The book of Hosea will not take many posts to get through because they are rather short chapters compared to other books, so more chapters are combined together. Although it is a shorter book, definitely not the shortest, but one of the shorter ones, it has so much greatness in it! It is amazing to read about a prophet that God used his whole life to represent Israel. So Israel was going through a tough time, so Hosea’s life wasn’t the easiest either; look at his marriage, and the name of his children.
Chapter 5 starts out with a prophecy about how Israel and Judah are going to be punished. But the key word to look at in this prophecy is that God says, “I will discipline all of them,” Hosea 5:2. God is not punishing the people of Israel and Judah just for the sake of doing so, but so that they can be disciplined and for the hope that they will learn from their actions of going against God. It wouldn’t’ be called punishment if it were not done as a way to prevent it from reoccurring; if it were out of wanting to harm the Israelites and the people of Judah then it would be called the torture of them, not the punishment. God says that Ephraim has been whoring with other gods that they have forgotten about the almighty God, and they will not remember Him unless they are punished. What God says of Judah is interesting as well. He said, “They have dealt faithlessly with the LORD; for they have borne alien children. Now the new moon shall devour them with their fields,” Hosea 5:7. I believe that by God using the word “alien” to represent them so much is huge! I looked up the NIV version as well, because I was confused on what God meant by calling them alien children, and NIV has the word “illegitimate” instead of “alien” and it makes so much sense. The people of Judah’s children have been raised without God, so they are not seen as truly his children. The blame goes onto their parents but they are being punished as well. Their parents’ actions have caused them to no longer be seen as part of God’s people. He sees them as the children that show up at their parents’ house because their other siblings make them go…they have no relationship with Him. God returns to his anger with Ephraim because they went to Assyria for help before looking to Him for guidance. God says He will leave them until, “they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face, and in their distress earnestly seek me,” Hosea 5:15. This is the part of discipline: will the people after their punishment finally recognize that they need Him, or will they need more punishment to realize it still.
Hosea starts off chapter 6 by saying that Israel and Judah need to come to God willingly for He will heal them if they do. One of my favorite verses is in this chapter: “Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth,” Hosea 6:3. God wants to water us with all the water in the world but we must ask Him and press on Him to water us. He is not going to do it if we do not acknowledge him or repent for our actions. The people of Israel and Judah were game for asking God for help and love and living righteously as long as they were receiving water from Him, but their righteousness was only short lived. They would no longer be grateful and start living unclean again. God wants their love steadfastly not whenever they find it to be convenient. They lack faith in Him.
Chapter 7 tells of how once God heals Israel then Ephraim and Samaria’s evil deeds will be so evident. The people are adulterers because they are looking to the kings and princes for guidance and if they do not serve the people as they will then the kings are taken down. People cannot take on all the love and pressure that you want because humans are incapable. God can only hold what all people want to make them happy. God wants the people to know that He sees through them and their lies. These kings that the people are having rule over them, do not even turn toward God either. People are being lead by unrighteous leaders so of course their country is falling apart. God tries to strengthen the Israelites and the new strength they get from God, they use against Him. It is terrible to think about: God loves you enough to make you a strong person, and your response to this new strength is to try to take Him down so that you can have the glory, not Him. It is terrible.
When God shows His anger against the people of Israel, they respond with “My God, we – Israel – know you,” Hosea 8:2. But they do not know God; they know God enough in the fact that they know that He has such great mercy for His people. They are ungrateful for His mercy, yet they rely on it. God says “The calf of Samaria shall be broken to pieces,” Hosea 8:6. So God will discipline and force obedience on them, no matter how stubborn they are against Him. Their stubbornness will eventually falter and they will have to follow Him. Once again the focus is on God disciplining them, not wrecking havoc on them for no reason. God says that He will not accept their sacrifices because they rather do the easy way out: they rather reap wind than grain for the fear of someone taking their grain. No one would be able to take their wind away. At the end of chapter 8, Hosea prophesizes through God that God will have the people of Israel return to Egypt, where He had once helped them to escape from.