The Book of Hosea
The Book of Hosea
By Richard St.James
Bible 1611.Com / Old Paths Baptist Mission © 2023
Hosea, chapter twelve:
Verse one: “Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind: he daily increaseth lies and desolation; and they do make a covenant with the Assyrians, and oil is carried into Egypt.”
Feeding on the wind? Daily increasing lies? Yet reaping desolation and poverty?
The question rises here. Where is Ephraim [or Israel] placing all their trust? What are they trusting in? The answer is really clear here. They are trusting in man rather than trusting in God. That is a big mistake! Now see what the LORD says about all of this in the book of Isaiah, chapter thirty, verse one through three:
“Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin:
That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt!
Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion.”
You will get confusion going this route every time.
Placing your trust in man rather than in God will place you in the cross hairs of a mighty and holy God. You will reap for what you have sowed.
The solution to your problems is this found in Proverbs, chapter three, verses five and six:
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
Verse two: “The LORD hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him.”
A just recompense, also, for Judah.
Notice the word “also” in this verse. The LORD turns from dealing with Ephraim to dealing with Judah. There is fault to be found with Judah also. This punishment [or judgment] is found in the book of Isaiah, chapter sixty-five, verses six and seven:
“Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense into their bosom,
Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the LORD, which have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom.” [Isaiah 65:6-7]
Now for verse three.
Verse three: “He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God:”
Now, this harkens back to the story of Jacob and Esau found in the First book of Moses, called Genesis, [chapter twenty-five]. It is seen even from the womb we can see the struggle of one against another. Why? Because there were two manners of people within Rebecca. Let us pick up there in that chapter, starting with verse twenty-one:
“And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the LORD.
And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.
And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.
And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.” [Genesis 25:21-26]
This story of the two manner of people shows by similitude of the warfare going on with the believer in Jesus Christ.
The flesh and the Spirit fight against each other. This is a basic truth concerning the Christian. The Spirit of God reveals this truth in the book of Galatians, chapter five, verse seventeen:
“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” [Galatians 5:17]
Verse four: “Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us;”
When one is desperate enough, he will do anything to win the blessing of God.
Consider the Gentile woman:
In the Gospel according to Mark, in chapter seven, in verses twenty-five through thirty, we this strange and beautiful story of a woman who had power with God. This power was the power of faith. We read:
“For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet:
The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.
But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.
And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs.
And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.” [Mark 7:25-30]
This Gentile dog prevailed by FAITH even as Jacob prevailed.
If you want something from God, then pursue God. Don’t let go!
Hebrews 11:6: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
Verse five: “Even the LORD God of hosts; the LORD is his memorial.”
A memorial is a lasting remembrance. A person, or a people, that keeps God’s words in their FRONT [or permanent] memory have made the LORD their overriding love in their life. It is shown to be this way in the book of Deuteronomy, chapter eleven, in verse eighteen:
“Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.”
What you love is who you are.
Verse six: “Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually.”
Seek ye the LORD.
The answer for any people in trouble with sin has always been this solution: Turn back to God! That is what the people of Israel needed to do. They needed to return to the LORD their God. [This was also true for Gomer. Gomer needed to return to Hosea.] This is what the word of God will show you as being the remedy for sin. This is as seen in the book of Isaiah, chapter fifty-five verse, six:
“Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” [Isaiah 55:6-7]
Now, the next order of business for Israel [after returning to God] was to keep mercy and judgment. The emphasis here is on the doing of things, [on keeping the things of God] in order to maintain their relationship with God.
Now, notice something here: There is here shown an unmistakable element of works that is being mixed into their salvation. And no wonder: It is passages in the Bible [like this one found in the book of James chapter two] that explain why so many of the modern-day denominations, i.e., the Methodists, the Nazarenes, the Church of God, the Assemblies of God, the Mennonites, and the Catholics [and others] have a faith plus works salvation. They believe they are saved by grace through faith, and then, that by works they must maintain this salvation.
[They believe if they have no works that they will lose their salvation.] They cite the book of James, and other passages in the Bible as being their proof texts, [Hebrews chapter six, and ten, and the book of James, chapter two, etc.].
Now, read the book of James, chapter two, verses seventeen and eighteen:
“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” [James 2:17-18]
The clue to understanding the book of James is to carefully note to whom the book of James is addressed:
“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.” [James 1:1]
It is addressed to the nation of Israel, and is not addressed to the believers in the body of Christ, which is the church.
