Chapter 1.
The Message of a Family to a Nation

Hosea 1

The book of Hosea is a mystery to most Christians because they have never taken the time to study it. Many preachers have never preached from this book because they have concluded there is nothing within its pages that is relevant or practical for the Christian today. On the contrary, the book contains Biblical insights on issues about marriage problems, rejection, love, grace and forgiveness, the restoration of failures, the consequences of backsliding, resisting the Lord, and God's purpose for trials in our lives. It has a number of key themes.

The theme of the carnality of a nation is addressed. Israel was unfaithful to God. Their idolatry was like adultery as they had abandoned their love for Jehovah, their husband. They were seeking security from the Assyrian and Egyptian military instead of the Lord. They were mixing the worship of Baal with the worship of God, which is impossible. When there is compromise with evil, immorality becomes gross and rampant. Doctrine affects deportment; beliefs affect behavior. Putting your security in things other than the Lord tend to be insecure. Israel's sins reveal to us the consequences of trying to serve two masters. It is impossible.

Matthew 6:24—No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

The theme of the consequences of sinful living is dealt with in this book. Hosea warned Judah, the Southern kingdom, against following the bad example of the Northern kingdom of Israel. Judah would not listen and experienced a devastating invasion and exile. Sin has destructive and terrible consequences that can last a lifetime. Judah was in captivity for seventy years. Beloved, we cannot escape God's judgment or chastisement when we become rebellious, ungrateful, and hardhearted toward the Lord. We are opening the garage door to huge problems in our life.

The theme of compassion is revealed in Hosea. As we will see, Hosea will try to restore his wife and bring her back after she forsakes him and pursues other men. God also pursues us with His tender, consistent, unchanging love. This book challenges us to not let success, material possessions, prosperity or popularity diminish our love and loyalty for Jesus Christ.

Hosea also touches the theme of the commencement or new start in our lives after we have repented of our sin. God forgives, encourages, and restores those who have repented. Genuine repentance opens the door to restoration and a new beginning for our lives.

As we open the curtain to this wonderful book, we find that the circumstances in Israel are very similar to what is taking place in the United States today. Charles Dickens said in one of his books, "It was the best of times as well as the worst of times." This describes Hosea's day. Israel was prospering, but they were perverse.

1. It was a time of falsehood and ignorance about God.

Hosea 4:1—Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel: for the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.

2. It was a time of adultery, violence or bloodshed, and robbery.

Hosea 4:2—By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood.

Hosea 4:12-14—My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God. [13] They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills, under oaks and poplars and elms, because the shadow thereof is good: therefore your daughters shall commit whoredom, and your spouses shall commit adultery. [14] I will not punish your daughters when they commit whoredom, nor your spouses when they commit adultery: for themselves are separated with whores, and they sacrifice with harlots: therefore the people that doth not understand shall fall. How could the nation get so perverse? The answer is they forgot about the holiness and purity of God. They forgot God's purpose for their lives.

3. It was a time of oppression and defrauding people.

Hosea 12:7—He is a merchant, the balances of deceit are in his hand: he loveth to oppress. Business men were cheating the people and loved doing it.

4. It was a time of the perversion of justice.

Hosea 10:4—They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a covenant: thus judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field. There was a problem with false oaths, empty agreements, and legal disputes that were sprouting up like poisonous weeds in a plowed field.

5. It was a time of economic prosperity.

Hosea 4:10-11—For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase: because they have left off to take heed to the Lord... Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart.

Hosea 7:5—In the day of our king the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine; he stretched out his hand with scorners.

Before the accession of Jeroboam II, the situation had been quite a different one. Because of military attacks by Assyria, far to the east, and Syria, to the immediate north, Israel had been brought to abject humiliation. During the reign of Jehoahaz (Jeroboam's grandfather), the strength of Israel's army had fallen to only "fifty horsemen, ten chariots and ten thousand foot soldiers. The king of Syria had "destroyed the rest, and made them like the dust at threshing time" (2 Kings 13:7). Recovery from this low state had begun with Jeroboam's father, Jehoash. He defeated the Syrians on three different occasions (2 Kings 13:25). Jeroboam had been able to continue this resurgence and bring the country to a strong position.

