Hosea 6-8

Thursday Evening Bible Study

March 2, 2006


Hosea had an unusual home life. God has asked him to marry a prostitute named Gomer. He had children with Gomer. Gomer went back to work. And God asked Hosea to get his wife back. Hosea’s life was to be a picture of God’s relationship with His people. They were like a prostitute because they always fell away from God and worshipped idols. When we fall away from the Lord, it’s the same kind of pain to God that we would experience if our spouse was unfaithful to us.

Hosea’s main ministry was to get the people ready for the coming judgment on the northern kingdom. God was warning the people to turn back to Him or they would eventually face the collapse of their nation followed by being taken captive by the terribly cruel Assyrian empire.

Hosea 6

:1-3 Call to repent

:1 Come, and let us return to the LORD; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up.

He has torn – like a lion (5:14).


Wounds and healing

When God wounds us, He has a purpose.
The Burning Hut

The only survivor of a shipwreck washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions. But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened; everything was lost. He was stung with grief and anger. “God, how could you do this to me!” he cried.

Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. “How did you know I was here?” asked the weary man of his rescuers. “We saw your smoke signal, they replied.

God’s wounds are like surgery. If you don’t make the incision, you can’t correct the heart problem.
(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.

Coach Lou Holtz who used to coach the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, and now coaches at South Carolina, is legendary in his adherence to discipline.

“When it comes to discipline here,” Holtz says, “We ask three questions: Will it make him a better man? A better student? A better athlete? If the answer is yes, we make him do it. The next step is up to him. An individual has a choice when you discipline him: either to become bitter or better.”

Sometimes God has to allow us to go through difficult times to get us to wake up. If we learn the lessons we’re supposed to learn, then we see God produce a good crop of “righteousness” in our lives.

:2 After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, That we may live in His sight.

The Bible says,

(Psa 90:4 NKJV) For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it is past, And like a watch in the night.

(2 Pet 3:8 NKJV) But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

What if you took this verse to say, “After two thousand years He will revive us …”

It is interesting that even though the nation had a time of rebirth after the Babylonian captivity, they would again be destroyed by the Romans forty years after having rejected Jesus as their Messiah. It was roughly two thousand years (or two days in God’s eyes) later that Israel was brought back again as a nation in 1948.

:3 Let us know, Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, Like the latter and former rain to the earth.

as the morning – the morning comes every day. You can depend upon it. You can depend on God’s “going forth” as well. He will come. He will help.

For Israel, their total salvation will come when Jesus returns.

(Rom 11:26 NKJV) And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;

like the rain – this is what the land of Israel lives for. They are in a desert area. Unless they have lands next to the Jordan river, they are dependant upon the rain for survival.

like the latter and former rainIsrael has two rainy seasons during the year, they needed both to bring the crops to harvest.

:4-11 Unrepentant

:4 "O Ephraim, what shall I do to you? O Judah, what shall I do to you? For your faithfulness is like a morning cloud, And like the early dew it goes away.

like a morning cloud – Think of the Southern California “June Gloom”. Looks ominous in the morning, but when the sun gets higher it burns off.

The people looked like they were serious about God, but it quickly faded.

(Mat 13:20-21 NKJV) "But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; {21} "yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.

:5 Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets, I have slain them by the words of My mouth; And your judgments are like light that goes forth.

slain them by the words of My mouth – reminds me of what will happen when Jesus comes back:

(Rev 19:15 NKJV)  Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations…

like light that goes forth – sounds like lightning.

:6 For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

I desirechaphets – to delight in, take pleasure in, desire, be pleased with

mercycheced – goodness, kindness, faithfulness


Mercy or sacrifice

Sacrifice is something instituted by God as a way for man to take care of his sin. God invented sacrifice. It is thought that the first sacrifice took place when an animal was slain and its skin was used to clothe Adam and Eve.
But sacrifice was not God’s first intent for man.
When Samuel told Saul that God wanted the Amalekites wiped out, Saul didn’t do all that God wanted him to. But he did come back with a lot of animals to sacrifice to God.