Now, it would behoove a person to recall the Scripture which concerns the church age salvation as it is found in the book of Ephesians, chapter two: verse eight and nine:
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” [Ephesians 2:8-9]
Salvation is by GRACE through FAITH only.
Not of works, lest any man should boast:
And what is more: It is a gift! Now, consider for this: A person does not work to receive a gift, nor does a person work to keep the gift that he so freely has received. Amen!
Verse seven: “He is a merchant, the balances of deceit are in his hand: he loveth to oppress.”
We will consider verse seven with verse eight.
Verse eight: “And Ephraim said, Yet I am become rich, I have found me out substance: in all my labours they shall find none iniquity in me that were sin.”
Ephraim, or Israel, is being described, by the prophet, as being a dishonest and a conniving merchant of this world rather than being a nation that loves and follows the LORD their God. They have left off from the first commandment! Jesus Christ Himself summarized this first commandment to one of the scribes [when He was here on this earth the first time] in the Gospel according to Mark, chapter twelve, in verses twenty-nine and thirty:
“And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” [Mark 12:29-30]
Now, when men possess a cocky spirit of self-righteousness, they by scheme, move in to oppress their neighbors, so as, to achieve all the gain for themselves. And when these same self-righteous people finally achieve this power over all others, they are observed to end up with all the riches of this world.
Now, these people seem to think that they have arrived!
But such ones should consider these following words that the LORD Jesus Christ preached in the Gospel of Mark, chapter eight, in verse thirty-six:
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” [Mark 8:36]
Now, these are words for the wise!
Verse nine: “And I that am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast.”
The LORD turns things on a dime! The Spirit of God, here in verse nine, turns’ things around with blinding supernatural speed. He goes from the judgment of His people to the restoration of His people. It is like us, who are living in the 21st century, who go from the shame of sin to the receiving of the gift of eternal life, all within a single verse of God’s holy word. Amazing!
He is saying, I am thy God even from the land of Egypt, and I am thy God even all the way back to the Promised Land.
Next, in verse ten we have an answer to the following question. How does God speak to the people of Israel?
Verse ten: “I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets.”
- God uses visions
- God uses similitudes [or resemblances in likeness].
God [WHO is Spirit] ministered to them His words through the prophets, and through Jesus Christ during His first advent. The book called Hebrews starts off this way:
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;” [Hebrews 1:1-2]
And for all us living today in the 21st century, we have God’s words already preserved in a perfect and holy book, called the BIBLE.
If you have an Authorized Version of 1611 [called the King James Bible], in any of its editions, in your hands today, then you have God’s words to you to read, believe [and study]. This Book will certainly minister to you in your time of need.
Verse eleven: “Is there iniquity in Gilead? surely they are vanity: they sacrifice bullocks in Gilgal; yea, their altars are as heaps in the furrows of the fields.”
We have already seen [in Hosea chapter six verse eight] that the city of Gilead [along with Gilgal] were already polluted with the blood of those sacrifices to Baal on all those altars of idolatry. Iniquity calls for God’s judgment.
Recall our comments on the judgment that “springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field” as found in Hosea chapter ten, verse four.
Verse twelve: “And Jacob fled into the country of Syria, and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep.”
This all harkens back to the story of Jacob, and his flight to Padanaram, to the house of Bethuel [which is the old homeland of his grandfather, Abraham]. This narrative is recorded in the First book of Moses called Genesis chapter twenty-nine. Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and for then another seven years for Leah by shepherding Laban’s sheep.
Verse thirteen: “And by a prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved.”
This prophet is Moses.
“And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, In all the signs and the wonders, which the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land,”
By a prophet was Israel preserved.
A prophet led them out of Egypt [which is a type of the world], and by a prophet God preserved Israel. God has used His prophets from the beginning to the end to minister to His people.
Verse fourteen: “Ephraim provoked him to anger most bitterly: therefore shall he leave his blood upon him, and his reproach shall his Lord return unto him.”
In the millennial Kingdom of Heaven, Ephraim fails to be listed among the tribes of Israel. See for this the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, in chapter seven:
Revelation 7:4-8: “And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.”
But there is no Ephraim here. Joseph has replaced Ephraim.
“Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim: But chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved.”
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