Because of this recovery, Hosea's generation, living at the close of Jeroboam's reign and following it, knew of humiliating defeat or foreign oppression only through the memories of their fathers. By this time there had been peace for many years, and with it had come economic prosperity. The land was again producing abundantly, and many people were becoming wealthy. Luxuries had once more become common. Building activity was flourishing on every hand, and this led to a widespread feeling of pride.

2 Chronicles 26:9-10—Moreover Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the corner gate, and at the valley gate, and at the turning of the wall, and fortified them. Also he built towers in the desert, and digged many wells: for he had much cattle, both in the low country, and in the plains: husbandmen also, and vine dressers in the mountains, and in Carmel: for he loved husbandry.

Hosea 8:14—For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples; and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities: but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof.

It is with this background that Hosea is preaching to Israel. He is the last line of defense before they are taken into captivity by the Assyrians in 722 B.C. His ministry was not easy because it was a time of prosperity. Israel wasn't worried about a thing. God's people were carefree and careless.

Now who is Hosea? Looking at his name will reveal some interesting insights. In Bible times, the Jews were very careful about naming their children. Names would be given based upon traits that the parents felt that the children had or would have in the days to come. Names were also given to indicate the present circumstances in the country or family when the child was born. For example, Jeremiah's name means "Jehovah hurls." Jeremiah was born during the dark reign of Manasseh which was a bad time in Israel's history. Jeremiah's parents were hoping that God would use their son to throw a message to the nation and to the king himself.

The name "Hosea" means "salvation" and has the same meaning as the name Joshua and Jesus. The name Hosea, like other Hebrew names, is significant, and denotes "deliverance" or "salvation." It has the idea of "deliverer," or "savior." In some ways, Hosea is a picture or type of Christ. Hosea's name fits his task very well for he was the last prophet to minister to Israel before she fell. He pleaded with the people to repent and be saved. He was a man of steel and velvet. He could be tough and also tender. He could explode like a volcano and soothe like a gentle flowing stream. He could be the saddest and gladdest of men. Hosea saw the gloom and doom of coming judgment, yet he could also see the hope of God's mercy and forgiveness.

Hosea's ministry began while Uzziah was king of Judah (792-740 B.C.) and Jereboam II was king of Israel (792-753 B.C.). He preached through the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. He also witnessed the reigns of the last six kings of Israel. His prophetic ministry lasted a good thirty years or more, beginning around 753 B.C. Some scholars feel his ministry could have been as long as sixty to seventy years. Isaiah and Micah preached to the Southern kingdom during the latter part of Hosea's life. Jonah and Amos preached during the beginning of his ministry in the Northern kingdom of Israel.

As we get to the heart of chapter one of Hosea, we see the importance of the family and the message that a family can have in reaching others for the Lord. Whether you realize it or not, your marriage, your family, and your life has a message that it is preaching to others in the neighborhood, in the city, possibly in the state, and for some, to the entire country or world. A family that does not honor God shows the consequences of not doing so. The trauma, turmoil, tension, tribulation, and trouble that sprout from this kind of family sends forth a message of warning, "Here is what happens when you don't honor the Lord in your home." A family that puts Christ first, serves the Lord, and loves the Lord wholeheartedly, sends forth a message of stability, love, patience, and peace, even when trials and heartache afflict that home. Let me ask you right here, "What is the message of your family? Do you love the Lord? Do you go to church when the doors are open, once in a while, or never at all? Do you tithe and put the Lord first in your finances? Do you love your wife, husband, children, or parents? What is the message of your family?" Why not sit down and think about it. According to a study of more than 500 family counselors, the following are the top traits of successful families:

What is the message of your life? What is the message of your family? God had a message for Hosea to preach. Notice verse one and two of the first chapter of Hosea.

