Home > Uncategorized > Hosea 5-7: God’s severity and Israel’s unfaithfulness

Hosea 5-7: God’s severity and Israel’s unfaithfulness

Reading through Hosea for the first time in many years has reminded me of something: I will probably better grasp this book the next few times I read through it as I re-commit myself to reading the Bible through every year.

I had been reading one chapter of Hosea at a time and while there is the quality issue, I also want to make sure I’m pushing myself to read more.

This book, which follows Daniel in the English version of the Old Testament, was written a few centuries before. It was God’s admonishment to Israel to turn around before He had to take drastic measures. He tells them through His prophet the type of punishment they will face and what they have done to merit the punishment. We know from 2 Chronicles and from Jeremiah that Israel faced the humiliation of exile in Babylon.

God wants nothing more than to have an intimate relationship with us, a “romance”, and each time Israel forsook Him and worshiped false gods and broke His commands, it broke his heart.

For God to go back and forth like this as a patient husband with an unfaithful wife tells me God loves this tiny nation more than it will ever know.

It’s heartbreaking to read chapter five, and read Hosea’s words. It’s as if he went around the populations and cried as he declared God’s Word–only to have the people roll their eyes at him (or whatever the ancient custom was to show contempt) and go about their lives. What’s worse is that in verse six, he states that when hard times come and they cry for God, he will ignore them.

Tough love, in other words. It’s the product of ignoring God for too long and only calling out for him when it’s convenient or expedient.

Verse 15 tells how long this punishment will last: “I will return again to My place till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.”

After warning the Israelites of what’s coming in chapter five, Hosea spends chapter six calling on his people to repent. God is punishing, he tells them, but He can heal and forgive.

In verse six, he tells them something the prophet Samuel centuries prior told King Saul: it is better to obey and seek God’s knowledge than to make burnt offerings. Perhaps it’s better to obey and follow God than to have to make sacrifices and burnt offerings for sins committed.

Then, in chapter seven, Hosea details the sins Israel has committed against God. It’s a lengthy list with very unpleasant comparisons.

In verses 3-7: “They make a king glad with their wickedness, And princes with their lies.

“They are all adulterers. Like an oven heated by a baker— He ceases stirring the fire after kneading the dough, Until it is leavened.

“In the day of our king princes have made him sick, inflamed with wine; He stretched out his hand with scoffers.

“They prepare their heart like an oven, While they lie in wait; Their baker sleeps all night; In the morning it burns like a flaming fire.

“They are all hot, like an oven, And have devoured their judges; All their kings have fallen. None among them calls upon Me.”

There is so much more that could be said, and perhaps I will someday when I re-visit Hosea in a future blog posting. Bottom line: it was not a good time to be a godly Israelite with all the wickedness rampant.

No wonder Hosea and God were heartbroken.

Richard Zowie is going through the Bible in his Richard’s Two Shekels blog when not commenting on Christian issues or blogging about his Christian walk. He hopes in the coming months to complete his first visit with all the Minor Prophets. Post comments here or drop a line to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

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