Hosea Devotionals

 

 

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Hosea Commentaries
Hosea Devotionals
C H Spurgeon Sermon Notes and Exposition on Hosea
C H Spurgeon Sermons on Hosea
C H Spurgeon Sermons on Hosea 2
C H Spurgeon Sermons on Hosea 3
C H Spurgeon Sermons on Hosea 4
Alexander Maclaren Sermons on Hosea

 

Devotionals on
the Book of Hosea
C H Spurgeon: Faith's Checkbook, Morning and Evening

F B Meyer: Our Daily Walk, Our Daily Homily

Our Daily Bread, Today in the Word

Hosea 1:1-5
TODAY IN THE WORD
Italian restorers are using modern technology to refurbish two magnificent bronze, Greek sculptures found more than twenty years ago off Italy's shore. The two classical masterpieces were cleaned when they were first discovered. But inside, ocean salt had infiltrated the clay casting, resulting in corrosion. Using a miniature TV camera and relying on video images, restoration specialists used dental-like instruments to remove more than 200 pounds of clay.

The northern kingdom of Israel in the days of the prophet Hosea was very much like those Greek statues. Outwardly, things looked pretty solid. The nation was enjoying a time of material prosperity under ""Jeroboam son of Jehoash"" (v. 1) when Hosea began his prophetic ministry in the middle of the eighth century B.C.

Likewise, the military situation was stable, since the Assyrian empire to the east of Israel had given up its western expansion plans--for the time being.

But beneath the surface the nation's core was corroding. God lowered the ""camera"" of His holiness into the soul of Israel and exposed the spiritual adultery of His people. They had departed from Him (v. 2) and broken His covenant. Judgment was due--yet God would also remember His promises to Abraham and to David: restoring His people in a glorious future age.

Hosea was to deliver this message in a very unusual way. God ordered him to marry Gomer, a woman who would prove unfaithful. This was to be an object lesson of God's anger with Israel, yet also a lesson of His promise to restore.

Hosea's firstborn, Jezreel, was a reminder of judgment. Many years earlier, God's judgment was incurred by Jehu's killing Ahaziah, a descendant of David, at a town called Jezreel. In attacking the house of David, Jehu went too far--the judgment of God was then fulfilled when Jehu's descendant Zechariah was assassinated (2 Kings 15:8-12).

TODAY ALONG THE WAY
Like many of the Old Testament prophets, Hosea's message was firm. (
Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Hosea 1:2-9; 3:1-5

The land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord. - Hosea 1:2

TODAY IN THE WORD
Let’s begin today with a hypothetical question: If you found out that you were a victim of adultery, could you forgive your spouse? Imagine that the unfaithfulness was not a one-night stand, but a long affair. Imagine further that your spouse wasn’t very repentant and was even rather open about what he or she was doing. Would you still love your spouse? Would you want him or her back?

We have asked this question to highlight the incredible love of God. When we–His people–are unfaithful, spurning the love of our true Husband, He continues to love us. He pursues us, wooing us back and disciplining us. That’s the picture we see in the lives of Hosea and his wife Gomer.

Hosea 1:2 records God’s command to Hosea to take an “adulterous wife.” We don’t know if Gomer was unfaithful only after the marriage or before it as well. Probably her second and third child were conceived with other partners, because Hosea was not listed as the father. He was instructed to continue loving her unconditionally, but also to discipline her for her own good–for example, by driving her out of the house (Hosea 2).

Hosea’s marriage and family were a living symbol of God’s message of judgment. In front of the nation, they acted out the relationship between God and Israel. Just as Gomer chased after other men, Israel chased after other gods. Just as she dishonored the marriage covenant, so the nation dishonored its covenant with God (cf. Jer. 3:8-9; Ezek. 16:32-34). Punishment was imminent.

God commanded Hosea: “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is . . . an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites” (Hosea 3:1). Hosea even had to pay to take Gomer back, perhaps because she had debts, was a shrine prostitute, or was a slave. He gave her love she had in no way earned--the very definition of grace or mercy. In the same way, God would restore Israel (cf. Isa. 54:6-8).

