Hosea starts what is called the Minor Prophets. They are called that because usually their length is smaller than the books that comprise the Major Prophets, it is not because their message is small. I like to call the Minor Prophets: "Big Truth in Little Packages". Today is Tuesday and we had over 400 for VBS last night! It was great with many children trusting Christ as their personal Savior. Allow me to share with you the book of Hosea.
Hosea is the son of Beeri and served the LORD during the reign of five different kings of Judah and Israel. God asks him to do something very unusual. God says to marry a woman of whoredoms. This is an unfaithful, adulterous woman. He does this to illustrate how God feels about Israel and Judah embracing their false gods. Finally, Hosea's wife left him to chase after other men. Her name was Gomer. In chapter three, we see that Hosea is passing through the streets of the city and he sees his wife, Gomer being sold on the blocks for a slave. He buys her for 15 pieces of silver. This again is to illustrate how Israel departed from God, and yet God wants Israel back and buys her back from the heathen nations she was in captivity with.
God wants to give Israel up, but cannot. 4:16 "For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer.." vs. 17 "Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone." But then God's heart starts showing through. Hosea 6:1 "Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up."
and Hosea 10:12 "Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you." And then finally in Hosea 11:8 "how shall I give thee up, Ephraim?" and verse 9 "I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city." But God's grace just keeps on giving: Hosea 13:12 "The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up: his sin is hid." and then in Hosea 14:4 "I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him."
Well, this is the message of Hosea! A God who hurts when his children stray, wants to judge them.... but reaches out to love on them instead! Wonderful!
Pastor Mike Mutchler