I. THE COMMAND OF THE LORD—1:1-2

The phrase, "the beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea" would more accurately be translated "with" or "in Hosea." The word of the Lord was internally revealed to him, and was inspired into him by the Holy Spirit, who first spoke in him, and then by him. God spoke with Hosea about His will for Hosea's life. This phrase does not mean that Hosea was the first of the prophets to whom the word of the Lord came. There were other prophets such as Moses, Samuel, David, and others, before him. He was not the first of the minor prophets, for Jonah, Joel, and Amos are by some Bible scholars thought to have ministered before Hosea.

What did the Lord want Hosea to do? He wanted Hosea to get married. What was so unique about that? The answer is God wanted Hosea to knowingly marry a woman who would become unfaithful to him. Ouch! Could you do this? This is why the Lord told him directly to do this deed. Let's make a note here. God's will or directions at times may be very difficult to follow or understand.

Isaiah 55:8-9—For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. [9] For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

How we admire the obedience a dog shows to its master! Archibald Rutledge wrote that one day he met a man whose dog had just been killed in a forest fire. Heartbroken, the man explained to Rutledge how it happened. Because he worked out-of-doors, he often took his dog with him. That morning, he left the animal in a clearing and gave him a command to stay and watch his lunch-bucket while he went into the forest. His faithful friend understood, for that's exactly what he did. Then a fire started in the woods, and soon the blaze spread to the spot where the dog had been left, but he didn't move. He stayed right where he was, in perfect obedience to his master's word. With tearful eyes, the dog's owner said, "I always had to be careful what I told him to do, because I knew he would do it."

Beloved, when God definitely directs us through His Word or Spirit to do something, He doesn't want us to analyze it or figure out if it is logical. What He wants us to do is obey Him and trust Him. God had a specific plan and purpose for asking Hosea to do this deed. He wanted to use Hosea to preach a message to a nation through his family and through Hosea's life. Hosea was going to become a picture of God.

Verse two has been debated about the timing of the wife's unfaithfulness. Some contend that she was a prostitute when Hosea married her. I believe this would have hurt his ministry and credibility as a prophet. After studying the issue, I don't believe this is the accurate view in my opinion.

I believe Hosea's wife was a beautiful, virgin woman when Hosea married her, but she became adulterous after they were married. The Hebrew text does not require the wife to be adulterous at the time of marriage. In the beginning, I believe they enjoyed one another and that Hosea truly loved her dearly. I think he was crazy about her. Hosea knew, however, that she would become a wife of whoredom and be unfaithful to him and that she might give birth to children of other men. Perhaps, she was a flirt with other men or sensual around them before he married her. She may have not committed adultery yet, but her character or actions may have been sensual or loose. God was going to use Hosea to preach a message about the Prodigal wife with his own life as an object lesson. This view is a good parallel of Israel's attitude toward God. In the beginning, Israel was a faithful wife to the Lord.

Jeremiah 2:2—Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the Lord; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.

God espoused Israel unto Himself, but they eventually committed adultery, going after other gods. God knew they would be unfaithful and make their own choice to abandon Him. In spite of what would happen in the future, God loved His people and was longsuffering with them. The Lord would reach out to try to restore His people back to Himself. Hosea will present God as the Lord of the loving heart. He would be one of the first prophets preaching about the grace of God. Notice these verses about His love.

Hosea 2:14-16—Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. [15] And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt. [16] And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali. The term "Ishi" means "my husband" and "Baali" is a reference to "Baal."

Hosea 11:1-4—When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt. [2] As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images. [3] I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them. [4] I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.

Hosea 14:4-8—I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him. [5] I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. [6] His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. [7] They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. [8] Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found.