TODAY ALONG THE WAY
In light of the faithful love of God on display in the narrative of Hosea and Gomer, we suggest you take another look at “Today Along the Way” for January 15. If you skipped this application, please consider doing it. (
Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Hosea 1:2
Dave Roever Story

Dave Roever Story– Vietnam war vet who had a white phosphorous grenade go off in his hand. He watched his skin fall off his face. His clothes were on fire, even caught his stretcher on fire (phosphorous chunks were still burning inside of him 12 days later in a Texas hospital). He was grossly disfigured w/3rd degree burns. How would his wife react to her husband-“monster”? Would she reject Dave?...W/o any expression of shock, Brenda kissed him & said, “Welcome home, Davey.” (book out with this title) Brenda demonstrated unquitting, unfailing, unrelenting Hoseanic kind of love!!! (Brian Bell, Calvary Chapel, Murietta)

Hosea 1:3
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily

Hosea 1:3 He went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim.

Under the glorious reign of Jeroboam, Israel had become very prosperous; but this period of wealth was one of shameless idolatry, self-indulgence, and oppression of the poor. The people were unfaithful to their marriage covenant with Jehovah; yet He loved them still. With the love that a husband may bear to the woman who is mother of his children, but who has shown herself worthless or abandoned, so God still loved, and wooed, and sought to reclaim. All this was set forth in Hosea’s sad personal history.

He married one who was probably well known at the court for her infidelities. Her children’s names were all significant. The first was called Jezreel, to indicate their prophetic import; the daughter, “Unpitied”; the third child, “Not My People”; and these children were accustomed, in after years, to go between the prophet and his wife and plead with her. “Plead with your mother, plead.”

What a living picture this is of God’s relations to ourselves! He has loved us, not because we were pure, and holy, and lovely; for, in fact, He knew that we were the very reverse. But with the clear prevision of our native sin and unfaithfulness, He took us into covenant relationship with Himself. Not because we were good, but to make us so; not because we were faithful, but to lead us to be so. He has given us all kinds of blessings. But, alas, how ill we have requited Him! We have departed from Him, and grossly betrayed His trust; till He has been reluctantly obliged to leave us to ourselves. But He waits to be gracious; and if we repent and turn to Him, He will say to us, Ammi, my people; and Ruhamah, thou hast obtained mercy.

Hosea 1
Our Daily Bread


You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory (Psalm 73:24).

When we reflect on the past, things often look much different than when they happened. For instance, a young woman cried when she broke up with a young man to whom she had been engaged. Yet later she told me that she looked back on that heartache with gratitude. Today she has a fine Christian husband, and the former suitor turned out to be irresponsible and has been divorced twice.

When Hosea wrote the book that bears his name, he saw the earlier events of his life quite differently than when he lived them. He had married a girl named Gomer, only to see her become unfaithful to him, bear children by other men, and sell herself into ritual prostitu­tion. With a broken heart, he had continued his ministry while loving her and longing for her restoration.

The day finally came when he was able to purchase her freedom and bring her home. The Lord enabled Hosea to see his relationship with Comer as a dramatic portrayal of God's relationship with His unfaith­ful people Israel. I believe that's why Hosea could say early in the book that the Lord, knowing all that would transpire, had in His wise providence directed the prophet to enter this marriage.

In heaven, we'll be able to look back and see God's purposes in the things that happened here on earth. With this assurance in mind, we can look forward in confidence, saying with the psalmist, "You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory."—H V Lugt (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Never be afraid to entrust an unknown future to an all-knowing God.

Hosea 1:6-2:1
TODAY IN THE WORD

The name of the sea that separates Korea from Japan has been the source of much contention over the years. Official geographic records identify it as the Sea of Japan. But a map from the early 19th century labels this body of water as the Sea of Korea. Koreans themselves prefer the name East Sea, saying that Japan's expansionism and annexation of Korea in 1910 allowed Japan to exert undue influence in the region. But so far, Korea's appeals to change the sea's name have been refused by international geographical authorities.

