These are notes collected from studying with brothers in Christ. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!

“I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’ I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’”
Hosea 2:23

I am so impressed by God’s love and patience with his people. I feel an equal amount of conviction and overwhelming gratitude when I read how God deals with his people. Even though I mess up and continue to sin and act selfishly, God continues to call me his “loved one.”

It’s like God is seeing the sin, knows He has to judge it as a holy God, but his heart breaks the whole time and He’s really just after us coming back to Him.

The story of Ch. 3 where he has to buy back his wife as a prostitute is surreal. I imagine a wife where her husband says, just be faithful to me, and I’ll provide for you and take care of you. And while he goes to work for them and their family, she decides to go out and be intimate with other men for money (or even sometimes not for money, or even sometimes paying them for money – see Ezekiel 16, as I recall). So the husband finds out about this and goes to pay for his wife so she will come back to him and stay away from the other lovers. So touching. Sad that we are that unfaithful wife more than we even recognize.

“I killed you with the words of my mouth— then my judgments go forth like the sun. For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”
Hosea 6:5-6

This is the scripture that Jesus quotes in Matthew 9 after calling Matthew to follow him.
I love that Jesus uses these Old Testament scriptures (that were probably very familiar to the people of Jesus’ day) to show them his heart. God wants a relationship with us, and he desires good deeds only if they stem from true repentance and a desire to serve him. Jesus wants us to look like him, and that cannot be achieved through religion.

I’d add, also, that it shows an incredible consistency between Jesus (God’s Word made Flesh) and the O.T. (God’s word written down). For those who try to make a wedge between Jesus/N.T. and the O.T., I think they just haven’t read much of the Bible honestly. Jesus / N.T. quotes the O.T. all the time, and there is huge consistency: God is against external actions and religiosity, He wants hearts surrendered to Him; He is just and holy and sin does have judgment that must be paid, but He’s also quick to forgive for those who turn to Him…sound familiar?

After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him.
Hosea 6:2

Love this subtle passage on resurrection happening the 3rd day

I think ch. 10 picks up on the theme (above) in v. 12 & 13. In verse 12, Hosea says, “sow righteousness, reap steadfast love… for its time to seek the Lord that he might rain righteousness in you.” He is imploring Ephraim to follow God and come back to Him, to return to Him so many times in this book.

In verse 13, he says to them, “because you have trusted in your own way you have plowed iniquity, reaped injustice, and eaten the fruit of lies.

It all starts with us going are own way. Pride. Stubbornness. And the message is clear that this will bring judgment when their is unrepentant sin.

Yet, we also see how incredibly merciful God is in all of this as pointed out above.

See ch. 14:7
“They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow; they shall flourish like the grain; they shall blossom like the vine; their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.”
What a promise!

I was touched by Hosea 11-14, especially.

Namely, God’s relentless compassion on them (which was wholly undeserved). It almost reads to me like an internal dialogue (or maybe a dialogue between a father and mother): “Look at their sin and compromise; look at how they’ve hated us; look at how we raised them and grew them strong only to have them despise and reject; don’t forget their beginning…how they were so weak, and we were there for them from the start. But now they’ve gone so far away. They ought to have full punishment for their disobedience, or how will they learn? But can we really completely obliterate people we’ve loved so much? No, instead, we will discipline them sharply…but then, after the discipline period is over, we will bring them back and work with them to grow them strong in us and our ways instead.”

I’d also note how God kind of goes back and forth referencing Israel as a nation and the person Jacob (who was the original Israel). Hosea 11:1, for instance, mentions Israel coming out of Egypt. And then Hosea 12:2-5 we get this reference to the original Jacob/Israel and his birth and wrestling with God. Hosea’s prophecy sort of blurs (intentionally) the person and the nation.

This becomes really important when in Matt. 2, we read how Hosea 11:1 is referenced to Jesus (as a baby) coming out of Egypt. God is purposefully showing in Jesus a new beginning to a new Israel. Jacob had 12 sons, Jesus had 12 apostles. It’s all intentional. Only He is perfect and restores all of what Israel (the nation and person) forsook. So now all who are born again in Christ become born into this new Israel, where both Jews and Gentiles meet together in Christ. And just as they were circumcised when born into Israel, so we are baptized after we are born again. It’s all so amazing and consistent!

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