As we begin the actual study of the book of Hosea please go to your bible and read all of chapter one. It’s not that long, and I promise you will enjoy it!
K, that done Lets Dig In!
Hosea was a man who lived in Israel “during the reign…” of several kings. This is a very general date for us to go off from. We tend to get frustrated with this kind of thing, but it actually helps us much more than it would if we had been given actual numbers. What’s actually more important than the numerical dates of his ministry is what was going on in those times. There are four kings of Judah listed. This is because the kingdom of Judah was continuing on under the reign of a repentant and righteous king, for the time being. Hezekiah turned the hearts of his people back to God and they witnessed a miracle at their very gates as God defeated the Assyrians at their very door. Israel would have a very different fate.
There are several names listed in this chapter and all of them have significance and are not named for no reason. The most important of them of course is Hosea: a derivative of the name Joshua which means Savior/salvation. Next is Gomer: which points to corruption. The names of the kings as I had already mentioned. Beeri, Hosea’s father: whose name means well, pointing to the spring of life that his inspiration is coming from and the depths that are immeasurable of God’s wisdom. Diblaim, Gomers father: his name signifies two figs, meaning prosperity and plenty. Corruption has sprung from their prosperity and plenty. Jezreel: a horrible place of gore and death for the people of that time. Bloody justice was borne there and the glory for it did not go to God, but to a line of bloody kings. No Mercy: She is a picture pointing to the measure of God’s wrath that will pour out on them, and not repentant Judah (for now). And Not My People: I don’t think any of the names could be more clear than this one. God will call them, not his people!
Now, I don’t know about you, but even just from that I have a ton of questions! Isn’t it amazing that God would chose to speak to His broken people through a flawed human mouth piece and his flawed and broken family and home? What in the world? But, what beauty! That even through such a horrible and painful situation God moves and makes His people today see a measure of His greatness, even if they wouldn’t then!
Things also of note: This is the beginning of his ministry right now. “When the word of the LORD first came to Hosea” The first thing he does is take a wife that is known for being a whore. Everyone at this point definitely thought he was just a nutzo. Who does this and says that God told him to do so? I think as he continued in his ministry it becomes more clear that he is following the leading of the Lord in his life as he names his kids these crazy things; Jezreel, No Mercy, Not My People. And, as he continues to take back his harlot wife and her children of whoredom. Jezreel is born to him, but the other two it just says she conceived. He had a long life of suffering for the cause of God’s word. Just his marriage and the births of his children were years of loving a woman who would not be true.
And even with all of this the chapter ends with a promise and hope.
Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children of the living God.” And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head. And they shall go up from the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel. (ESV)
Verses 10 and 11 hold on to the promise that God had given His people. He would accomplish His part of the covenant, even though they could not keep theirs. How great can be the word YET! God is pointing all of us back to the goodness of His character and the perfection of His promises for us.
Bottom line and main theme: God has chosen His people for Himself. Now we have a choice to make. Will we be His people as He will be our God, or will we chose to follow our hearts and the things it seeks after? God wants for us to be wholly to Him, and He will make us Holy. He enables us to do all the things He wants us to but only through Him. I can do all things, but only through Christ who gives me strength! Will we chose to trust in Him and His promises even as the prosperity and plenty of all around us compellingly beckons us?
And now I have the questions for us. What are the things in your life that stand in the way of this for you? Where do you love the things in your life more than the hope of God?
And please give me your input on my format as I prepare the next chapters study. That would be super helpful!