So what's in a name? Quite a lot, depending on who is doing the naming. Through the prophet Hosea and his family, God hung several well-deserved but painful names on the northern kingdom of Israel: ""not loved"" and ""not my people."" He also said, ""I am not [their] God"" (Hos. 1:9).

God's people had drifted so far from Him that through the birth of Hosea's daughter, Lo-Ruhamah, God made his announcement of judgment.

However, even God's judgment would not obscure His mercy and grace. The ""birth announcement"" of Lo-Ruhamah was followed by a promise of deliverance for Israel's sister kingdom, Judah. Although Israel would fall to the Assyrians, Judah was to be delivered from the conqueror's hand (v. 7).

This deliverance is described in 2 Kings 19:32-36. It was accomplished by the power of God alone rather than any military might on Judah's part: King Sennacherib of Assyria besieged Jerusalem, but God sent an angel to destroy the king's army and send him home in defeat.

Through this, God gave a glimpse of His grace in the midst of declaring severe discipline. As another forewarning of judgment, God gave Hosea and Gomer a third child, named Lo-Ammi, meaning ""not my people"" (Hos. 1:9).

What a vivid object lesson of God's intention! The people could no longer claim immunity from judgment.

TODAY ALONG THE WAY
All Christians experience the disciplining hand of God.
The writer of Hebrews reminds us that discipline is a sign, not that God has rejected us, but that we are His children. The author does admit, however, ""No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful"" (Heb. 12:11a). (
Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Hosea 1:7
Victory Without Battle

Faith's Checkbook
C H Spurgeon

“But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the Lord their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle,by horses, nor by horsemen.”—Hosea 1:7

PRECIOUS word! Jehovah Himself will deliver His people in the greatness of His mercy, but He will not do it by the ordinary means. Men are slow to render to God the glory due unto His name. If they go to battle with sword and bow, and win the victory, they ought to praise their God; yet they do not, but begin to magnify their own right arm and glory in their horses and horsemen. For this reason our Jehovah often determines to save His people without second means, that all the honor may be to Himself alone.

Look, then, my heart, to the Lord alone, and not to man. Expect to see God all the more clearly when there is no one else to look to. If I have no friend, no adviser, no one at my back, let me be none the less confident if I can feel that the Lord Himself is on my side; yea, let me be glad if He gives victory without battle, as the text seems to imply. Why do I ask for horses and horsemen if Jehovah Himself has mercy upon me, and lifts up His arm for my defense? Why need I bow or sword if God will save? Let me trust and not be afraid, from this day forth and forevermore. Amen.

Hosea 1:10
The Reach of Almighty Grace

Faith's Checkbook
C H Spurgeon

“It shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shallbe said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.”—Hosea 1:10

SOVEREIGN grace can make strangers into sons, and the Lord here declares His purpose to deal thus with rebels and make them know what he has done. Beloved reader, the Lord has done this in my case; has He done the like for you? Then let us join hands and hearts in praising His adorable name.

Some of us were so decidedly ungodly that the Lord’s Word most truly said to our conscience and heart, “Ye are not my people.” In the house of God, and in our own homes, when we read the Bible, this was the voice of God’s Spirit in our soul, “Ye are not my people.” Truly a sad, condemning voice it was. But now, in the same places from the same ministry and Scripture, we hear a voice, which saith, “Ye are the sons of the living God.” Can we be grateful enough for this? Is it not wonderful? Does it not give us hope for others? Who is beyond the reach of almighty grace? How can we despair of any, since the Lord has wrought so marvelous a change in us?

He who has kept this one great promise will keep every other; wherefore, let us go forward with songs of adoration and confidence.

Hosea 2:2ff
Today in the Word

One of the premier sporting and social events in Great Britain did not happen as scheduled after bomb threats forced police to evacuate 60ꯠ spectators at the Grand National steeplechase. Race fans, including members of the British royal family and an American film celebrity, swarmed out of the stands and onto the racetrack as authorities searched for the suspected bombs. Nothing was found.

In light of the potential tragedy, the party being cancelled was the last thing on the spectators' minds. As we see in today's text, Israel's ""party"" was about to be canceled too, the difference being that God's warning of judgment was no empty threat.

