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Hosea 11-12

Sunday Morning Bible Study

December 8, 2013


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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.

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.

Show Baby walking video clip

: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 fed them.

:4 gentle cords … bands of love

Hosea is painting a picture of God’s preferred method of leading His people.

gentle cords – some translate this as “cords of human kindness”(NIV) (NAS – “cords of a man”). The word for “gentle” is literally “man” (adam)

gentleadam – man, mankind

cordschebel – a cord, rope, territory, band, company; pain, sorrow, travail, pang

bands‘aboth – cord, rope, cordage, foliage, interwoven foliage

love‘ahabah – love

Is this related to the cords that are sometimes used in wedding ceremonies to tie a couple together?


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 leading:
(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.
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.

Jesus said,

(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.

:5 He shall not return to the land of Egypt

Even though Hosea has already said that the people would “return to Egypt” (Hos. 8:13), the actual returning to slavery would be mostly to the Assyrians.

(Ho 8:13 NKJV) —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.

: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

Perhaps a better translation of this phrase would be:

(Ho 11:7 NIV) …Even though they call me God Most High, I will by no means exalt them.

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.

Isaiah wrote,

(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 AdmahZeboiim

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)

(Ge 14:8 NKJV) —8 And the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) went out and joined together in battle in the Valley of Siddim
(Dt 29:23 NKJV) —23 ‘The whole land is brimstone, salt, and burning; it is not sown, nor does it bear, nor does any grass grow there, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, which the Lord overthrew in His anger and His wrath.’

:8 My heart churns within Me

churnshaphak – to turn, overthrow, overturn; to be upturned

sympathynichuwm – comfort, compassion

stirredkamar – to yearn, be kindled, be black (hot), grow warm and tender, be or grow hot, become hot, become emotionally agitated

The language here paints an emotional picture of God.

God’s heart is a mess. He’s torn up inside.  God still cares for His people.

All for His people.


God still cares

When you go through times where you are facing some sort of judgment over a stupid thing that you did, don’t think that God’s attitude is one of indifference.
Don’t think that He’s glad to see you suffer.
Everything that God does for us, He does out of love, even when He disciplines us.
(Heb 12:5–6 NKJV) —5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”

There are times when our kids do things that aren’t right. They will do things that are harmful. A loving parent will do the difficult thing and discipline his child.

He is not against you.
(Ro 8:31–34 NKJV) —31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

: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 terror.

: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 do.
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 guy.
Play Rambo III movie trailer clip

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.
(Jas 1:19–20 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 the west;

: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.

Charles Ryrie writes: Though judgment was imminent, God would one day roar like a lion summoning its young, and Israel, trembling with eagerness, would be restored and regathered to her land.

: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 Judah still walks with God

For now. There will be a time when Judah walks away from the Lord as well.

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 Ephraim feeds on the wind


Watch your diet

They say you are what you eat.

: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 ways

Now the entire nation is included in the warnings of judgment.

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)

(Ge 25:26 NKJV) —26 Afterward his brother came out, and his hand took hold of Esau’s heel; so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.

:4 he struggled with the Angel and prevailed

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)

(Ge 32:24–28 NKJV) —24 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. 25 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. 26 And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” 27 So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.” 28 And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”

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.

:7 A cunning Canaanite

The Jews entered into the land of Canaan and ended up being like the Canaanites. They became deceitful merchants.

: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.’

:8 Surely I have become rich

The northern kingdom was thinking that because of its wealth, it was in good standing with God.

The Laodicean church, known as the “lukewarm church”, felt the same way:

(Re 3:16–18 NKJV) —16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.

It is not a sin to be wealthy. The trap of being wealthy is thinking that you don’t need God.

: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

Hosea is referring to the feast of “Succoth”, where the people would live in tents for a week, remembering what it was like to live in the wilderness.

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.

The lives of the prophets are “symbols” or “lessons” that the nation ought to pay attention to.

: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.

:11 altars … heaps

Play “Tel Megiddo” map clip.

In Israel you will see lots of “hills” or “mounds” that are not natural hills. They are the ancient cities that were destroyed in various battles in ancient times, now long buried under the dirt.
The archaeologists have been busy taking one tel after another (like Tel Megiddo) and peeling back the layers of one ancient city after another, built on top of the ruins of the previous city.

: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 prophetic picture.

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 preserved.

:13 brought Israel out of Egypt

: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


Finding God

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.