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“When the LORD began to speak by Hosea, the LORD said to

Hosea: ‘Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry And children of

harlotry, For the land has committed great harlotry By departing

from the LORD’” (Hosea 1:2, NKJV).

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have

rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me;

Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget

your children” (Hosea 4:6).

“Come, and let us return to the LORD; For He has torn, but He will

heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up” (Hosea 6:1).

“O Ephraim, what shall I do to you? O Judah, what shall I do to you?

For your faithfulness is like a morning cloud, And like the early dew

it goes away” (Hosea 6:4).

“They sow the wind, And reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no

bud; It shall never produce meal. If it should produce, Aliens would

swallow it up” (Hosea 8:7).

“How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel?

...My heart churns within Me; My sympathy is stirred” (Hosea 11:8).

“Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let

him know them. For the ways of the LORD are right; The righteous

walk in them, But transgressors stumble in them” (Hosea 14:9).

For the next few weeks, I will write short articles on the minor prophets. We’ll start with Hosea.

Hosea was a prophet to the northern kingdom of Israel (sometimes referred to as Ephraim in

the book), one of the last ones, and he likely saw the north’s destruction and captivity by Assyria. He was the only northern prophet who wrote a book. His own tragic family life became a sign to Israel: Hosea took a wife of harlotry, Gomer, who was unfaithful to him. But he sought her out and took her back. Thus, Hosea and Gomer become typical of Jehovah God and His people, Israel, whom He charges with spiritual adultery throughout the book.

In my opinion, it is an emotional book, and you can see this from the handful of quotes above. God laments. God determines to punish, but He always holds out hope. You can hear it in the words in Hosea 6:4 and 11:8. Hosea preached for repentance (6:1), but none was forthcoming. Thus, despite God’s willingness to take His adulterous people back, only judgment remained.

The book closes with 14:9. Clearly, this is meant to be a warning for the book’s readers.

I wonder if we have heard the warning. The church is the bride of Christ. Are we faithful to Him? James challenges us in his letter with very direct and harsh words: “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4, NKJV).

Israel’s problems are our problems, too. Our idols may not be as visible as the golden calves set up in Israel, but James warns us about the same spiritual adultery. To be a friend of the world, we will have to compromise with it. We will have to accept some of the things of the world. And therein lies the betrayal.

Our times may be challenging, but not less so in Hosea’s day. We are fully warned by both

the prophet and James. Let us, therefore, be wise and understand that the ways of the Lord

are right.

If you are struggling with the call of the world, can I suggest that you seek out a trusted

brother or sister who can help you renew your faith through prayer and service? It is one

powerful way for God to work among us.

—John Ostic

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