Hosea 2 contains some sobering charges against unfaithful Israel--and against any nation that forsakes the Lord, looking elsewhere for provision and protection. Notice the seriousness of the charges God makes.

First, Israel had proved to be an unfaithful wife to the Lord, her Husband (v. 2). The imagery of marriage was a powerful one in the Old Testament prophetic books. Fidelity is the hallmark of marriage; but Israel was committing spiritual adultery against the Lord by worshiping the Canaanite god, Baal.

The Israelites even credited Baal with providing the abundant food, drink and clothing that were gifts from the gracious hand of God, her true Husband.

God's second charge follows from this. Israel failed to acknowledge Him as the source of her blessings (v. 8). She would be punished by being deprived of these good things and held back even from the feasts and Sabbath observances that marked her worship of the true God. All of this would be accomplished in Israel's defeat and exile into Assyria.

The physical and spiritual blessings mentioned in today's passage were for Israel as a result of God's covenant with the nation. But the curses that God pronounced were the result of covenant-breaking.

TODAY ALONG THE WAY
Living in a country where we have enjoyed God's abundance for so long can give us amnesia regarding the Source of our blessings. How long has it been since you paused to thank God for His gifts of your daily bread and other necessities of life?

We hope this is a daily practice in your home, especially if there are children watching your example. Today, why not look around and take note of a particular (
Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Hosea 2:14
Wilderness Communion
Faith's Checkbook
C H Spurgeon

“I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness,and speak comfortably unto her.”—Hosea 2:14

THE goodness of God sees us allured by sin, and it resolves to try upon us the more powerful allurements of love. Do we not remember when the Lover of our souls first cast a spell upon us and charmed us away from the fascinations of the world? He will do this again and again whenever He sees us likely to be ensnared by evil.

He promises to draw us apart, for there He can best deal with us. This separated place is not to be a paradise, but a wilderness, since in such a place there will be nothing to take off our attention from our God. In the deserts of affliction, the presence of the Lord becomes everything to us, and we prize His company beyond any value which we set upon it when we sat under our own vine and fig tree in the society of our fellows. Solitude and affliction bring more to themselves and to their heavenly Father than any other means.

When thus allured and secluded, the Lord has choice things to say to us for our comfort. He “speaks to our hearts,” as the original has it. Oh that at this we may have this promise explained in our experience! Allured by love, separated by trial, and comforted by the Spirit of truth, may we know the Lord and sing for joy!

Hosea 2:14
The God Of Hosea
READ: Hosea 1:1-3; 2:14-20

I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her. —Hosea 2:14

At the end of Marc Connelly's play Green Pastures, old Hezdrel says he's not afraid to die because he believes in the God of Hosea. The Lord then speaks to him and asks if he didn't mean to say the God of Moses. Hezdrel says no, and explains that he saw the Lord of Hosea as being full of mercy and not fearsome anymore.

Hezdrel's certainty was based on a true story, played out long ago. It's a tale of unrequited love: Hosea's relentless love for unfaithful Gomer. She turned again and again to other lovers, and her infidelities broke Hosea's heart. But he never stopped loving her.

Gomer descended into a very dark place. I picture her used up, worn out, disease-ridden, laden with sadness, with nothing left—except Hosea's love.

The relationship between Hosea and Gomer was a picture of God's relationship with Israel. Although Israel had been unfaithful, and she was suffering the consequences, the Lord continued to pursue her and speak tenderly to her (2:14).

As Hosea's neighbors watched his story unfold, I imagine someone asking, "What is this irrational love?" And someone replying, "I see! Hosea loves Gomer and God loves me!"

This is the God of Hosea. Embrace His love, and discover that He isn't a fearsome God anymore.—David H. Roper (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

For Further Study
Read the book of Hosea and note God's words of love.
Read the online booklet
How Has God Loved Us?

To renew your love for God, review God's love for you.