(1 Sam 15:22-23 NKJV) Then Samuel said: "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. {23} For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king."

God would rather that we learn to obey Him rather than always trying to fix what we’ve broken.

“Sacrifice” speaks of man’s religious efforts to make things right with God.
“Mercy” speaks of God’s heart of love, goodness, and kindness towards us, a love that we are supposed to have towards others.
Jesus quoted this passage twice:
(Mat 9:10-13 NKJV) Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. {11} And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, "Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" {12} When Jesus heard that, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. {13} "But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice.' For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."

Jesus told the Pharisees that they needed to go and learn what this verse meant.

His example to them was that it was important to be merciful to sinners. He showed mercy by having dinner with sinners. He showed mercy by risking to get close to them.

(Mat 12:1-8 NKJV) At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. {2} And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, "Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!" {3} But He said to them, "Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: {4} "how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? {5} "Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? {6} "Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. {7} "But if you had known what this means, 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless. {8} "For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."

Here the focus is on how the Pharisees were so legalistic that they did not have any compassion on people. They were so focused on condemning people they didn’t stop to think about needs.

God wants us to learn compassion – compassion for sinners, compassion for the hungry.

But we often get caught up in our forms of religion, whether it’s making lists of who is acceptable and who isn’t, or whether it’s coming up with rules and regulations about how we’re to live.

Learn mercy.

:7 "But like men they transgressed the covenant; There they dealt treacherously with Me.

men‘adam – man, mankind

This could refer to men in general, or it could refer to Adam, who was the first to sin.

:8 Gilead is a city of evildoers, And defiled with blood.

:9 As bands of robbers lie in wait for a man, So the company of priests murder on the way to Shechem; Surely they commit lewdness.

As bands of robbers lie in wait for a man – like a back alley in New York city

Shechem – a famous old city. It was also at one time the first capital of the northern kingdom under Jeroboam (1Ki. 12:25). It was on the road to Bethel, one of the centers of idol worship.

Some have suggested that priests were killing people on their way to worship.

lewdness – a word used to describe the most horrible of sexual sins, including incest (Lev. 18:17), cult prostitution (Lev. 19:29), rape (Jud. 20:5-6), and adultery (Job 31:9-11).

:10 I have seen a horrible thing in the house of Israel: There is the harlotry of Ephraim; Israel is defiled.

:11 Also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed for you,

A harvest of judgment.

:11 When I return the captives of My people.

This phrase fits best with the next chapter …

Hosea 7

:1-10 The Baker’s Oven

:1 "When I would have healed Israel, Then the iniquity of Ephraim was uncovered, And the wickedness of Samaria. For they have committed fraud; A thief comes in; A band of robbers takes spoil outside.

Samaria – the capital of the northern kingdom

God wanted to restore and heal His people, but instead God only uncovers more sin in them.

:2 They do not consider in their hearts That I remember all their wickedness; Now their own deeds have surrounded them; They are before My face.

God remembers our sins, until we confess them. Then He forgets.

:3 They make a king glad with their wickedness, And princes with their lies.

:4 "They are all adulterers. Like an oven heated by a baker; He ceases stirring the fire after kneading the dough, Until it is leavened.

like an oven heated by a baker – Hosea is going to describe the wickedness of the leaders, who are on fire with evil passion.

:5 In the day of our king Princes have made him sick, inflamed with wine; He stretched out his hand with scoffers.

:6 They prepare their heart like an oven, While they lie in wait; Their baker sleeps all night; In the morning it burns like a flaming fire.

like an oven – preheating an oven, getting it hot, enflaming a person’s passions more and more.

Bakers don’t normally sleep all night. They get up early to get the bread baking. This baker, probably a picture of the king, sleeps through the night and instead of the fire having gone out, it’s raging like an inferno.

:7 They are all hot, like an oven, And have devoured their judges; All their kings have fallen. None among them calls upon Me.

kings have fallen – of the last six kings of the northern kingdom, four of them were murdered.

:8 "Ephraim has mixed himself among the peoples; Ephraim is a cake unturned.