II. THE COMPLIANCE TO THE COMMAND—1:3

We do not find Hosea arguing with God about this command. He complies and does what he is instructed to do. He marries a woman named Gomer, who is the daughter of Diblaim. Sometimes you can find interesting insights in the names of people and places in the Bible that have relevant application. Gomer denotes "completion" or "consummation." It comes from a verbal root signifying "to perfect" or "come to an end."

In Gomer, we find a woman of consummate beauty and also consummate sinfulness. Sinfulness and sensual pleasure were perfected or complete in her life. She knew how to have her way with men and get what she wanted from them. Yet, eventually her way would come to an end and her life would be broken. Her name reflects fullness (completion), and also emptiness (come to an end). Gomer is a picture of many people today who have an abundance of wrong or unsatisfying things, leaving them unfulfilled, dissatisfied, and empty. The prophet Haggai described people like this. He said their life was like a bag with holes in it. They pour their energy into their bag of priorities that eventually leave them with nothing.

Haggai 1:6—Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.

Over the triple doorways of the cathedral of Milan there are three inscriptions spanning the splendid arches. Over one is carved a beautiful wreath of roses, and underneath it is the legend, "All that which pleases is but for a moment." Over the other is a sculptured cross with the words, "All that which troubles us is but for a moment." But underneath the great central entrance to the main aisle is the inscription, "That only is important which is eternal." If we always realize these three truths, we will not let trifles trouble us, and not be interested so much in the passing pleasures of the hour. We should live for the permanent and the eternal.

After Hosea marries Gomer, she conceives and bares Hosea a son. I believe that this child is Hosea's child because the Bible says that she bore him a son.

III. THE CONCEPTS IN THE CHILDREN'S NAMES—1:4-9

A. Jezreel—1:4-5

God is the one who names Hosea's firstborn son. He commands Hosea to name the boy Jezreel. The fact that the Lord is naming the child is significant. There is a message in this boy's name. The word "Jezreel" means "God will sow or scatter." The name indicates the Jewish people would be scattered in the future like marbles falling on a floor. The scattering indicates chaos and confusion. This is what happened as the Jews have been scattered or sown all across the world even to this day.

They were united in sin, but God broke up their party. He did the same thing at the tower of Babel (Genesis 11) when men all spoke the same language and were defiant toward God. God broke up that party by changing their language into many languages and creating confusion among the people. Beloved, never underestimate the God factor in your life. The Lord has a way of turning the tables in our lives and throwing up roadblocks to our schemes and plans when we are defiant or running from Him. Men like Achan, Samson, Jonah, the Prodigal Son, Haman, the accusers of Daniel all found out this truth the hard way. Life is full of rapid reversals.

Proverbs 27:1—Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

Proverbs 29:1—He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

1 Corinthians 10:12—Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

Another purpose for the name "Jezreel" was God intended to be an Avenger of the house of Jehu. Jezreel was the plain between Tabor and Carmel, called by the Greeks, Esdraelon. The royal city was in it. Here the Lord threatens to break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel. There are four reasons why the son of Hosea was to be called by this name.

1. God would avenge the blood shed by Jehu.

Jehu was instructed to destroy Ahab and his descendants and he was commended by the Lord for doing so.

2 Kings 9:6-8—And he arose, and went into the house; and he poured the oil on his head, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I have anointed thee king over the people of the Lord, even over Israel. [7] And thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord, at the hand of Jezebel. [8] For the whole house of Ahab shall perish: and I will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel:

2 Kings 10:30—And the Lord said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes, and hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in mine heart, thy children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.

Jehu became a bloody man and went beyond his instructions. It looked like he was obeying God, but in reality he wasn't. He also killed Joram and Ahaziah, the king of Judah along with 42 of his relatives (2 Kings 9:27-28; 10:12-14). Jehu's attack on the household of King David was out of bounds. Despite the fact that Ahaziah's assassination could be attributed to God's providence (2 Chronicles 22:7), it demonstrated a subtle disrespect for the Lord's instructions. Jehu did not follow God's instructions and distorted or disregarded God's command. This attitude surfaced in his lack of dedication in the worship of the Lord. His disobedience brought eventual judgment. The same thing will happen to us if we disobey.

