kjv@Hosea:1:1@ The word of the LORD that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.
kjv@Hosea:1:2@ The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.
kjv@Hosea:1:3@ So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.
kjv@Hosea:1:4@ And the LORD said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.
kjv@Hosea:1:5@ And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.
kjv@Hosea:1:6@ And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.
kjv@Hosea:1:7@ But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.
kjv@Hosea:1:8@ Now when she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son.
kjv@Hosea:1:9@ Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.
kjv@Hosea:1:10@ Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.
kjv@Hosea:1:11@ Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.
We are going back now to the time where Israel and Judah were two nations, just before Israel was put down. Hosea is a contemporary of Isaiah. He paints a vivid picture of the spiritual adultery of the nation that had gone whoring after other gods and could not stay faithful even though the Lord loved her dearly.
Pictures of vines producing fruit, wheat producing flour, flour producing bread, leaven falsely puffing the bread up, sea's producing their own foam, night and day, light and darkness, faithful brides and harlots, sheep and goats, wheat and tares; such picture-grams fill the volumes of scripture. Over and over, situation after situation, pictures of nations and empires, of tents and temples, of times and eras, of deserts and fruitful places; how do they not mean what they mean? How do they lend themselves to mis-interpretation? God surely knows the heart of man, that two men will look at the same object and dispute over what it is. One man will pick it apart with small words, the other piece it together with larger pictures. God knows the limitations of human language and the deceitfulness of hearts. His word is constructed in such a way that the only doubt that can be left is the doubt of a rebellious self justifying reprobate.
Hosea has spoken almost exclusively about judgments on Israel as a whole and namely the component areas of Ephraim/Samaria with little mention of Judah which for now remains mostly faithful. He is a prophet for this region. Comprised of 10 of the tribes, Ephraim itself being 3, their first and foremost transgression is that their worship of Jehovah was moved to two unsanctioned high towers in their own land so that they wouldn't have to cross into Judah to get to Jerusalem. Worship of Jehovah quickly morphed into worship of Baalim. Their jealousy toward the seat of David (corrupt as many descendant kings were) and resultant hatred was the beginning of the end for themselves.
For being so long ago it is interesting how the temperaments and histories of the individual patriarchs of the tribes still hold true. To help us to understand the essence of these tribal and national matters in his day Hosea goes back close to a thousand years to their beginning roots.
There is something to be said about the heart of men wanting to worship something tangible that he can touch. Real or not it is there to fix his eyes upon and place his hands around. By the skill of craftsmen, these idols can be intricate and artistic. They can depict stories and triumphs and passionate emotions. What does that say about our heart though? And what does it say about our God who forbids such images to be made of Him?
I get the sense that Ephraim was the dominate coalition driving Israel (he exalted himself). Samaria was just plain rebellious (she rebelled against her God). Still we see throughout the desire of God to have them return. He sets about them as a lion/leopard/bear to devour in their faithless idolatry but as a king in their faithful regathering. In Him is their help/ransom.
We tend as readers to read these things clinically from the top down knowing how the Lord feels about them. Imagine these things down looking up from the street view. Who is this Hosea? Why does he say the things that he does? Does he not love his nation Israel? What wrong has Israel done and who have they harmed? Sure there are idols but then where is the God who delivered us from out of Egypt? Why does He not deliver us now? You see how deceitful hearts work; they work the same today as yesterday. When it comes to blessings everyone is all for it, when it comes to correction there is nothing to be corrected for/by. As if God needed correcting, we pray to God for Him to change His mind. Who then shall be wise to these matters?
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