Sunday, October 30, 2022



The Accusation Against the People


The prophets often acted as prosecutors. They stated God’s case against the Israelites for their violations of the covenant. In this chapter, Hosea presents God’s case against the Israelites. That is what he means by the Lord having a controversy with the inhabitants of the land. (1)

He says “hear the word of the Lord”, reminding us that this is God’s word and he is God’s prophet sent to speak this word. 

Previously in Hosea, God had spoken against Israel’s idolatry. That is the first accusation here. Israel has no faithfulness or steadfast love. They are unfaithful in that they worship other gods. They have no steadfast love for God that would make them shun other gods. 

The first commandment was to have no other gods. (Deuteronomy 5:7). The second was a prohibition against making idols. (Deuteronomy 5:8)

They were also commanded to “love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all you soul and with all your might”. (Deuteronomy 6:5) That would be steadfast love. But obviously they did not do that.  

They had abandoned the LORD to such an extent that there was no knowledge of God in the land. They had been commanded to teach God’s law diligently to their children and to talk about them constantly. (Deuteronomy 6:7) They had not done so.

As the Israelites drifted away from God, they violated other commandments and laws. God complains about these other sins, covenant violations, also. They were swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and adultery. (2) These are all violations of the commandments. 

Swearing, taking the Lord’s name n vain, is a violation of the third commandment. (Deuteronomy 5:11) Lying is a violation of the ninth commandment. Murder is a violation of the sixth commandment. Stealing is a violation of the eighth commandment. Adultery is a violation of the seventh commandment. 

Effect On The Land


The land and all creatures in it were affected by Israels breaking of the covenant. This is part of the covenant curses. (Deuteronomy 28:18) Again we see the connection to the Garden. Adam’s sin resulted in a curse of the ground and expulsion from the Garden of Eden. (Genesis 3:23-24) Romans 8:22 picks up this thought, saying the creation was subjected to futility. It groans waiting for the consumption of our salvation. 

Now, Israel’s sin results in the land ceasing to be bountiful for the Jews. Even the animals languish. Ultimately, Israel’s sin would result in expulsion from the land just as Adam was expelled from the Garden. 

Condemnation of Religious Leaders


In this passage, God contends with the religious leaders. First, He sets out their punishment. He will cause them to stumble. (5) To stumble or slip is a judgment. In Deuteronomy 32:35, where the Lord speaks through Moses to tell of judgment for turning to idols in the future, says “for the time when their foot shall slip”. 

In a land of dirt roads and paths, filled with stones, one could slip and fall and hurt themselves if they were not careful. 

 He will also destroy the nation. “Your mother” means Israel, the northern kingdom. He used this same metaphor in verse 2, chapter 2. 

The accusation is that the priests and prophets have rejected knowledge, causing the people to be destroyed for lack of knowledge. The priests abandoned God’s word. They have not taught the people the covenant laws and regulations. 

Because they rejected knowledge, God rejects them as his priests. (6)  Because they have forgotten God’s law, he will forget the people, meaning he will cease to be their God and consider them his people. They will not have his protection or blessings. 

As the priests increased in number, the more they sinned. They seemed to relish the sin of the people. Therefore, God will  change their glory into shame. (7) They would no longer have the special status and privilege afforded to the priests. 

There is a similar condemnation of the priests in the book of Malachi. He said “For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from is mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of Hosts. But you have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the Lord of hosts, and so I make you despised and abased before all the people…”. (Malachi 2:9) 

The people followed the priests into sin. (9) Instead of finding joy in the Lord, they turned to partying, excessive drinking and sexual immorality. These took away their understanding. Paul make this same assertion, writing “do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit”. (Ephesians 5:18) 

So, God determined to punish them. (9) He will keep them from being satisfied by their food and from being blessed with children. (10)

Condemnation of Idolatry


Again, God condemns their idolatry. They had idols made of wood. They sought the blessing of a dead piece of wood rather than from the living God. (12)

The people were making sacrifices and offerings to pagan gods in the mountains and under the trees. (13) They committed spiritual adultery. 