Hosea 2:14-15
A door of hope

Only God can give new meaning to old names, & wipe out painful associations w/old places. Here the Valley of Achor (valley of trouble), where Achan was stoned (Joshua 7:24-26) will became a door of hope! (a valley of hope)

Some years ago, Donna Rice's name hit the tabloids in a highly publicized sexual scandal with former Colorado senator Gary Hart. In the aftermath, Hart's bid for the 1988 Democratic nomination was trashed and so was Rice's reputation. Rice disappeared from the public eye, but she's back--passionately committed to God and to "Enough is Enough," a Christian organization fighting to keep pornography out of the hands of minors. - Thankful for the support of her family, friends, and her Christian husband, Jack Hughes, Rice is most thankful for God's work in her life: "God loves us, but he doesn't grant us immunity from the consequences of our choices. However, when we mess up, if we ask his forgiveness, he'll redeem those choices, using our mistakes as a 'door of hope' for other people (Hosea 2:14-15). I have great empathy for victims of sexual abuse and pornography. God has brought purpose to my pain." (Today's Christian Woman. Christian Reader, Vol. 35, no. 2) (Quoted by Brian Bell, Calvary Chapel, Murrieta)

Hosea 2:14-23
TODAY IN THE WORD

D. L. Moody once wrote: ""The church is full of people who want one eye for the world and the other for the kingdom of God. Therefore, everything is blurred; one eye is long and the other is short; all is confusion...When the Spirit of God is on us, the world looks very empty; the world has a very small hold on us, and we begin to let go our hold of it and lay hold of things eternal. This is the church's need today.""

Israel in Hosea's day sounds very much like the people D.L. Moody described. The Israelites had at least one eye on the world, if not both eyes.

But Hosea's writings also contain the promise of restoration, much like Moody's expressed desire for the church. This interplay of God's judgment and mercy weaves its way throughout today's text.

Israel, God's adulterous wife, will one day be fully restored. In that day, which we believe is the coming millennial kingdom, God will reverse the pronouncement of judgment and call them His beloved people (Hos. 2:23).

After the judgment of the Assyrian captivity, which Hosea prophesied, God will come to His unfaithful people and woo them back to Himself like a suitor pursuing his first love. And they will respond to His overtures.

We haven't gone very far into the book of Hosea yet. But based on what we already know about Israel's spiritual condition and God's intense displeasure, these verses are a remarkable picture of tenderness and healing. Even though Israel went after other husbands--the false gods of the Canaanites--God would separate her from them and ""speak tenderly to her"" (v. 14).

What is being described here is a renewal of God's covenant with Israel. And these blessings are clearly yet in the future, for God promises total peace in the land and the abundant response of nature to His people's needs.

TODAY ALONG THE WAY
Though sometimes as God's children we are faithless, God remains faithful (2 Tim. 2:13). He is always desiring to draw us to Himself (
Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Hosea 2:15
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily

Hosea 2:15 The valley of Achor for a door of hope.

We are familiar with the story of the valley of Achor, where Achan the troubler of Israel was stoned to death. We can almost fancy the long stony valley through which again the house of Israel was made to pass. The prophet foresaw the heavy judgments which were about to fall upon the land, as God took back his corn and wine and flax, and laid waste their vines and fig-trees. It seemed as though the nation were again in the valley of trouble; and as the people take their weary way, dropping with fatigue and privation, behold, a door suddenly opens in the stony wall of flint, through which they pass into a land of corn, and wine, and wifely loyalty to their true husband. Thus the traveller piercing the Alps will, within the space of an hour, leave the northern slopes of ice and snow, and emerge upon the fertile plains of Italy.

It is a beautiful similitude, and one that still has its counterpart in spiritual experience. You, too, are in the valley of Achor—brought there in consequence of your sins; your life is overcast; your heart desolate. Ah, how different it is with you now, compared with those fast glad days when you went out after God, in the kindness of your youth, and the love of your espousals! God cannot leave you. He comes and pleads, “Return unto Me; thou art mine.” Will you answer his tender pleading with repentance, faith, and prayer? Will you cry, “Oh that it were with me as in the first days!” Then, immediately, right before you, the door of hope will spring open; and you will pass from winter to summer; from ice to vernal heat. Dare to believe that in your Valley of Achor there is but a door between you and the Divine betrothal—only a step.

