenness are a chance for you to bond
with your Shepherd
After Israel’s time of chastisement as a nation, they would be “done” with
idols. They had learned their lesson.
(Heb 12:11 NKJV) Now no
chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless,
afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
“Chastening” is when God allows something difficult into our life as a way
of getting our attention, like a parent spanking their disobedient child.
If we, as the disobedient child, will pay attention to the lesson God wants
to teach us, then we are “trained” by the chastening and we find the peaceable
fruit of righteousness growing in our lives.