Studying Hosea: A Ruined People

God has just commanded Hosea to buy his adulteress wife out of prostitution.  All along, Hosea’s relationship with his wife is parallel to God’s relationship with Israel.  But let’s not forget, God has already rescued her(Israel) once in a miraculous way.  God has already provided for her.  But stubborn Israel has found a way to turn on God and hurt him over and over.   Here is a nation and a people that he LOVES.  With all of His heart, He loves them.  He would part waters for them.  He would do ANYTHING for them.  Just to be with them.  Just to have them get to know Him, and spend time with Him every day.  That’s all He wants is to be a good Father to them and have an intimate relationship with His people, His children.    

Rather than the same sort of Bible study, tonight Iwant you to do something a little different.  I’m going to write out Hebrews chapter 4 below.  As you read this aloud, I want you to look through God’s eyes.  As He looks down on a nation of people whom He loves more than you or I have ever loved anything.   These are the children for which He would do anything.  These people are the apples of His eye, His most precious possession.   As you read the words of Hebrew aloud, imagine the heart of God…breaking.

Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites, because the Lord has a charge to bring against you who live in the land:

“There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land.  There is only the pronouncing of curses, lying, and murder, stealing and adultery; They break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.  

Because of this the land dries up, and all who live in it waste away; the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the fish in the sea are swept away.

But let no one bring a charge, let no one accuse another, for your people are like those who bring charges against a priest.  

You stumble day and night and the prophets stumble with you. 

So I will destroy your mother–my people are desroyed from a lack of knowledge.  Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.

The more the priests increased the more they sinned against me; they exchanged their glorious God for something disgraceful.  They feed on the sins of my people and relish their wickedness.  And it will be: Like people, like priests. I will punish both of tehm for their ways and repay them for their deeds.

They will eat but not have enough; they will engage in prostitution but not increase, because they have deserted the Lord to give themselves to prostitution; old wine and new wine take away their understanding.

My people consult a wooden idol and are answered by a stick of wood.  A spirit of prostitution leads them astray; they are unfaithful to their God.

They sacrafice on the mountaintops and burn offerings on the hills, under oak, poplar, and terebinth, where the shade is pleasant.  Therefore your daughters turn to prostitution and your daughters-in-law to adultery…The men themselves consort with harlots and sacrafice with shrine prostitutes–

A people without understanding will come to ruin!

…The Israelites are stubborn, like a stubborn heifer.  How then can the Lord pasture them like lambs in a meadow?Ephraim( the intellectual of the church/northern kingdom) is joined to idols; leave him alone!  Even when their drinks are gone they continue their prostitution; their rulers dearly love shameful ways.  

A whirlwind will sweep them away and their sacrafices will bring them shame.

Read it again and allow yourself to feel the hurt and anger of God.  Understand that He does not get angry the same way that we get angry.  His anger is pregnant with love; it is synonymous with love.  God is the only one that understands and recognizes fully His own glory.   He is so upset that these people are trading the glory of God, they are trading God’s best, His hope and His future.  And for what are they trading the riches of God? For prostitution, idol worship, drunkenness, misery, desolation, and shame.  

Tomorrow,, I will go into further detail some of the verses within this chapter.  I just really felt it upon my heart to read the words of God and feel His heartbreak.  One of our greatest treasures is the heart of God… revealed.

Lord, God, thank you for revealing yourself to us.  Thank you for the intimate relationship that you long to have with us.  You desire for us to know you.  Allow us to recognize when we are rejecting chances to grow to know you more.  We know that a people without understanding and recognition of You will go to ruin.  A people that seeks an understanding of You will prosper.  Thank you for your words in Hosea, and the fact that you will never stop pursuing a relationship with us no matter how much Your heart breaks or how many times we reject You.  You are amazing.  May our lives glorify You in every way for You are worthy!

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