Hosea 2:16-17
A Change of Name

Faith's Checkbook
C H Spurgeon

“And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali, for I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be rememberedby their name.”—Hosea 2:16-17

THAT day has come. We view our God no more as Baal, our tyrant lord and mighty master; for we are not under law, but under grace. We now think of Jehovah, our God, as our Ishi, our beloved husband, our lord in love, our next-of-kin in bonds of sacred relationship. We do not reverence Him less, but we love Him more. We do not serve Him less obediently, but we serve Him for a higher and more endearing reason. We no longer tremble under His lash, but rejoice in His love. The slave is changed into a child, and the task into a pleasure.

Is it so with thee, dear reader? Has grace cast out slavish fear and implanted filial love? How happy are we in such an experience! Now we call the Lord’s Day a delight, and worship is never a weariness. Prayer is now a privilege, and praise is a holiday. To obey is heaven; to give to the cause of God is a banquet. Thus have all things become new. Our mouth is filled with singing, and our heart with music. Blessed be our heavenly Ishi forever and forever.

Hosea 2:18
Faith's Checkbook
C H Spurgeon
In Calm Repose

“I will make them to lie down safely.”—Hosea 2:18

YES, the saints are to have peace. The passage from which this gracious word is taken speaks of peace “with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground.” This is peace with earthly enemies, with mysterious evils, and with little annoyances! Any of these might keep us from lying down, but none of them shall do so. The Lord will quite destroy those things which threaten His people: “I will break the bow and the sword, and the battle out of the earth.” Peace will be profound indeed when all the instruments of disquiet are broken to pieces.

With this peace will come rest. “So he giveth his beloved sleep.” Fully supplied and divinely quieted, believers lie down in calm repose.

This rest will be a safe one. It is one thing to lie down, but quite another “to lie down safely.” We are brought to the land of promise, the house of the Father, the chamber of love, and the bosom of Christ: surely we may now “lie down safely.” It is safer for a believer to lie down in peace than to sit up and worry.

“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.” We never rest till the Comforter makes us lie down.

Hosea 2:19-20
An Eternal Pledge
Faith's Checkbook
C H Spurgeon

“And I will betroth thee unto me forever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving kindness, and in mercies. Iwill even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness; andthou shalt know the Lord.”—Hosea 2:19-20

BETROTHMENT unto the Lord! What an honor and joy! My soul, is Jesus indeed thine by His own condescending betrothal? Then, mark, it is forever. He will never break His engagement, much less sue out a divorce against a soul joined to Himself in marriage bonds.

Three times the Lord says, “I will betroth thee.” What words He heaps together to set forth the betrothal! Righteousness comes in to make the covenant legal; none can forbid these lawful banns. Judgment sanctions the alliance with its decree: none can see folly or error in the match. Lovingkindness warrants that this is a love union, for without love betrothal is bondage, and not blessedness. Meanwhile, mercy smiles, and even sings; yea, she multiplies herself into “mercies,” because of the abounding grace of this holy union.

Faithfulness is the registrar and records the marriage, and the Holy Spirit says “Amen” to it, as He promises to teach the betrothal heart all the sacred knowledge needful for its high destiny. What a promise!

Hosea 2:19

Martin Luther called this verse a wedding ring w/6 precious stones!

Luther also said "It is the highest grace of God when love continues to flourish in married life. The first love is ardent, is an intoxicating love, so that we are blinded and are drawn to marriage. After we have slept off our intoxication, sincere love remains in the married life of the godly; but the godless are sorry they ever married" (Martin Luther. "William and Catherine Booth," Christian History, no. 26)

