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 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.
11:1-12 God’s love for Israel
:1 “When Israel was a child, I loved him,
And out of Egypt I called My son.
:1 out of Egypt
In the early stages of the nation’s history, Israel had been in bondage to
the Egyptians when God sent Moses to deliver them. Israel came out of Egypt.
This verse also has a future prophetic implication as well.
Matthew tells how Joseph had taken Mary and the baby Jesus to Egypt to
escape from Herod, and when they returned it was a fulfillment of Hosea:
(Mt 2:14–15 NKJV)
—14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and
departed for Egypt, 15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled
which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I
called My Son.”
We’re going to see this morning
that sometimes the stories of the Old Testament paint prophetic pictures of what
is to come.
:2 As they called them, So they went from
them; They sacrificed to the Baals, And burned
incense to carved images.
The more God spoke through the prophets, the more the people ran from God.
:3 “I taught Ephraim to walk, Taking them by their
arms; But they did not know that I healed them.
:3 I taught Ephraim to walk
The picture is that of teaching a child to walk.
:4 I drew them with gentle cords, With bands of
love, And I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck. I stooped and
:4 gentle cords … bands of love
Hosea is painting a picture of God’s preferred method of leading His
How does God lead you?
God talks about being the one to take the “yoke” from their neck and
leading them with “bands of love”.
God desires to lead you with His love, not His discipline
But sometimes we don’t like to pay attention to His gentle leading.
Sometimes we are stubborn and only go where we are forced to go, forced
with the “yoke”.
In one of David’s psalms of confession and repentance, he talks about God’s
(Ps 32:8–9 NKJV)
—8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will
guide you with My eye. 9 Do not be like the horse or
like the mule,
Which have no understanding, Which must
be harnessed with bit and bridle, Else they will not come near you.
SECRET TO A LONG MARRIAGE
A couple was celebrating their golden wedding anniversary. Their domestic
tranquility had long been the talk of the town. A local newspaper reporter was
inquiring as to the secret of their long and happy marriage. “Well, it dates
back to our honeymoon,” explained the man. “We visited the Grand Canyon and
took a trip down to the bottom of the canyon by pack mule. We hadn’t gone too
far when my wife’s mule stumbled. My wife quietly said, “That’s once.” We
proceeded a little farther when the mule stumbled again. Once more my wife
quietly said, “That’s twice.” We hadn’t gone a half mile when the mule stumbled
a third time. My wife promptly removed a revolver from her pocket and shot him.
I started to protest over her treatment of the mule when she looked at me and
quietly said, ‘That’s once.’”
Is that how God has to motivate you?
God prefers to motive you with “bands of
love”. Paul wrote,
(2 Co 5:14 NKJV) For the love of Christ compels us…
You may question God’s love for you, but
the answer to the question is found at the cross:
(1 Jn 3:16a NKJV) By this we
know love, because He laid down His life for us.
(Jn 14:15 NKJV) “If you
love Me, keep My commandments.
:5 “He shall not
return to the land of Egypt; But the Assyrian shall be his king, Because they
refused to repent.
ForButNow He will remember their iniquity and punish their sins.They shall return to Egypt.
:6 And the sword shall slash in his cities, Devour
his districts, And consume them, Because of their own counsels.
:7 My people are bent on backsliding from Me.
Though they call to the Most High, None at all exalt Him.
:7 bent on backsliding from Me
This is their intent. The people have no intention of turning to God.
:7 Though they call to the Most High,
None at all exalt Him
The idea is that even though the people are calling God the most important
thing in their life, they don’t really mean it, and God is not going to respond
to their cries.
(Is 29:13 NKJV) …these
people draw near with their mouths And honor Me with their lips, But have
removed their hearts far from Me…
Jesus quoted this passage when He was dealing with hypocrites who were more
concerned about what people thought of them than what God thought of them.
:8 “How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can
I hand you over, Israel? How can I make you like Admah?
How can I set you like Zeboiim? My heart
churns within Me; My sympathy is stirred.
:8 Admah … Zeboiim
These were lesser known cities that were destroyed by fire and brimstone
along with the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. (Gen. 14:8; Dt. 29:23)
:8 My heart churns within Me
God’s heart is a mess. He’s torn up inside.
God still cares for His people.
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;And scourges every son whom He receives.”
:9 I will not execute the fierceness of My anger;
I will not again destroy Ephraim. For I am God, and not man, The Holy One in your midst; And I will not come with
:9 For I am God, and not man
Not angry like me
Sometimes when the Bible uses words to describe God like “wrath” or
“angry”, we think that God is just like us and that He gets angry just like we
We are so, so wrong.
God may be angry at your sin, or the pain you’ve caused yourself and
others, but God is not looking to destroy you.
I like “revenge” movies. I like it when the good guy gets back at the bad
Did you hear the line, “God would have mercy, he won’t”?
Be careful of thinking that God is like Rambo. God isn’t like us. God isn’t
looking forward to the day when all the “bad guys” get what’s coming to them.
(Eze 33:11 NKJV) Say to
them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God,
‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from
his way and live.
We need to be careful about our anger.
NKJV) —19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow
to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Be careful of thinking that God supports you in your
“anger”. Most likely He doesn’t.
:10 “They shall walk after the Lord. He will roar like a lion. When He
roars, Then His sons shall come trembling from
:11 They shall come trembling like a bird from
Egypt, Like a dove from the land of Assyria. And I will let them dwell in their
houses,” Says the Lord.
:10 They shall walk after the Lord
One day they will come back to God.