God also condemned the men of Israel for failing to lead their families to worship God and worshipping idols instead. Because of that , their brides and daughters have also gone to idolatry. Therefore, God will not punish the wives and daughters, since the men have led them astray. (14) But, the whole people of Israel will come to ruin because of their lack of understanding of the importance of worshipping God only. (14) 

A Warning to Judah


God warns Judah not to follow Israel into idolatry. They are not to go to “Gil-gal” or Beth-aven. 

Gil-gal was the place Israel went to after crossing the Jordan on dry ground to get into Canaan. The priests made a monument to the occasion by stacking 12 stones from the river bed. (Joshua 4) Later it became a place to make sacrifices and worship, as evidenced by Samuel telling Saul to meet him there to offer sacrifices. (1 Samuel10) 

Later, however, it evidently became a place of pagan worship. The site would have been abandoned a place of sacrifice when God designated Jerusalem as the place of worship. Later in the book, Hosea refers to it a a place of stone altars where bulls are sacrificed. (12:11) Amos also referred to it as a place where sacrifices were made to pagan gods. (Amos 4:4) 

Beth-aven means house of evil. It is a reference to Bethel, which meant house of God. This is the place where Jacob stopped on the way to live with Laban in Paddan-aram. (Genesis 28) He stayed there for the night and dreamed of a ladder going heaven. The Lord promised him the land and a great people, extending God’s covenant with Abraham to him. (Genesis 28)

Later, however, it became a place of pagan worship. Bethel is where one of Jeroboam’s golden calves was placed. (1 Kings 12) God told the Jews not to go to these places of pagan worship and to not associate his name with them. 

A Summary of Israel’s Sin


Israel became stubborn in its idolatry. The Lord could not bless them. Instead he would abandon them to their idolatry and would bring shame upon them. 


The failure of the priests and the fathers to teach God’s word led to the destruction of the nation. It is crucial that we teach each generation God’s word.

A nation that abandons God’s laws will sink further and further into debauchery and violence.

Mankind, on its own, cannot live up to God’s standards. Men and women must be changed to live for God. Jesus is the only one who brings that change. 

Monday, October 24, 2022



Words of Restoration


Although separated from the previous passage by verse division and layout as poetry, this section repeats the theme of the prior passage which speaks of the renewed covenant in terms of a marriage. God speaks to Israel about the benefits he will bestow when Israel learns to respond to him as they should have all along.

At the time of restoration, God will respond to Israel, giving back the blessings of agricultural bounty originally promised for obedience to the covenant. He will speak to the sky to produce rain. He supplants Baal as the one thought to bring rain and bountiful harvest. In response to the rain, the earth will produce grain, wine, and oil. (22)

God will make Zezreel the place where much food is produced, as it was before. The word “Zezreel” means God will sow. He had imposed the curses for disobedience. Now he lifts the curse and implements the promised blessing for obedience. 

He promised that, after punishing Israel for its disobedience, if they confessed their iniquity, he would remember the covenant and remember the land. (Leviticus 26:40-46) He promised that he would make them abundantly prosperous, have a lot of children, cattle and crops. Deuteronomy 30:9)

But the ultimate sowing will be people. God will sow her for himself in the land. (22) He does this to create, or multiply, a people for himself. There is a reflection here of the original creation story. God told the newly created man and woman to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth”. (Genesis 1:28) God wanted to fill the earth with people who worshipped him. 

God still wants that. He told the church to go and make disciples of all nations. (Matthew 28:19) The picture of eternity in Revelation 21-22 is of a new earth populated only with those who belong to Jesus and worship him. (Revelation 22:3-4) 

God previously told Hosea to name his children No Mercy and Not My People to show his attitude toward Israel. (Hosea 1:6, 8) In the day of restoration, God will again have mercy upon them and claim them as his people as they recognize Him as their God. (23) 


Another Enacted Prophecy

God again instructs Hosea to take a wife. He is to go and love a woman who is unfaithful, just as God loves Israel who was also unfaithful. (1) The reference to other gods and cakes of raisins is a reference to the pagan practice of offering raisin cakes to the pagan gods. (1)

She had evidently become a slave. Therefore, Hosea bought her, or redeemed her from her slavery with the payment of a price. (2)  He instructed her that she must dwell with him for a long time and be faithful to him, not loving any other men. (3) 

Just as the wife is not to be unfaithful to Hosea with other men, Israel is not to be unfaithful to God by worshipping idols. (3) 

Hosea, representing God, will also be faithful to the woman. Faithfulness is one of God’s attributes. 

“Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps His covenant of loving devotion for a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments.” (Deuteronomy 7:9) 

“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:9)

This is a picture of redemption. Hosea purchased the woman, redeeming her from slavery just as God previously redeemed Israel from slavery in Egypt. God redeems us from slavery to sin. Romans 6:16 says “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedience slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or obedience, which leads to righteousness?” 

Christ paid the price for our redemption. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price”. Having been redeemed, we live to glorify God. “So glorify God in  your body. (1 Corinthians 6:20) 

Still, there would be a long time of desolation that would exist before the day of restoration. Israel would dwell many days without king or prince. (4) This came true as the northern kingdom was never reconstituted as an independent country with a king. The southern kingdom, Judah, also went without a king or self rule from the time of exile on. 

When Judah, the surviving Jews, returned from Persia under Cyrus, it was ruled by a governor appointed by the Persians. Judah came under Greek rule after the Greeks defeated Persia under Alexander the Great. Then came Roman rule as the Romans conquered the whole Mediterranean basin. Rome captured Jerusalem in 63 B.C. 

The Romans destroyed the city in 70 A.D. after a Jewish revolt. In 135 A. D., the Romans put down another revolt. Emperor Hadrian decided to build a Roman city, Aelia Capitolina, on the site. He banned Jews from going there and banned the practice of their religion. 

However, during this time, God would remove Baal worship. He would remove the sacrifices Israel made to Baal. (4) The pillars, representing Baal, would be removed from the fields. There would be no ephod used in fortune telling and magic. He would also remove the household gods, idols kept in the house to protect and bless it. (4) 

After this time, the children of Israel would return to the Lord. (5) They would seek him and David their king. (5) This David-like king would be Jesus. Those who believed in him would live in fear of the Lord and recognizing his goodness. This happens in the latter days, the time of Christ Jesus. 

“He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)


The Old Testament teaches us God’s attributes, one of which is his faithfulness.

It teaches us man’s inability to live up to God’s standards.

The Old Testament shows us God preparing the way for the Savior.

Promises of restoration are ultimately fulfilled in Christ. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Seven Blessings in Revelation

In Revelation, God promises His blessing seven times (a symbolically significant number):

1.       to those who hear and hold Revelation’s message (Rev. 1:3; 22:7), (2 here)

2.       who die “in the Lord” (14:13), 

3.       who stay awake and alert (16:15), 

4.       who attend the Lamb’s marriage supper (19:9), 

5.       who share the first resurrection (20:6), 

6.       and who wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb (22:14; see 7:15).


Monday, October 17, 2022


 The ceremonial law taught Israel who God is and who he expected them to be. It was not to be an end to itself, but in arrow pointing to deeper truths. (Romans 10:4)

God expected Israel to obey him, not as a matter of drudgery, but because they loved him and wanted to please him. David could say “I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart”. (Psalm 40:6-8) More than external obedience, God desired an internal love for him shown by their delight in his law. 

David, of course, did not do this perfectly. He sinned by committing adultery and murder. He took an unlawful census. (2 Samuel 11-12; 2 Samuel 24) 

Jesus did keep the law completely and perfectly He fulfilled the system of sacrifices by offering himself as a sacrifice to satisfy God’s wrath. This was his active obedience. He obeyed on our behalf. And by his sacrifice we are sanctified. (Hebrews 10:8-10) 

Sunday, October 16, 2022



Future Restoration


After a long passage detailing the punishment of Israel that will occur because of idolatry, chapter 2 ends with a passage about future restoration.