Hosea 3:1
Morning and Evening
C H Spurgeon

“The love of the Lord.” — Hosea 3:1

Believer, look back through all thine experience, and think of the way whereby the Lord thy God has led thee in the wilderness, and how he hath fed and clothed thee every day—how he hath borne with thine ill manners—how he hath put up with all thy murmurings, and all thy longings after the flesh-pots of Egypt—how he has opened the rock to supply thee, and fed thee with manna that came down from heaven. Think of how his grace has been sufficient for thee in all thy troubles—how his blood has been a pardon to thee in all thy sins—how his rod and his staff have comforted thee. When thou hast thus looked back upon the love of the Lord, then let faith survey his love in the future, for remember that Christ’s covenant and blood have something more in them than the past. He who has loved thee and pardoned thee, shall never cease to love and pardon. He is Alpha, and he shall be Omega also: he is first, and he shall be last. Therefore, bethink thee, when thou shalt pass through the valley of the shadow of death, thou needest fear no evil, for he is with thee. When thou shalt stand in the cold floods of Jordan, thou needest not fear, for death cannot separate thee from his love; and when thou shalt come into the mysteries of eternity thou needest not tremble, “For I am persuaded, that neither death; nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Now, soul, is not thy love refreshed? Does not this make thee love Jesus? Doth not a flight through illimitable plains of the ether of love inflame thy heart and compel thee to delight thyself in the Lord thy God? Surely as we meditate on “the love of the Lord,” our hearts burn within us, and we long to love him more.

Hosea 3:1-2

Then the LORD said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is .. . committing adultery. . . ." So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver (Hosea 3:1-2).

Mary Ann Evans, better known as English novelist George Eliot, wrote on May 5, 1880, to her friend Barbara Bodichon about her marriage. "By the time you receive this letter I shall . . . have been married to Mr. J. W. Cross . . . who . . . sees his happiness in the dedication of his life to me."

Hosea continued to love Gomer, his adultrous wife. His love and faithfulness became God's object lesson to Israel. Although Israel had been a wayward wife and chased after other gods, God was still faithful and loving.

Stories of unfaithfulness to God abound; men and women con­tinually seek intimacy with each other and with gods of their own making instead of with the One who truly cares.

The unfaithfulness of Judas must have hurt Jesus deeply. He had shared His life with him. At their last meal together, they dipped their bread into the bowl at the same time; their hands may have touched. Later, in the garden, Judas kissed Jesus, but it was a kiss of betrayal. Even though Judas double-crossed His loving friend for monetary gain, Jesus probably grieved when He heard that Judas hanged himself.

Like a faithful spouse, God listens for the phone to ring, for the sound of tires on gravel, for any sign that we have returned. When we finally come home, He quietly asks where we have been. He hugs us, tells us good night, and says, "I love you. I will always be here."

Hosea 3:1-5
The Greatest Story

Story - According to an old legend, a man became lost in his travels and wandered into a bed of quicksand. Confucius saw the man's predicament and said, "It is evident that men should stay out of places such as this." Next, Buddha observed the situation and said, "Let that man's plight be a lesson to the rest of the world." Then Muhammad came by and said to the sinking man, "Alas, it is the will of God." Finally, Jesus appeared. "Take my hand, brother," he said, "and I will save you."

This chapter is perhaps the greatest chapter in the entire bible! Why? Because it tells the greatest story in the entire bible.  It defines the word “so” in for God so loved the world! Outline: Love Chasing; Loves Checkbook; Loves Chastity; Loves Chaff; Love Charted. (Brian Bell, Calvary Chapel, Murrieta )

Bob Weber, past president of Kiwanis International, told this story. He had spoken to a club in a small town and was spending the night with a farmer on the outskirts of the community. He had just relaxed on the front porch when a newsboy delivered the evening paper. The boy noted the sign Puppies for Sale. The boy got off his bike and said to the farmer, "How much do you want for the pups, mister?" "Twenty-five dollars, son." The boy's face dropped. "Well, sir, could I at least see them anyway?" The farmer whistled, and in a moment the mother dog came bounding around the corner of the house tagged by four of the cute puppies, wagging their tails and yipping happily. At last, another pup came straggling around the house, dragging one hind leg. "What's the matter with that puppy, mister?" the boy asked. "Well, Son, that puppy is crippled. We took her to the vet and the doctor took an X ray. The pup doesn't have a hip joint and that leg will never be right." To the amazement of both men, the boy dropped the bike, reached for his collection bag and took out a fifty-cent piece. "Please, mister," the boy pleaded, "I want to buy that pup. I'll pay you fifty cents every week until the twenty-five dollars is paid. Honest I will, mister." The farmer replied, "But, Son, you don't seem to understand. That pup will never, never be able to run or jump. That pup is going to be a cripple forever. Why in the world would you want such a useless pup as that?"