:12 “Ephraim has encircled Me with lies, And the
house of Israel with deceit; But Judah still walks with God, Even with the Holy
One who is faithful.
:12 Ephraim has encircled Me with lies
For now, the northern kingdom is still in rebellion against God.
12:1-14 Prophetic Lessons
12:1 “Ephraim feeds on the wind, And pursues the
east wind; He daily increases lies and desolation. Also
they make a covenant with the Assyrians, And oil is carried to Egypt.
:1 Assyrians … Egypt
These are the various powers that the northern kingdom is reaching out to
in order to keep going. They are willing to trust anyone but the Lord.
:2 “The Lord
also brings a charge against Judah,
There will be a time when the southern kingdom strays.
:2 And will punish Jacob according to his ways;
According to his deeds He will recompense him.
:3 He took his brother by the heel in the womb,
And in his strength he struggled with God.
:4 Yes, he struggled with the Angel and prevailed;
He wept, and sought favor from Him. He found Him in Bethel, And there He spoke to us—
:5 That is, the Lord
God of hosts. The Lord is
His memorable name.
:2 will punish Jacob according to his
Jacob was given another name from God, “Israel”. Jacob was the father of
the twelve tribes, the entire nation of Israel.
:3 took his brother by the heel
Jacob’s name means literally “heel catcher”. He was a tricky guy who might
trip you up. He got his name at birth when he was born holding on to his twin
brother Esau’s heel. (Gen. 25:26)
:4 he struggled with the Angel and
When Jacob came back from Syria with his family, he spent a night wrestling
with God before he would meet his brother Esau. (Gen. 32:24-28)
Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He
touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint
as He wrestled with him. But
Though Jacob was a “tricky” guy, things changed when he wrestled with God.
He “prevailed” over God only because God broke him. His name was changed to
“Israel”, meaning “God prevails”
Hosea gives us the insight that Jacob was reduced to tears as he was facing
possible death at the hands of his brother.
The nation of Israel had become a nation of deceivers.
Their only hope was to be broken by God and change.
:6 So you, by the help of your God, return;
Observe mercy and justice, And wait on your God continually.
:7 “A cunning Canaanite! Deceitful scales are
in his hand; He loves to oppress.
:8 And Ephraim said, ‘Surely I have become rich, I
have found wealth for myself; In all my labors They shall find in me no
iniquity that is sin.’
:9 “But I am the Lord your God, Ever since the land of Egypt; I will again
make you dwell in tents, As in the days of the appointed feast.
:9 make you dwell in tents
God will humble this wealthy people and they will find themselves living in
tents like the feast of Succoth instead of their fine houses.
:10 I have also spoken by the prophets, And have
multiplied visions; I have given symbols through the witness of the prophets.”
:10 spoken by the prophets
Hosea has been showing that there are lessons for Israel from the stories
of the lives of the prophets of old.
:11 Though Gilead has idols— Surely they
are vanity— Though they sacrifice bulls in Gilgal,
Indeed their altars shall be heaps in the furrows of the field.
:11 Gilgal has idols
There was plenty of worship apparently going on in Gilgal,
but their sacrifices weren’t helping anything.
:12 Jacob fled to the country of Syria; Israel
served for a spouse, And for a wife he tended sheep.
:12 Jacob fled to the country of Syria
Again we go back to the life of Jacob, one of the prophets whose life was a
When he tricked his father into giving him the blessing, he fled from his
brother Esau and went to Haran where he served his uncle Laban in order to
marry Rachel and Leah.
Like Jacob, the nation will be put into exile in distant lands, but will
eventually come back to God.
:13 By a prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, And by a prophet he was
:14 Ephraim provoked Him to anger most
bitterly; Therefore his Lord will leave the guilt of his bloodshed upon him,
And return his reproach upon him.
:13 by a prophet …
Moses was the prophet that brought Israel out of Egypt.
The point is that God uses His prophets to direct and protect the nation.
The people ought to pay attention to Hosea and his warnings.
:4 He found Him in Bethel
In Hosea’s day, Bethel was one of the places of idolatry where the golden
calf was worshipped.
In Jacob’s day, Bethel was a place for meeting God, a place of repentance.
The first time Jacob was in Bethel, he had a dream about God, and he
promised to follow God.
(Ge 28:20–21 NKJV) —20 Then Jacob
made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am
going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, 21 so that I
come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God.
Notice that “LORD” is in all capital letters, telling us
that the Hebrew word here is actually the name of God, “Yahweh”. This is God’s
unique, special name, His “memorable” name (Hos. 12:5). Jacob is promising that Yahweh would one day
be “his god”.
God did bring Jacob back to the land, but when he got back, his family got
into trouble. His daughter Dinah was raped and his sons wiped out an entire
city. Jacob took his family back to Bethel where he once more met with God. His
instructions to his family included this:
(Ge 35:2–3 NKJV) —2 And Jacob
said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the
foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your
garments. 3 Then let us arise and go up to Bethel; and I will make an altar there
to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me in the
way which I have gone.”
The lesson for Hosea’s day was that Bethel was supposed to be a place for coming
BACK to God, not worshipping idols.
It was supposed to be a place for the worship of Yahweh.
For some of you, church is just where you do your “religion”.
You think that coming to church is a good way to make up for the rest of
the week, for all the stuff you do that makes you feel guilty.
Coming to church isn’t enough.
Learn to do what Jacob did.
Learn to change. Learn to put away the things that need to go.
It starts by truly opening up your heart to Jesus Christ. It might involve “wrestling” with God. It will involve brokenness on your part.