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 back.
Hosea’s life was to be a picture of God’s love for His people.
Even though there are lots of warnings of coming judgment, don’t forget
that the underlying theme is always about God’s love for His people.
5:1-15 Coming Judgment
:1 “Hear this, O priests! Take heed, O house of
Israel! Give ear, O house of the king! For yours is the judgment, Because you have been a snare to Mizpah And a net spread on
:1 snare to Mizpah
Hosea is using hunting language, as if the leaders have been “hunting” God’s
people, hunting them to make them follow the pagan gods.
Play Mizpah and Tabor map clip
There were several places known as Mizpah, but one that seems most likely
is located in the tribe of Benjamin, just north of Jerusalem.
A number of figurines of the goddess Astarte dating back to Hosea’s day
have been found there.
Tabor is a hill located up north near the Sea of Galilee. It most likely
was one of the “high places” where idolatry was practiced.
:2 The revolters are
deeply involved in slaughter, Though I rebuke them all.
:3 I know Ephraim, And Israel is not hidden from
Me; For now, O Ephraim, you commit harlotry; Israel is defiled.
:4 “They do not direct their deeds Toward turning
to their God, For the spirit of harlotry is in their midst, And they do not
know the Lord.
:5 The pride of Israel testifies to his face;
Therefore Israel and Ephraim stumble in their iniquity; Judah also stumbles
:5 Judah also stumbles with them
My sin affects others
Even though Hosea’s primary focus is on the northern kingdom, the southern
kingdom will be affected as well.
Some people want to be just like you. They are watching.
The Corinthians were proud over the fact that they
had a man in their church who was openly sleeping with his step mother. The
issue Paul had with them was that they had been unwilling to deal with the sin
and confront the man. Perhaps they thought they were just being “tolerant”. Paul
wrote to them:
(1 Co 5:6 NKJV) Your
glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the
If you stick a pinch of yeast into a lump of unleavened
dough, the yeast will multiply until the whole lump contains the yeast culture.
The open sin of this Corinthian man, known about by others
but not confronted by them, would eventually infect the entire church.
Sometimes we try to tell ourselves that our sin doesn’t affect others
It most certainly does. People may not even be completely aware of what our
“sin” is, but my sin affects others.
:6 “With their flocks and herds They shall go to
seek the Lord, But they will not
find Him; He has withdrawn Himself from them.
:7 They have dealt treacherously with the Lord, For they have begotten pagan
children. Now a New Moon shall devour them and their heritage.
:7 a New Moon shall devour them
We’re not talking about a movie with vampires and werewolves. (“New Moon”)
The New Moon was a monthly feast with sacrifices for the Jews.
But instead of God blessing them during their New Moon festivals, they will
find destruction instead.
God is not pleased with our religious actions when our hearts are not right
I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting.
:8 “Blow the ram’s horn in Gibeah, The trumpet in
Ramah! Cry aloud at Beth Aven, ‘Look
behind you, O Benjamin!’
:9 Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke;
Among the tribes of Israel I make known what is sure.
:8 Blow the ram’s horn
We think this next section (5:8 – 6:6) is describing the coming war between
Judah, a coalition between Israel and Syria (2Kings 16:1-7; Isaiah 7), and
:8 Gibeah …
Ramah … Beth Aven
Play Bethel map clip
We mentioned last week that Beth Aven is Hosea’s nickname
for the city of Bethel.
Bethel, Ramah, and GIbeahare are cities that lie
in the border area between the northern kingdom and the southern kingcom.
The coming Assyrian invasion will ultimately sweep through the northern
kingdom right up to the borders of the southern kingdom.
:10 “The princes of Judah are like those who
remove a landmark; I will pour out my wrath on them like water.
:10 Judah … those who remove a landmark
Landmarks were how property lines were established. Your farm might be
marked by a big tree in one corner, a big rock in another corner, and a creek
running down another side.
It was forbidden to move landmarks. (Deut. 19:14)
People moved landmarks to make their properties bigger and their neighbor’s
property smaller. It’s like stealing your neighbor’s property.
Perhaps the princes of Judah were stealing the people’s property.
Perhaps it might also be similar to when we change God’s Word (moving the
landmark) so we don’t offend people.
“Oh the Bible doesn’t really mean it’s wrong to sleep with your girlfriend.
It’s okay if you love each other…”
Wrong is wrong. Don’t move the landmark.
:11 Ephraim is oppressed and broken in
judgment, Because he willingly walked by human precept.
:12 Therefore I will be to Ephraim like a
moth, And to the house of Judah like rottenness.