2 Kings 10:29-31—Howbeit from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, Jehu departed not from after them, to wit, the golden calves that were in Bethel, and that were in Dan. [30] And the Lord said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes, and hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in mine heart, thy children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel. [31] But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin.

What is referred to in Hosea 1:4 is believed to be a reference to the slaughter of Ahaziah and his relatives. Their deaths were associated with Jezreel even though they were not slain in this place. God said He would avenge their deaths. God said He would be the Goel whose responsibility to the family was to 1) purchase back any family land that was lost or sold; 2) free family members who were sold into slavery by paying the redemption price; 3) avenge the death of any family member who had been slain or suffered wrong.

God is still our Avenger. He will take vengeance upon those who wrong us. Revenge belongs to the Lord and not to ourselves. Understanding this truth will keep you from becoming angry with your enemies, oppressors, and abusers. God will also take care of Satan one day.

Romans 12:19—Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

Revelation 20:10—And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

2. The name "Jezreel" also shows that Israel had lost the honor of His name, and was no more Israel, but Jezreel. (Israel is one that prevails by the "strength of the Lord." Jezreel is one that is "scattered by the Lord.")


3. The name "Jezreel" shows the way that God intended to bring judgment upon these ten tribes.

4. Jezreel indicates that the Lord would scatter them in that very place wherein they most gloried. (Jerome says the Israelite army was defeated in the valley of Jezreel before Samaria was taken.)

God said He would break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel which was the location of the main wealth of Israel. The bow was a symbol of power in a day when it was a principal instrument of warfare. Thus a broken bow symbolized the loss of power and broken military might.

Psalm 46:9—He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.

The "Valley of Jezreel," where Israel's bow would be broken, lay north of the city of Jezreel, between the ridges of Gilboa and Moreh. To the west, it merged into the Esdraelon Valley, and both have been scenes of major battles all throughout history. The prediction here is that this valley would see a significant stage in Israel's final defeat. Its fulfillment came mainly in the campaign of Tiglath-pileser III, who in 733 B.C. seized the area. Gideon won a great victory in this valley, but it became a place of disgrace and defeat as in the days after the death of King Saul. This valley will one day be the site of the battle of Armageddon.

B. Lo-ruhamah—1:6

Gomer conceives again, but the wording is different in this situation. It does not say that she bare him a daughter. It is strongly possible that this is not Hosea's child. God names this child too as He did with the first one. Hosea is to call this child "Lo-ruhamah." This name is formed from the word "Lo" which means "not" and the word "racham" which means "compassion, tenderness, mercy, or love." The name means "not pitied, no mercy, no tenderness, or no compassion." The Lord's love and mercy for Israel would be withheld for a period of time. God loves us deeply, but the enjoyment of that love is conditional and requires we be obedient and put our faith in Him.

2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1—Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? [15] And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? [16] And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. [17] Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, [18] And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. [7:1] Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

God loves you, but if you want His mercy and forgiveness, you must trust Jesus Christ as your Savior. Without Christ, you will not receive His mercy and His gift of salvation.

Titus 3:5—Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

The word "Ruhamah" also describes the tender feelings of compassion that parents have for their children or that a man would have for a younger brother. The word was also used to describe the strong aiding the weak. As loving as God is, He is also holy and will deal with the sin in our lives. Our disobedience robs us of His blessings and fellowship as Christians.

Exodus 34:7—Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

The Lord withheld His mercy from His wicked, defiant, hardhearted people. He would no longer show to a defiant Israel, the kind of love that parents show to their children. Israel had turned their backs on the Lord. God didn't move, Israel did. They strayed away from the Lord. God said that He would take them away in verse six. This phrase can also be translated, "that I should pardon them." God dealt with the sin of Israel and removed them from the land.

