God had Hosea act out in his own marriage the sad story of covenant betrayal, infidelity and divorce and then the amazing mercy of faithful love, forgiveness and remarriage. This is a prophetic book where the names of all the players have very special significance. The cultural context of material prosperity reminds us of the blessings that we take for granted today. Yet the people have responded by turning away from God and taking advantage of the vulnerable segments of society
God Demonstrates His Loyal Love throughout the Repeated Cycles of Unfaithfulness, Discipline and Restoration
Hosea 14:4 “I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely, For My anger has turned away from them.”
I. (1:1 – 3:5) ISRAEL’S INFIDELITY ILLUSTRATED BY MARRIAGE OF FAITHFUL PROPHET AND ADULTEROUS WIFE
A. (1:1) Setting
B. (1:2-9) Significance of Marriage to Gomer and Subsequent Children
C. (1:10-11) Messianic Restoration of Israel
D. (2:1-13) Indictment Against Adulterous Israel with Promised Subsequent Discipline
E. (2:14-23) Millennial Restoration of Israel – Additional Details
F. (3:1-5) Loyal Love Demonstrated in Renewal of the Marriage
II. (4:1 – 13:16) ISRAEL’S INDICTMENT AND CERTAIN JUDGMENT
A. (4:1-3) Summary of God’s Case Against Israel
B. (4:4 – 6:3) The First Indictment: The LORD indicts the nation for a lack of knowledge and a rejection of knowledge of the LORD so that they will understand the
coming affliction which will cause them to turn to Him and be restored
C. (6:4 – 11:11) The Second Indictment: The LORD indicts Israel and Judah for having a lack of loyal love [kindness] in order that they might understand the coming
purifying judgment and possibly repent to their loyal God who will restore them to the Land
D. (11:12 – 13:16) The Third Indictment: The LORD indicts Israel for having a lack of faithfulness so that they will understand their coming judgment and return to Him
who will not completely destroy them due to His faithfulness
III. (14:1-9) ISRAEL’S RESTORATION AND FUTURE BLESSING
A. (:1-3) Call for Repentance and Faith = Conditions for Restoration
B. (:4-8) Comfort in the Lord’s Forgiveness, Healing, Blessing, Sufficiency
C. (:9) Closing Charge – Listen Up / Understand / Obey
WHY STUDY THIS BOOK?
– Appreciate God’s unfailing love and faithfulness
– Understand that God still has a program for the Jewish nation that includes Millennial Kingdom
– Apply Forgiveness and restoration in marriage relationships
– Know that God will discipline His people for sin and idolatry
– See the picture of redemption from the slave market in Hosea buying back Gomer
– Grow in our intimate knowledge of God
Leon Wood: By this time there had been peace for many years, and with it had come economic prosperity. The land was again producing abundantly (2 Chron 26:10), and many people were becoming wealthy. Luxuries had once more become common. Building activity was flourishing on every hand (Hos 8:14), and this led to a widespread feeling of pride (Amos 3:15; 5:11; Isa 9:10). Though people are pleased with conditions of this kind, seldom does prosperity lead to behavior that pleases God. This was true at this time in Israel. Social and moral conditions developed that were wrong and degrading. Side by side with wealth, extreme poverty existed. Through dishonest gain and false balances, the strong took advantage of the weak (Hos 12:7; Isa 5:8; Amos 8:5-6). Those who had wealth felt free to oppress the orphans and widows, and even to buy and sell the destitute on the public markets (Amos 8:4, 8). Justice seemed at a premium, and the courts apparently did little to help.
Wikipedia: First, Hosea was directed by God to marry a promiscuous woman of ill-repute, and he did so. Marriage here is symbolic of the covenantal relationship between God and Israel. However, Israel has been unfaithful to God by following other gods and breaking the commandments which are the terms of the covenant, hence Israel is symbolized by a harlot who violates the obligations of marriage to her husband.
Second, Hosea and his wife, Gomer, have a son. God commands that the son be named Jezreel. This name refers to a valley in which much blood had been shed in Israel’s history, especially by the kings of the Northern Kingdom. (See I Kings 21 and II Kings 9:21–35). The naming of this son was to stand as a prophecy against the reigning house of the Northern Kingdom, that they would pay for that bloodshed. Jerel’s name means God Sows.
Third, the couple have a daughter. God commands that she be named Lo-ruhamah; Unloved, or, Pity or Pitied On to show Israel that, although God will still have pity on the Southern Kingdom, God will no longer have pity on the Northern Kingdom; its destruction is imminent. In the NIV translation, the omitting of the word ‘him’ leads to speculation as to whether Lo-Ruhamah was the daughter of Hosea or one of Gomer’s lovers. James Mays, however, says that the failure to mention Hosea’s paternity is “hardly an implication” of Gomer’s adultery.
Fourth, a son is born to Gomer. It is questionable whether this child was Hosea’s, for God commands that his name be Lo-ammi. The child bore this name of shame to show that the Northern Kingdom would also be shamed, for its people would no longer be known as God’s People. In other words, the Northern Kingdom had been rejected by God.
J. Sidlow Baxter: THE PROPHET OF PERSEVERING LOVE
All the trouble in that ten tribed kingdom of long ago originated in the worship of the
two golden calves which king Jeroboam installed at Dan and Bethel. By the time Hosea
lived, those calves and the illicit cult which grew up around them had brought the
nation to such a moral condition that Divine judgment could be staved off little longer.
PROLOGUE (i.-iii.) – The whole story in symbol
I. ISRAEL’S SIN INTOLERABLE: GOD IS HOLY (iv.-vii.)
The Fivefold Indictment (iv., v.)
Israel’s Unreal “Return” (vi.)
Healing Made Impossible (vii.)
II. ISRAEL SHALL BE PUNISHED: GOD IS JUST (viii.-x.)
The Trumpet of Judgment (viii)
These chapters throughout are expressions of wrath to come
III. ISRAEL SHALL BE RSTORED: GOD IS LOVE (xi.-xiv.)
Divine Yearning (xi.)
Yet Israel Must Suffer (xii., etc.)
The Final victory of Love (xiv.)
John MacArthur: The theme of Hosea is God’s loyal love for His covenant people, Israel, in spite of their idolatry. Thus Hosea has been called the St. John (the apostle of love) of the OT. The Lord’s true love for His people is unending and will tolerate no rival. Hosea’s message contains much condemnation, both national and individual, but at the same time he poignantly portrays the love of God toward His people with passionate emotion. Hosea was instructed by God to marry a certain woman, and experience with her a domestic life which was a dramatization of the sin and unfaithfulness of Israel. The marital life of Hosea and his wife, Gomer, provide the rich metaphor which clarifies the themes of the book: sin, judgment, and forgiving love.
Robert Chisholm Jr.: Though Hosea’s prophecy contains some calls to repentance, he did not expect a positive response. Judgment was inescapable. In implementing the curses, the Lord would cause the nation to experience infertility, military invasion, and exile. Several times Hosea emphasized the justice of God by indicating that His divine punishment fit the crimes perfectly.
However, the Lord would not abandon Israel totally. Despite its severity, each judgment was disciplinary and was intended to turn Israel back to God. Hosea’s own reconciliation with his wayward wife illustrated Israel’s ultimate restoration.