At some future date, God will allure Israel. The background metaphor here is still marriage with God as the husband and Israel as the unfaithful wife. “Allure” is a romantic word. It is romantic language of a husband acting to draw his wife back to him. He will speak tenderly to her. (15) 

God said he would bring her (Israel) into the wilderness. (14) This is an allusion to the first exodus. The wilderness was where Israel went first after leaving Egypt. (Exodus 14:17-18) She came out of idolatry in Egypt and had to depend on God alone. This is a picture of starting over, God and Israel starting over just as a husband and wife might do after a separation. And there she will answer as in the days of her youth, as when she came out of Egypt. The restored Israel will answer the call of the Lord and again come into a relationship with him. 

In New Covenant terms, we can see this as effectual calling. God takes the initiative in salvation by calling, or drawing, men and women to him. Romans 8:30 says “those whom he called he also justified and those whom he justified he also glorified”. 

This restoration and change is shown metaphorically in changing the Valley of Achor, meaning valley of trouble, into a door of hope. Achor is where Achan and his family were killed for taking the devoted things from Jericho instead of destroying them as the Lord commanded. The Israelites raised a great heap of stones over the bodies as a memorial. The place was called the Valley of Achor\Trouble because of this incident. 

Isaiah, whose ministry coincided with Hosea’s, prophesied that the faithful remnant of God’s people would be given this valley as a place for their herds to be kept. (Isaiah 65:10) This again is a picture of restoration. Hosea also said that the faithful would be given vineyards, evidence of his favor and the bounty of his blessing. Grapes were not a necessity, as bread, but a luxury. Psalm 104:14 says God will bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the heart of man. 

Images of Restoration


Several images are employed to show the new relationship between God and Israel. 

The first is the elimination of Baal worship. In “that day”, the day of restoration, the Lord says Israel will call him “My Husband”, showing they are in a covenant relationship with him. When John the Apostle saw the holy city come down out of heaven, he saw it as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:2) 

They will not call him “My Baal”. There will be no reference to God as Baal, no combining the two, or believing in both. No one will worship Baal. In fact, they will not even remember Baal’s name. The first commandment will be obeyed. Only the name of Yahweh will be mentioned in worship. 

The second image is the freedom from the danger of wild animals. One of the punishments for disobeying the commandments was God letting loose the wild beasts against the people, killing the livestock and even children. (Leviticus 26:22) When the population of humans is reduced, or when there is drought, animals will invade the areas occupied by humans.

In the day of restoration, this curse will be removed. It will be as in the beginning, when Adam had dominion over all of the animals. (Genesis 2:18-19) The three types of beasts listed here are the same listed in the creation account. (Genesis 1:20-25) 

The third image is protection against enemies. (18) War will cease. God’s people will lie down in safety. They will “lie down in green pastures”. (Psalm 23) 

War and defeat were part of the curses for disobedience under the covenant. (Leviticus 26:17, 25) So, again, God is promising a reversal of the curse.

The 4th image is “betrothal”. Betrothal is a commitment to marriage. Betrothal also includes payment of the “bride price”. The husband pays the family of the bride a price that has been agreed upon through negotiation. 

Here, God, as the husband, pays the bride price with righteousness, justice, steadfast love, mercy, and faithfulness. (19-20) God will act toward his people with these traits and their relationship will include these traits in both parties in their relationship to each other. For example, God will make his people righteous and they will live in righteousness. 

When we are saved, God imputes the righteousness of Christ to us. God declares us righteous because we are in Christ. Paul wrote in Romans 4:22-26:

 “…his (Abraham’s) faith was counted to him as righteousness. But the words it was counted to him were not written forms sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” 

This marriage, the relationship between God and believers, is permanent. God said “And I will betroth you to me forever”. There is nothing that will break this marriage covenant, this relationship between God and the church (body of believers). It is eternal. 

This concept of eternal relationship is the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. It might better be called the preservation of the saints. Baptists often use the phrase “once saved always saved” or security of the saints. We know that when we believe, we receive eternal life. (John 3:16) “Eternal” means lasting forever. This is part of God’s steadfast love for us. 

This relationship between God and the believer, stated metaphorically as a marriage, results in our knowing God. We will know him, meaning we will have an intimate relationship with him. He will be faithful to keep all of his promises. We will be faithful to worship him only and to be obedient to him.