The word Lo-Ruhamah also describes the attitude of the people of Israel. They had no tenderness, compassion, or love for the Lord. Their attitude is what gets them in trouble in the first place.

Zechariah 7:11-12—But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. [12] Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts.

In verse seven, we find a difference between Israel and the Southern kingdom of Judah. God's mercy would be upon Judah. He would protect and deliver them Himself from the Assyrians. God would directly intervene on their behalf. In 701 B.C. the Lord supernaturally annihilated 185,000 soldiers of the Assyrian army in one night, breaking their military campaign into pieces (2 Kings 19:32-36). Beloved, God can powerfully intervene in our affairs too. Never underestimate the God factor. Put your cares and trust in His hands.

1 Peter 5:7—Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Proverbs 3:5-6—Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. [6] In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

C. Lo-Ammi—1:8-9

That Gomer had her third child after the second was weaned shows that the births of the children came fairly close together. This child most likely is not Hosea's son based upon the wording of the verse compared to the wording of his first child. God instructs Hosea to name this child Lo-ammi. The name "Lo-Ammi" means "not my people." The significance of this is stated in the remainder of the verse. Israel was disowned by God as His people; He would no longer be their God. The Hebrew reads, "and I (am) not I AM to you."

The second mention of the word "God" is paraphrased. It is not in the Hebrew text. The reason for the name Lo-Ammi is found in verse two. The people had departed from the Lord in the area of faithfulness, going after other gods. God did not move; the people of Israel left Him. Their actions indicated they did not want God or want to belong to Him. They wanted to serve other gods so the Lord withheld His saving presence and protection.

The name Lo-Ammi is harsher in meaning than the name of the second child. The name Lo-Ruhamah spoke of not being loved; Lo-Ammi speaks of being fully disowned. Such is the nature of backsliding and its consequences. When you drift away from God, you tend to drift deeper and deeper as you get further away from Him. The consequences from sinful living become more intense and more destructive as you get further away from the Lord. The judgment and chastisement from the Lord tend to become more severe.

As a father of five daughters and two sons, I follow a pattern in the discipline of my children. If they are doing something wrong, I will offer a warning at first. If they persist, I usually give them a strong rebuke. If this does not stop the problem, the discipline gets more intense. I believe the Lord treats us the same way. If we continue to be stubborn toward the Lord, then He increases the pressure on us to get us to change our behavior.

Hebrews 12:11—Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

How can you tell if you are drifting away from the Lord or cooling off spiritually? There are several things to look for in your life or in the lives of people you care about very much.

  1. If one grows bolder with temptation and flirts with it, he is on the path to a spiritual catastrophe and drifting from the truth. Some folks flirt with temptations like drinking, drugs, necking, gambling, fornication, smoking, ungodly parties and places and say, "It won't hurt me!"
  2. Making a small matter of sins which once seemed grievous is a sure means to defeat. Common statements made are, "There is nothing wrong with that. You are narrow-minded or this is not that bad."
  3. For one to be comfortable in carnal living, so that there is little service for Christ, often results in backsliding. When you don't want to get involved in your church and you become less active, you are cooling off spiritually.
  4. Spending less time in the Bible leads to weakness.
  5. When God's exhortations become a drudgery or obligation rather than a joy and delight, the heart is growing cold.
  6. If the things of this world grow sweeter and more attractive than Jesus Christ, it will be found that your interest in spiritual matters are beginning to wane.

Proverbs 13:15—Good understanding giveth favor: but the way of transgressors is hard.

The way of the backslider is always hard.

Mark Twain was the pen name of Samuel Clemens. As a young man, he fell in love with a beautiful Christian woman named Livy and he married her. Being devoted to the Lord, Livy wanted the Lord to be first in their home after she and Sam were married. They prayed and read the Bible together for a time and then one day Sam said, "Livy, you can go on with this by yourself if you want to, but leave me out. I don't believe in your God and you're only making a hypocrite out of me."

