Hosea 4:1-19 – Charges Against Us

Read Hosea 4:1-19

In this Chapter we are hearing of God’s case against Israel. If brought to trial, what has Israel done to break God’s law and his heart. How are they destroying themselves like a forest fire devours?

I might take this a step further. What have we done to break God’s law and his heart? I don’t know one person who is sinless (other than Jesus, of course). I know many who would like you to think they are. Really, though, deep down, we are all sinners in need of a Savior. What’s sad are the many people who don’t know what they need. Look at verse 6, My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me.” We are called to help get the word out.

As I read through the charges here against Israel, I couldn’t help but think of our crumbling world today. Something eerie about some of the similarities. Do we need a Hosea to come speak to us? I’m not sure people would listen any better today than they did in Hosea’s day. The job of a prophet was difficult. People pleasers, like me, would never survive being a prophet.

Let’s look at verse 4, “Don’t point your finger at someone else and try to pass the blame! My complaint, you priests, is with you.” Sobering. The priests were trying to point fingers! I think many of us can remember our own childhood sibling rivalry, or even in our own children. Imagine standing over a shattered vase of great importance. What child would put up their hand and say, “it was me”. More often fingers get pointed, and blame passed around before the real truth comes out.

If we feel like we are better than others, like the priests must have been thinking, we need to stop. We are not better. We may not even be all that good. But we are good enough. God loves us no matter what we have done, what we are thinking, etc.

God’s love knows no boundaries. That’s a good thing when I think of some of the not so wonderful things I’ve done in my life. I’m sure you’ve got things too, if you were honest with yourself. But those less savory choices have made me who I am today. I learned from those mistakes. God did not waste those hurts at all. Now, if I can turn and help someone else get through their time of trial, I am equipped. I am ready.

Was there a verse in today’s charges that spoke to your heart? Think through how Hosea’s message came alive for you today.

Let’s pray:  Lord, I pray for those who don’t know you. Their lives are crumbling around them and they don’t know it. They don’t know the power you give, the love you pour out, the forgiveness and peace. Lord help me to see with your eyes and help me bring them back to you. Show me how you want to use me. I stand ready, willing and able to be your soldier of peace. Give me wisdom. Thank you for the peace that fills my heart. Thank you for your great sacrifice and what that means for me. You are so welcome in my heart, and I love the joy of having you there. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Hosea 3:1-5 – Reconciled

Read Hosea 3:1-5

Poor Hosea. Sometimes being used by God isn’t easy.

If you’re following the text with us, you know that out of obedience Hosea has married a prostitute and had children with her. To reflect God’s relationship with Israel, Hosea allows her to go out on him and now accepts her back, after doing who knows what with who knows who. Yet, he must stay apart from her still. Reconciliation is here. Forgiveness is coming.

I can’t imagine what it must have been like for his wife either. Gomer is silent, we don’t hear her side of things. We can only imagine what it was like for her. True dysfunction. Does she know any different? Does she realize God is using her as a teachable moment for his beloved Israel? What a great picture of how God gave Israel a second chance (and 3rd and 4th). Likewise, he continues to give us second chances.

I love the part of v. 5 that says, they will “tremble in awe of the Lord and of his goodness.” I want to focus on that message today. May I “tremble” at the Lord’s goodness.

I look out my window and see the beautiful blue sky. I am blessed to live in a place that is sunny most of the time. Even though we are in “rainy season”, it rains mostly at night, and boy does that make for cozy sleeping. Long gone are the days of below zero temperatures, but that’s the picture I get when I think of “trembling”. Physical shaking and shivering, but in this case, because of the awe I feel for God.

Take a moment to close your eyes and just breathe in and out. Let your mind focus on God and what he is telling you today. Don’t you just shiver a little to know that the God of the universe has a message for you today? Rest in his love until you feel that tingle and know you have heard from your creator.

