Day 127 – Thru the Bible
Today we start Hosea and continue Psalms. Here is the overview video for Hosea.
Video – Read Scripture: Hosea
How does this video help you understand Hosea better?
Hosea 1 – God commissions Hosea to take “a wife of whoredom” because the people have committed whoredom by forsaking the Lord. Referring to the nation’s sin as whoredom assumes that the covenant between Yahweh and Israel is a marriage. In the enacted parable of the relationship between Yahweh and Israel, Hosea represents the Lord and Gomer, his wife, represents Israel.
The children born to Hosea and Gomer have symbolic names. There is a logical relationship between the names of the children. The sin brought to mind by the name “Jezreel” is followed by judgment echoed in the name “No Mercy”; mercy to Israel is over, yet Yahweh will save Judah in His own way. Following “No Mercy” comes “Not My People”, a name made of terms that are a shocking reversal of the covenant language instituted in Exodus 6:7. The names reflect Israel’s renunciation of the covenant, and as coming verses show, justify a divine declaration of divorce.
This is not the end of Israel’s hope, however. For Hosea 1:10–2:1 declares that, after the exile, the glorious eschatological (end times) restoration will result in the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham: note the reference in 1:10 to the number of the children being immeasurable, “like the sand of the sea” (Genesis 22:17; 13:16). We also see the realization of the covenant declaration of Exodus 6:7, in which Israel will be God’s people and He, showing mercy, will be their God. Beyond this we hear of a new leader (“one head”) and a new exodus (“they shall go up from the land” in 1:11 echoes “escape from the land” in Exodus 1:10).
Israel has horribly sinned. But she is being renewed. God’s covenant love will not falter.
Knowing we all have sin in our lives, how does God’s covenantal love give you freedom from your sin?
Hosea 2 – The Lord pleads that the people turn from their sin lest He exile them from the land. They ignore the pleas, so the Lord announces that He will exile Israel in order to stop their idolatry and turn them back to Himself. Israel has sinned, they will be exiled, and in the future the Lord will save them as He saved them in the past.
Israel will experience a new exodus. Their conquest of the land will be renewed. They will enter into a new covenant as a new Adam in a new Eden. And all this will be like a new, divine-human wedding.
In short, the judgments symbolized in the names of Hosea’s three children are outstripped by the restored glories the Lord will give. Truly this is a God “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6).
How does this truth about God’s character provide rest for you?
Hosea 3 – The comparison between Hosea’s love for his sinful wife, Gomer, and Yahweh’s love for Israel is directly stated in verse 1, one of the most beautiful verses in Scripture regarding God’s faithfulness toward the unfaithful. In further reflection of God’s steadfast love, Hosea buys Gomer back from adultery but does not immediately resume conjugal relations. There is a renewal of the marriage, but a delay in its consummation. This appears to correspond to the way that Israel was restored to the land, inaugurating the fulfillment of promises whose consummation would await the coming(s) of Jesus.
This points to the “now” and “not yet” of where we find ourselves today. How does this give you comfort for today and hope for tomorrow?
Hosea 4 – The people know neither God’s character nor His person. They break the commandments, which causes the land, its inhabitants, and the animals of creation to suffer. The devastating effects of sin are the blackness in which gospel light shines, radiating with the knowledge of God that results in gratitude and worship. Hosea 4:4–19 is a poetic description of why covenant-breaking Israel will go into exile.
Hosea often uses Ephraim (the most prominent tribe in Israel) to personify both the sin of Israel and the undeserved deliverance the nation will receive—even as Ephraim’s original blessing was undeserved (Genesis 48:15–17). This literary tie to the nation’s origins reminds us that the grace of God is never out of sight even when Hosea cites the nation for her sin and prophesies coming judgment.
The unrest in our hearts caused by the prophet’s disturbing allusions to Israel’s sin (and our similar patterns of unfaithfulness) can be settled only by the grace of God glimmering in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the ministry of Jesus, to whom Hosea points. The accusing voice of the Lord in Hosea 4, so right in its denunciation, will ultimately be directed toward God’s own Son, on behalf of those who trust in Him.
How does this truth lead you to worship Jesus?
Hosea 5 – Hosea explains that the actions the people have cultivated are not those that result in repentance. They do not have a humble and faithful spirit but the spirit of whoredom. They seek other gods and “know not the Lord.”
God asserts that He will bring judgment on Israel because of the people’s sin. Rather than repent of sin and trust in Yahweh, Israel seeks help from Assyria. In response to this, Yahweh speaks of how He will exile Israel from the land: the Lord casts Himself as a lion and the nation is personified as an individual man. The Lord (the lion) will tear apart the man, Israel, and walk away from Hi. That is, Assyria will conquer and exile the nation of Israel.
Like Adam and Eve before them, God’s people will be exiled from the Lord’s presence in the land of life. Israel will languish in the unclean realm of the dead, like dead bones in a dry valley, until they seek the Lord. Yet Israel’s unhappy fate is not the last word.
Psalm 122 – With the pilgrims’ journey of Psalm 121 complete, these followers of Yahweh now stand within the gates of Jerusalem. How glad they are to be in this place, this city and temple that mark the covenant promises of God to His own people!
Among the most precious of those promises is God’s declaration to David that he would forever have a son (i.e., descendant) sitting on the throne of Israel (see 2 Samuel 7:12–13). As the tribes of Israel ascend to Jerusalem, they acknowledge the special place the tribe of Judah plays in the outworking of God’s covenant promises. They praise God for the throne of David that will not fail. Yet these pilgrims realize the opposition Jerusalem and its king have faced. They pray for peace for this covenantal city, for the temple and for the throne that reside within. All of this reminds us that the line of the kings of David came to an abrupt end with the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 b.c. at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.
Yet this was not the final end! No, indeed, for God has brought forth the Greater Son of David, born of Mary, to take that throne and once again to reign over Jerusalem and all of the earth (see Luke 1:31–33). So what the pilgrims of old longed to see we now understand is fulfilled in the coming of Jesus. Though the fullness of His reign is yet to be displayed, the certainty of it has been established—the King of Israel and of all the earth has come!
Recognizing that we sometimes feel like we’re coming to “an abrupt end”, how are you reminded that in Jesus, your end is secure?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.
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