The northern kingdom had made alliances with other foreign nations, like mixing a cake with flour and oil.

a cake unturned – (a metaphor) like a pancake on a griddle that’s been forgotten, and it’s burnt to a crisp.

With the metaphor of the oven, the people are heating up their environment with more and more passion until they get burned. You don’t eat it if it’s burned, you just throw it out.

If you play with fire, you might get burned.

:9 Aliens have devoured his strength, But he does not know it; Yes, gray hairs are here and there on him, Yet he does not know it.

He can’t see that he’s getting too old.

:10 And the pride of Israel testifies to his face, But they do not return to the LORD their God, Nor seek Him for all this.

:11-16 Looking for help from wrong places

:11 "Ephraim also is like a silly dove, without sense; They call to Egypt, They go to Assyria.

like a silly dove – walking all over the place. The foreign policy of the northern kingdom was bouncing back and forth, making alliances with Assyria, then breaking them, then making new alliances, breaking them … silly.

EgyptAssyria – the various nations they tried allying with.

:12 Wherever they go, I will spread My net on them; I will bring them down like birds of the air; I will chastise them According to what their congregation has heard.

:13 "Woe to them, for they have fled from Me! Destruction to them, Because they have transgressed against Me! Though I redeemed them, Yet they have spoken lies against Me.

:14 They did not cry out to Me with their heart When they wailed upon their beds. "They assemble together for grain and new wine, They rebel against Me;

:15 Though I disciplined and strengthened their arms, Yet they devise evil against Me;

:16 They return, but not to the Most High; They are like a treacherous bow. Their princes shall fall by the sword For the cursings of their tongue. This shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.

like a treacherous bow – a bow that’s unreliable, an archer isn’t sure if it’s going to shoot like it should, or if it will break.


Wrong choices

What are some of the things that people do when they get into trouble?
Some drink.

There’s this little guy sitting in a bar just looking at his drink. He sits that way for a half an hour. Then this big trouble-making truck driver step up next to him, takes the drink from the guy and drinks it. The poor man starts crying. The trucker says, “Come on, man, I was just joking. Here, I’ll buy you another one. I can’t stand to see a man cry.” “No, that’s not it”, the little guy says to the thug. “It’s just that today was the worst day of my life. First, I overslept and missed an important meeting and the boss fired me. When I walked outside to drive home, my car was stolen. The police said they could do nothing. “I got a cab to return home, and after I paid the driver and the cab was gone I discovered I had left my wallet in the cab. “I got home only to find my wife in bed with the gardener. I left home and came to this bar. And just when I was thinking about putting an end to my life, you show up and drink my poison.”

For some of us, it’s kind of a reflex action to trust in the wrong thing.
We get angry.  We worry.  We rant and rave.
Oh if we could only have a knee-jerk reaction to trust in the Lord rather than look to the wrong things for help.
(Isa 45:22 NKJV)  "Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.
(Psa 20:7 NKJV)  Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God.

What’s one way that you can express trust in the Lord during a difficult time?  Pray.

Hosea 8

:1-14 Israel’s apostasy

:1 "Set the trumpet to your mouth! He shall come like an eagle against the house of the LORD, Because they have transgressed My covenant And rebelled against My law.

Assyria will come against the northern kingdom with speed, “like an eagle”.

:2 Israel will cry to Me, 'My God, we know You!'

But will God say, “I knew you”?

(Mat 7:21-27 NKJV) "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. {22} "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' {23} "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' {24} "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: {25} "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. {26} "But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: {27} "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall."

:3 Israel has rejected the good; The enemy will pursue him.

:4 "They set up kings, but not by Me; They made princes, but I did not acknowledge them. From their silver and gold They made idols for themselves; That they might be cut off.

:5 Your calf is rejected, O Samaria! My anger is aroused against them; How long until they attain to innocence?

the calf of Samaria – talking about the two golden calves that Jeroboam had set up for the people to worship. The calves were located in the city of Bethel and the tribe of Dan.

