The Book of Hosea
The Book of Hosea
By Richard St.James
Bible 1611.Com / Old Paths Baptist Mission © 2023
Hosea, chapter thirteen:
Verse one: “When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died.”
The children of Israel began well [in Moses’ and Joshua’s day] in having within themselves a spirit of humility to seek the LORD. Now, this spirit of humility came from the fear of the LORD that was in them. This fear of the LORD is what propelled them to riches, and honour, and life.
Here is a very basic truth of life:
“By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.” [Proverbs 22:4]
Now, many times one begins well but often in the end does not end well.
What was the case concerning the children of Israel?
In their youth as a nation, they began well, but with the passing of time, they left off from their first love for the LORD, because of the distractions and allurements offered to them by the other nations surrounding them. They died!
Offending in Baal
The downward descent of a person, or a people, or of nations, consists of a very slippery slope to a very tragic and bad end. Unchecked sin always destroys!
Verse two: “And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves.”
These are the golden calves that were in Bethel, and that were also, in Dan. Kiss the idols!
They sin more and more.
Jeroboam’s sin caused a nation to sin:
“Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” [1 Kings 12:28]
Sin spreads like a disease, it kills.
Verse three: “Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney.”
People are like grass. The have a short time to live, and then they are gone. Life is brief! Turn in the Bible, and read the book of Isaiah, chapter forty, verses seven and eight:
“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” [Isaiah 40:7-8]
Our sin hammers us into a six-foot hole in the ground in a very short time. Blink, and we are gone!!! The Spirit of God says as much as this in the word of God in Psalm one-hundred and forty-four, verse four:
“Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.” [Psalms 144:4]
This is called the brevity of life.
The brevity of our life ought to sober us up to our desperate need for a savior.
Verse four: “Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me.”
This is the lesson we all need to learn. Only God can save us. David, in the Second book of Samuel, in chapter twenty-two, verse three, had this testimony through the Spirit of God:
“The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.” [2 Samuel 22:3]
A savior saves.
The problem was that Israel had forgotten their savior: “They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt;” [Psalm 106:21].
They needed to recall to remembrance through the preaching of the prophets and in hearing the word of God over and over again to bring them around to faith in their savior. Hear O Israel:
“I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.” [Isaiah 43:11]
This lesson is learned through faith.
Remember what the word says in the book of the Romans, chapter ten, in verse thirteen:
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” [Romans 10:17]
So, God is wooing them, He is reminding them: I am the LORD thy God.
Verse five: “I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought.”
The LORD is gently recounting to them of His supernatural preservation of them in their wilderness journey to the Promised Land. Read for this account in the Fifth book of Moses called Deuteronomy, chapter eight, verse fifteen:
“Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint;” [Deuteronomy 8:15]
I did know thee.
This knowledge of them was based on an intensely intimate and personal relationship analogous to the marriage relationship between a man and a woman.
Further, this knowledge is analogous to knowing Jesus Christ as your personal savior. This kind of knowledge puts you IN Christ Jesus according to the BOOK. See this truth for yourself in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, in chapter one, verse thirty:
“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: [1 Corinthians 1:30].
Knowing Jesus Christ is to be In Jesus Christ
Verse six: “According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me.”
There pasture is a Promised Land. The Promised Land was given by God as a LAND GRANT to Israel.
Now here is the LAND GRANT given by promise [called a covenant]:
“In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: [Genesis 15:18].
And their heart was exalted.
Men have a natural tendency to forget God, when they are exalted. When prosperity comes to us, we often forget it was the goodness of God that brought this prosperity.
“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” [1 Corinthians 10:12]
Verse seven: “Therefore I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe them:”
This is the same lion we saw earlier [in chapter five] of this commentary.
Note: The LORD here is not a literal lion, He is as a lion, which points to the use of similitude. As a literal lion carefully observes his prey before the kill, the LORD intently analyzes the hearts of men before He moves in with the surgical judgment.
Then once He begins to move in judgment, nobody can stop Him:
“I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him.” [Hosea 5:14b]
Verse eight: “I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall tear them.”
Now hear this: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” [Hebrews 10:31]
Now, here also, is a word to the wise. To avoid falling into the hands of the living God: FEAR THE LORD!
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” [Proverbs 1:7]
It is healthy for you:
“The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.” [Psalm 19:9]
Lesson to be learned: If one wants the blessings of the LORD, then one needs to fear the LORD.
Verse nine: “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.”
The nation of Israel destroyed themselves.
When a people do not fear the LORD, then, the end result is the destruction of the very same people.
When will we ever learn? Sometimes our worst enemy is our own self. Men need to learn from history what it is that is destroying them, and then men need to learn to turn to the God of heaven and earth for help.
In me is thine help.
