KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
“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” (Hosea 10:12)
Hosea 8, and the remainder of the book, demonstrate the anger of God upon a constantly backsliding people. Through the prophet, God began to describe the terror of judgment that would befall Israel because of sinful living. Even though the people were rejoicing because of their great harvest, and nominally recognizing Jehovah, it appeared that much of their celebration was really in honor of Baal. The warning was loud and clear that their rejoicing would soon cease.
The more the people of Israel prospered, the more flagrant their moral and religious corruption became. Their hearts were divided, and they served idols rather than the one true God. They were instructed in the first commandment to worship only Him, and to have no other gods before Him. They had ignored this commandment, and because of that, retribution would come.
In chapter 11, the prophet referred to the early history of Israel. Even though God was full of wrath and judgment, His heart was still the heart of a father.
Although the book was written to the Northern Kingdom of Israel, the Southern Kingdom of Judah was equally guilty. Therefore, all of Israel’s glory would be turned to shame.
The thirteenth chapter begins a discourse on the rebellious attitude of Israel, and the people’s persistence in shameless idolatry. It opens with a reference to the tribe of Ephraim, which originally had occupied a position of prominence in the nation. Because of Ephraim’s apostasy and evil influence on all of Israel, God condemned it to total destruction.
In chapter 14, the people of Israel were called to repent and turn to God, the only One that could help them. Even though judgment was coming, God was giving hope, if only they would turn to Him. The prophet looked ahead to the day when Israel would return to the God of their fathers and love His laws. The result of obedience would be the bountiful blessings of a loving God.
The judgments of God are sure for those who choose not to listen to His warnings. The mercy of God is also sure, and it reaches out to all mankind, but it will not be extended forever. The wise person will let God take charge of every part of his or her life.