(1 Ki 12:28-29 NKJV) Therefore the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to the people, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!" {29} And he set up one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan.

:6 For from Israel is even this: A workman made it, and it is not God; But the calf of Samaria shall be broken to pieces.

:7 "They sow the wind, And reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no bud; It shall never produce meal. If it should produce, Aliens would swallow it up.

Israel sowed the wind of idolatry and reaped the whirlwind of destruction.


Sowing and reaping

There is a principle in life: You reap what you sow.
We’ve seen some reaping and sowing at the Olympics this year.  Bode Miller was touted as America’s great hope on the ski slope.  They expected him to come home with five gold medals.  What was different about Bode was his party life style.  He seemed to laugh in the face of discipline.  He didn’t come home with a single medal.
A tenant farmer had worked hard for many years to improve the production of the land.  Then something happened that caused him to become very bitter.  When it was time to renew his lease, the owner told him he was going to sell the farm to his son who was getting married.  The tenant made several generous offers to buy it himself, hoping the man’s decision would be reversed.  But it was all in vain.  As the day drew near for the farmer to vacate his home, his weeks of angry brooding finally got the best of him.  He gathered seeds from some of the most pesky and noxious weeds he could find.  Then he spent many hours scattering them on the clean, fertile soil of the farm, along with a lot of trash and stones he had collected.  To his dismay, the very next morning the owner informed him that plans for his son’s wedding had fallen through, and therefore he would be happy to renew the lease. 
He had sown.  Now he would reap.
The Bible says,
(Gal 6:7-10 NKJV) 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. {9} And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. {10} Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
George Munzing wrote, “If you cheat in practice, you’ll cheat in the game. If you cheat in your head, you’ll cheat on the test. You’ll cheat on the girl. You’ll cheat in business. You’ll cheat on your mate. Sow a thought, reap an act. Sow an act, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny.”
On the other hand, if we sow to the Spirit, we will reap huge rewards.

:8 Israel is swallowed up; Now they are among the Gentiles Like a vessel in which is no pleasure.

:9 For they have gone up to Assyria, Like a wild donkey alone by itself; Ephraim has hired lovers.

a wild donkey along by itself – a donkey is a stubborn animal. It does not want anyone telling it what to do. A wild donkey is even more stubborn.

:10 Yes, though they have hired among the nations, Now I will gather them; And they shall sorrow a little, Because of the burden of the king of princes.

God will gather them up for judgment. The “burden” was the tribute money they would have to collect to pay the king of Assyria, the “king of princes”.

:11 "Because Ephraim has made many altars for sin, They have become for him altars for sinning.

They had lots of religion in the land. Lots of places to offer sacrifices. But because God wasn’t accepting their sacrifices, these were altars of “sinning”.


More religion

More religion isn’t better
It would be like coming home to your wife and saying to her, “Honey, being married to you has made me so happy that I’ve decided to get married to someone else!”
Elvis was apparently fond of wearing lots of gold jewelry from various religions. When someone asked him why he wore things from so many different beliefs, he said something like, “Just coverin’ all my bases. Uh-huh”
Wrong attitude.
Correct religion is what God is looking for.
Correct religion is centered on Jesus.

(John 14:6 NKJV) Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

(Acts 4:12 NKJV) "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

Correct religion brings a change to the person

(John 3:3 NKJV) Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

(2 Cor 5:17 NKJV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

:12 I have written for him the great things of My law, But they were considered a strange thing.

:13 For the sacrifices of My offerings they sacrifice flesh and eat it, But the LORD does not accept them. Now He will remember their iniquity and punish their sins. They shall return to Egypt.

In Moses’ day, the people were delivered from slavery in Egypt.

In Hosea’s day, the people would be brought back into slavery, taken captive to Assyria.

In Jeremiah’s day, after the Babylonian conquest, a group went south to Egypt, fleeing from the Babylonians. They were wiped out.

:14 "For Israel has forgotten his Maker, And has built temples; Judah also has multiplied fortified cities; But I will send fire upon his cities, And it shall devour his palaces."