:13 “When Ephraim saw his sickness, And Judah saw his wound, Then
Ephraim went to Assyria And sent to King Jareb; Yet
he cannot cure you, Nor heal you of your wound.
:13 he cannot cure you
Both Israel and Judah would try asking the Assyrians to help them, but the
Assyrians weren’t there to help, they were there to conquer.
The wrong doctor
Now I have to tell you that if I was looking for serious medical help, I
would want a real doctor, not just somebody who stayed at a Holiday Inn
Express, and not a person who just played a doctor on TV.
I want the real thing.
Jeremiah recorded God’s thoughts,
(Je 2:13 NKJV) “For My
people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of
And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.
One of the continual problems in ancient Israel was where
to find enough water. The picture that God is painting is that people were digging
cisterns to collect rain water, but they were flawed and wouldn’t hold
God is more than a “cistern”,
He’s a fountain of water that satisfies our souls.
If you are spiritually sick, you need to go to God.
Don’t settle for listening to “feel good” pop psychology that tells you
that everything is going to be okay and all you need to do is to “think positive”.
You may not like what God is going to say, but His medicine will cure your
soul. He’s the right doctor.
The man told his doctor that he wasn’t able to do all the
things around the house that he used to do. When the examination was complete,
he said, “Now, Doc, I can take it. Tell me in plain English what is wrong with
me.” “Well, in plain English,” the doctor replied, “you’re just lazy.” “Okay,”
said the man. “Now give me the medical term so I can tell my wife.”
God will tell you the truth.
:14 For I will be like a lion to Ephraim,
And like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear them
and go away; I will take them away, and no one shall rescue.
:15 I will return again to My place Till they
acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My
face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.”
6:1-3 Call to Repentance
: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.
:1 He has torn, but He will heal
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
(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.
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.
The whole point is to “return” to the Lord.
When we’re off track and we find ourselves facing difficulty, then turn
:2 After two days He will revive us; On the third
day He will raise us up, That we may live in His sight.
:2 On the third day He will raise us up
There are a couple of ways to look at this.
1) Israel’s rebirth
Israel would be dead for about two thousand years, but would be reborn in
2) Jesus’ resurrection (and ours)
Jesus rose from the dead after the second third day, and in a sense, we
rose with Him.
: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.
: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.
:4 your faithfulness is like a morning
Like a cloud that burns away in a few hours, Israel won’t stay faithful.
: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.
:6 For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the
knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
:7 “But like men they transgressed the covenant;
There they dealt treacherously with Me.
: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
:8-9 Gilead … Shechem
Play Gilead Shechem map clip
Both Ramoth Gilead and Shechem
had been designated as “Cities of Refuge”.
They were supposed to be places where the priests would live, teach the
people God’s ways, and act as judges among the people.
Now they just promoted wickedness.
: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,
When I return the captives of My people.
:11 a harvest is appointed for you
(Ho 6:11 NLT) “O Judah,
a harvest of punishment is also waiting for you, though I wanted to restore the
fortunes of my people.
:6 I desire mercy and not sacrifice
mercy – checed – goodness, kindness, faithfulness
Obedience and Mercy
“Sacrifice” is something instituted by God as a way for man to take care of
his sin. God invented sacrifice.
Jesus came and died on a cross to be the sacrifice to pay for our sins.
If you are a sinner who needs God’s forgiveness, there is forgiveness at
But God don’t think that God doesn’t want you to change
your sinful behavior.
King Saul had blown it big time. He thought that all he needed to do was
just make a sacrifice to God and everything would be fine.
(1 Sa 15:22 NLT) But Samuel
replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord:
your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience
is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of
God prefers obedience over “sacrifice”.
If we keep thinking that God doesn’t mind that we keep
repeating that certain sin over and over again as long as we ask for
forgiveness – we are fooling ourselves.
God wants us to learn to obey Him.
bow myself before the High God?Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings,TheAndBut to do justly,
“Mercy” speaks of God’s heart of love towards us, but also the love that we
are supposed to have towards others.
For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
(Mt 9:10–13 NKJV)
—10 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
Jesus told the Pharisees that they needed to go and learn
what this verse meant.
Hosea is a beautiful example of God’s mercy towards
sinners. Hosea brought his rebellious wife back and loved her.
God loved us sinners so much He sent His Son Jesus to die
As we continue to work our way through Hosea, we’ve seen lots of warnings
about judgment. But don’t forget that this is coming from a God who loves us.
And He wants us to be merciful to others. He wants us to “learn it”.