Fame and fortune came to the Clemens. There were royal court appearances in Europe. Sam and Livy were on top of the mountain. Livy got further and further away from the Lord. The eventual fall came in her life. In an hour of bitter need, Sam said, "Livy, if your Christian faith can help you now, turn to it." Livy replied, "I can't Sam, I haven't any faith. It was destroyed a long time ago!"

What a tragedy that this happened in Livy's life. What is more tragic are multitudes of Christians that are right now making the same mistakes as Livy. They are becoming spiritual popsicles. If they go to church, it is the Church of the Deep Freeze pastored by Jack Frost. They are spiritually frozen. Does this describe you? When you take a census of your senses, do you find yourself weak in faith and love for the Lord? If so, begin rebuilding your faith and love today and get some help.

What are the reasons for people getting away from the Lord? How does a person get sidetracked from the Lord and err from the truth? Knowing the reasons and God's solutions will help us stay on our spiritual toes.

1. You STOP SEEKING the Lord—

The desire to know God is gone and apathy for the things of the Lord take root in your life. This happened at the church of Ephesus.

Revelation 2:4—Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. God gives us direction on what to do about this.

Joshua 23:8—But cleave unto the Lord your God, as ye have done unto this day.

Isaiah 55:6—Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Seek the Lord while you still have the desire to do so.

James 4:8—Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

It is important that you revive your love for Christ and forsake your love for this world's lifestyle. Seek the Lord in your life.

2. The SHUNNING of Temptation has Ceased—

Playing around with temptation and sin will eventually burn and scar your life spiritually. If you are doing this now, cease to do it immediately.

Matthew 24:12—And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. Sin will cool you off spiritually very fast.

Job 11:14—If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles.

3. There's a STANDSTILL in the Work of the Lord—

1 Corinthians 15:58—Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

When the Christian loses his purpose in serving the Lord, he will digress quickly in his growth. Let me say that there are many ways you can serve the Lord.

Philippians 1:27—Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

If you are cooling off spiritually, get busy for the Lord again.

4. You're STUCK in SINFUL Habits and Wrong Priorities—

The pressures and stresses from earthly matters and cares can distract the believer from spending time with the Lord. Get your priorities straightened out and break those sinful addictions.

2 Timothy 2:4—No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

Galatians 5:1—Standfast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Hebrews 12:1—Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

5. A SHALLOWNESS in Understanding the Truths of God's Word—

Many do not grow because of their ignorance of God's Word or lack of desire to learn the Bible.

Luke 8:13—They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

1 Peter 2:2—As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

If shallow in the Word then desire it and learn.

6. There's STRIFE with Other Christians—

Conflicts and arguments with other Christians can be devastating to your spiritual growth. The book of Proverbs teaches us to not let the sun go down on our wrath. If you are having conflicts with others, try to resolve them quickly if possible. Lot and his men strived with Abraham's workers. This led to his downfall.

Hebrews 12:15—Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Bitterness will rob one of his desire to live for Christ. It has a poisoning effect upon a person.

Philippians 1:27—Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

7. STALKING the Carnal Philosophies and Lifestyles of this World—

People get into trouble when they follow the reasoning and lifestyle of this wicked world.

2 Peter 3:17—Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.

8. SAINTLY Living is no Longer Practiced—

They no longer live a godly life. If this is so, then repent of your sin.

Job 23:11—My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.

Job 27:6—My righteousness I holdfast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.

Resolve in your heart to live a godly life with the Lord's help.

9. STEADFASTNESS in SERVING the Lord is SPENT—

Some lose their resolve to live for the Lord and others are weary in the work of the Lord.

Isaiah 50:7—For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. Make up your mind now that you are going to live for the Lord.