Let’s pray. Father, God, I give you thanks for giving me a “do-over” when I don’t get it right. Thank you for being such a loving God. How much you loved me when you sent your son,  Jesus, to live like me, hurt like me, and dream like me. What a sacrifice to take on my sins and die for me, I am in awe. Watch over me today. Guide all I say and do. Make me more like Jesus as I serve and love others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Hosea 2:2-23 – Sin, Judge, Restore

Read Hosea 2:2-23

The comparison or relationship between the identity of Gomer and Israel continues. I really struggled with this passage and what it might be saying to me today. There was so much emphasis on the bad things being done against Gomer/Israel. Very harsh, didn’t you think?

Here are a few examples: left to die of thirst, strip naked in public, etc. It would be easy to feel sorry for Gomer/Israel, but what we’re seeing is a husband distraught with hurt and pain. Israel has turned away, and the good things provided are being sacrificed to a non-existent God. Do we do the same thing today? Do we waste the precious gifts God has given us?

After judgment and discipline we see hope revealed toward the end of the passage. We need not feel abandoned. God may allow us to struggle but only for a teachable moment. He is there all the time, cheering us on, waiting for us to return to him. He longs for us to say, “YOU ARE MY GOD”! Our only hope is in the Lord!

God’s love for Israel (and for us) is never-ending. He can’t stay mad forever, his love is too strong. But the punishment is necessary lest a lesson not be learned. It is at the end of this chapter that Hosea’s children are renamed to be their positive counterpart.

We have a choice who we spend time with. Do you long to spend time with God? If your devotion time is in the morning, do your bed sheets often win one more snooze. Did you stay up too late last night and want just 10 more minutes? That’s 10 minutes you just cheated God. I know I’ve done it, and the truth stings. 

We have a choice and should be more mindful of who we spend time with, what we make a priority in our lives.  Wake up!  God is waiting for us!

Let’s pray. Lord, forgive me when my attention is not fully on you. I know those are times I struggle with weakness and uncertainty. Help me to stay focused on you and invite you into each conversation, decision, and event in my day. I don’t want to be disobedient like the wife in today’s story. I choose you, God, to be ruler of my life. I trust you for my salvation and know that this is the right choice. Thank you for the reminders and the disciplines you provide to keep me on track. Lord bless those who don’t yet make you a priority. I pray for them to see and know that you are the truth, the way and the life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Hosea 1:1-2:1 – Message from God

Read Hosea 1:1-2:1

I wonder if Hosea liked being used by God? He certainly obeyed. Hosea did marry a prostitute, Gomer, and they had children. Just as God said, Hosea named his children. What negative names to brand a children, but the purpose was instead to send Israel a message. Israel had been disobedient. Judah had not.

It was being foretold that that Israel and Judah would merge at which time the children’s names would change. Interesting. I wonder how those children felt branded with such names. But the promise of restoration, in their lifetime, was there. Was Hosea aware of the plan from the get go, or did God reveal that only after he was obedient? 

How about us? When we are asked by God to act, are we obedient or do we tend to question God and his intentions? In writing these devotions, it was on my heart to do this, but I’m certain God put that desire there, and I want to be obedient. In other situations, we may feel unequipped to do what God is asking, but in those times, God’s strength wins the day through us.

Whatever the series of events for Hosea, a take-away for us is to witness his obedience. God is always faithful to those who love him.

The theme of Hosea begins with God’s desire to be loved and to love. His people are facing clear consequences because of their disobedience. God made us to be in relationship with him. He’s waiting on us. He wants us to come to him, spend time with him. We get so busy, fill our lives with lots of noise. We need to be still and listen.

What is God asking you to do?

Let’s pray. Father help me to shut out the noise and clear my crowded head. Refresh me in this moment. You are  mighty and your wisdom surpasses my understanding. Please reveal your intentions for me so that I can be obedient. Help me not to question my abilities but rely on you for your provision. I yearn for you to use me. May my words and deeds help restore this broken world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.