In the New Testament book to the Hebrews, chapter four, verse sixteen, there is this offer to us for help:
Help in time of need:
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” [Hebrews 4:16]
Verse ten: “I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes?”
Sin stings, sin maims, and sin destroys: SIN brings Death! Who can save you O Israel?
Now, salvation involves the very act of God saving or preserving from a certain destruction or from a great calamity … a person, a people, a nation, or nations, or even the whole creation.
We see here in Hosea the promise of salvation coming to the apple of His eye. It is a KING Who will save Israel. Israel is being supernaturally being prepared in their hearts to cry out:
“I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.” [Genesis 49:18]
Now, see this marvelous thing here in the book of Isaiah the Prophet, chapter sixty-two, verse eleven:
“Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.” [Isaiah 62:11]
This is the same salvation spoken of in the First Epistle of Peter, chapter one, verse ten:
“Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:” [1 Peter 1:10]
We read from the Gospel according to Matthew:
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” [Matthew 1:21]
From all the foregoing, we see God has been working out a sure SALVATION amidst the earth over all the millennia of time.
Verse eleven: “I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath.”
“In those days there was no king in Israel.” This statement is made in several places in the book of Judges. From the days of Abraham to Samuel, the prophet, Israel had no king. There was no king in Israel until Saul. [Judges 17:6, 18:1, 19:1, 21:25]
Now, why did they not have a man as their king like all the other nations did on the face the earth at that time?
Now, here is the answer.
Israel had the LORD God as their King!
Israel had God as their King until Israel rejected the LORD as their King!
God: is the rejected King:
This is recorded in the BOOK in the First book of Samuel, chapter eight, verses four through seven:
I gave thee a king in mine anger.
“Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah,
And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.
But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.
And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” [1 Samuel 8:4-8]
“And took him away in my wrath.”
The sad, and tragic end, to Saul is for all to read, and to consider, which is found in the First book of Samuel, chapter thirty-one. The wrath of God took him out.
Verse twelve: “The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid.”
Ephraim, or Israel, is at the end of the line. He is bound up. His sin is hidden under the veneer of self-righteousness. It needs to be exposed.
Now, note this: A man that is bound up is in a prison. So it is with all men, they cannot help but sin. They are in prison! And they are this way from their birth, because of Adam’s sin nearly six thousand years ago. It is for us all, as the psalmist says, in Psalm fifty-eight, verse three:
“The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” [Psalm 58:3]
In the end the sins that are hidden will be brought out into the light.
“For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.” [Luke 8:17]
There is a solution.
Now, see for this solution in the Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, chapter four, in verse six:
“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” [2 Corinthians 4:6]
Now men can get out of this prison if they have the light of Jesus Christ shine into their hearts. See this operation with me in Psalm ninety, verse eight:
“Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.” [Psalm 90:8]
Men everywhere need to repent and believe on the LORD Jesus Christ in order to be set free from the bondage to sin.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” [John 8:32]
Next, in verse thirteen, we will see how the LORD will operate on him [that is Ephraim] through sorrows [as like a travailing woman in the time of giving birth] in order to bring him to repentance.
Verse thirteen: “The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son; for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children.”
A time of sorrows in our life can be for our good. It may be necessary for us to go through a deep trial [with troubles all around us] in order to come through the other side to the land of safety.
Break through to the other side!
See for this phenomenon in the book of Jeremiah thirty, verse seven:
“Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” [Jeremiah 30:7]
Salvation is coming through their Messiah Jesus Christ.
For this prophecy open the BOOK to Isaiah, chapter forty-six, verse thirteen:
“I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.” [Isaiah 46:13]
Trouble first, then it is glory!
Verse fourteen: “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.”
What we see here matches supernaturally to a beautiful precision, to what is seen in the New Testament five hundred years later in the First letter to the Corinthians, in chapter fifteen:
“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” [1 Corinthians 15:55-57]
Death is conquered.
The power of the grave is broken.
This is the victory foretold that we have through Jesus Christ. This is the same solution that is for us in the church, [which is the body of Christ] today, as well as for them [that is Israel] in the coming millennial Kingdom of Heaven.
Verse fifteen: “Though he be fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come, the wind of the LORD shall come up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up: he shall spoil the treasure of all pleasant vessels.”
This east wind is the wind of the LORD. When the east wind blows, and takes the life out of them, then the people of Israel will be brought to the end of themselves. It will leave them as like dry bones.
Lesson: When the best that a man can do is not good enough to deliver him, he will be more apt to turn to God.
What is beyond man’s extremity is in the reach of God. A man needs to turn to God to obtain what he cannot obtain by himself.
Verse sixteen: “Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.”
And so, it happened.
I … will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.
As noted earlier [in chapter one, verse four], this prophecy was fulfilled in the year of B.C. 721. The Kingdom of Israel ceased.
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