Daniel 1:8—But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

Galatians 6:9—And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Resolve to live your life for Christ and have a purpose.

This was the key to Daniel's spiritual success.

10. The SPOILING of the Mind and Heart—

Carnal and corrupt thinking will hinder you spiritually. Guard your thought life.

1 Peter 1:13—Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

11. SYMPATHY or Love for the Things of this World—

2 Timothy 4:10—For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.

1 John 2:15—Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

12. SERVING Two Masters—

Some endeavor to live for the Lord and also try to live for the praise of the carnal crowd. It won't work.

Luke 16:13—No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Hosea 10:2—Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images.

James 1:8—A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

13. SPIRITUAL Goals are Forsaken—

Paul kept going forward by keeping his spiritual goals in view and not giving up.

Philippians 3:13, 14—Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

14. A SHUDDERING of People's Opinions and Comments—

Fear hinders many a Christian from doing what God wants them to do.

Joshua 1:7—Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.

15. The SWAY of a SINFUL & SENSUAL Crowd—

Running around with the wrong kind of people will mess you up spiritually. This happened to Solomon who started out so well for the Lord.

1 Kings 11:4—For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.

1 Corinthians 15:33—Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

Proverbs 4:14, 15—Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.

16. SECOND Thoughts About Living For Christ—

Some miss their old sinful lifestyle and return to it.

Luke 9:62—And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

17. SELFISHNESS & Focusing On Your Will Instead of God's Will—

Proverbs 14:14—The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself

Ephesians 6:6—Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;

Psalm 40:8—I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

IV. THE COMFORT FROM GOD'S PROMISE—1:10-11

The division of chapters sometimes breaks up the thought of a passage of Scripture. In the Hebrew Bible, verse ten begins chapter two of Hosea. Textual scholars believe that the first verse of chapter two should be attached at the end of chapter one for a proper flow of the message.

In Hosea's day, God was disclaiming the Israelites as His people. They abandoned the Lord. In a day to come, God would make their number "like the sand on the seashore." God had a message of hope for His people along with a message of warning. The Lord will still carry out His promise of an innumerable posterity for Abraham, in spite of the unfaithfulness of the people.

God promised five great blessings: 1) National increase (vs. 10); 2) National conversion (vs. 10); 3) National reunion (vs. 11); 4) National leadership (vs. 11); 5) National restoration (vs. 11). In the place of defeat, failure, and barrenness, the place where they are not His people, God would bring about victory, fruitfulness, and blessing. They would be called the sons of the living God. Thank God He can turn defeat into victory. He can restore what sin has robbed from us. He can restore divided relationships, broken friendships and marriages. I like the promise found in the book of Joel.

Joel 2:25—And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. God promised to restore what was lost in His judgment of their sins. Sin may abound and ruin us, but grace much more abounds and can restore and revive us. Satan may knock you down, but you don't have to be knocked out. You may be pressed by your sin, but you don't have to be pinned. God's grace can overcome any failure in our lives.

Romans 5:20—Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

God's hopeful promise to re-unite His people would come one day. The reunion between Israel and Judah was partially realized when the people returned from the Babylonian exile. No longer was there a division of the two nations. Then, however, they were unable to choose their head of government. They were under governors appointed by the Persian court and never attained true autonomy then, nor at any time before the dispersion following the Fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. In fact, not until May, 1948, was it possible to speak of a truly autonomous, undivided nation of Israel. When Israel became a nation in 1948, it was a miraculous fulfillment of Bible prophecy. In one day, they became a nation. Notice what Isaiah said.

Isaiah 66:8—Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.

Jezreel means "God sows." His people have been sown into the Promised Land as He said. They became a nation once again after 2000 years of dispersion. When Jesus returns one day, He will rule and reign in Jerusalem. Israel and the world will have its Messiah and King at last, on His throne where He belongs.

Isaiah 9:6-7—For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. [7] Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.


Alternate Translations in the kjv 1611 Marginal Notes