The boy paused for a moment, then reached down and pulled up his pant leg, exposing that all too familiar iron brace and leather knee-strap holding a poor twisted leg. The boy answered, "Mister, that pup is going to need someone who understands him to help him in life!"

Crippled and disfigured by sin, the risen, living Christ has given us hope. He understands us--our temptations, our discouragements, and even our thoughts concerning death. By His resurrection we have help in this life and hope for the life to come. (Brian Bell, Calvary Chapel, Murrieta)

Hosea 3
TODAY IN THE WORD

Over the past year or so, we have witnessed some unusual auctions of memorabilia offered by the rich and the famous. The unusual thing about these celebrity ""garage sales"" has been the way bidders have driven the prices of the items far higher even than the most generous pre-sale estimate of their value. Whether it was a presidential rocking chair or a cigar humidor, eager buyers have paid wildly inflated prices.

The prophet Hosea went to an auction of sorts, but there were no wild bidders and no outrageous prices paid. Hosea paid an inexpensive fifteen shekels to buy back his wife Gomer.

Hosea followed the Lord's command when he purchased Gomer to bring her back, just as he did in marrying her. Through Hosea's act, God showed His people that He was taking the initiative to reveal His love to a faithless nation.

We can only imagine the condition in which Hosea found Gomer. As one Bible commentator observed, even if Gomer had been an attractive woman before this occasion, it is doubtful that any man looked on her with desire at the time her husband purchased her back. She had traveled the hard way of the transgressor.

But Hosea reconfirmed his love for Gomer and helped lead her to restoration (v. 3). All the while, the prophet's actions were a mirror of God's loyal love for the nation.

Israel's guilt as a spiritually adulterous wife has already been established, although there are more indictments to come. The people thought they were just ""partygoers,"" when in reality they were prisoners of their gross sins.

Exile in Assyria lay ahead, a time when the people would be forced out of the land as slaves and captives. No ruler would sit on Israel's throne, and no sacrifices would be offered (v. 4).

TODAY ALONG THE WAY
It's hard not to notice the parallels between Israel in Hosea's day and our nation today.

Spiritually, modern-day America is forsaking the Lord and running after gods of materialism, pleasure, and power. Our need is the same as that of the church at Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22). We need to open our eyes to our great spiritual needs and repent of our sin. (Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Hosea 3:5
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily

Hosea 3:5 Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God.

The unfaithful wife had left husband and children, and sunk into abject poverty and shameful disgrace; but Hosea is bidden to seek her again and bring her to his home. It was a wonderful act of condescending love on his part, to be willing to condone the past and take the poor stricken thing to his well-ordered dwelling. Nothing could have done it but the strong love which had followed her through all her wanderings, refusing to let her go. We cannot certainly affirm that Hosea’s love succeeded in making his Guinevere fair and lovely again; but we may cherish the hope that in this his compassionate love was recompensed.

Through the tragedy of the prophet’s domestic life, the people were called to see the mystery of the Divine faithful love. “The Lord loveth the children of Israel, though they turn unto other gods and love cakes of raisins” (Hosea 3:1, r.v.). The people in their wandering and rebellion had been unfaithful to the marriage vow plighted at Sinai. They had gone after many lovers; but God’s redeeming love would not let them go. That love still follows them; and though they have been for so many centuries without king, prince, sacrifice, or temple, they shall doubtless return to God. And is not this marvelous Zionist movement one further step towards the ultimate recognition and reunion?

You, too, have been without king or priest; without tears of penitence, or smiles of conscious acceptance. But the love of God has never ceased to follow you. And now, in your abject need, He seeks you out, and says, “Be for Me only.” Will you not come back to the goodness of God in these your latter days?

Hosea 4
TODAY IN THE WORD

Either a misunderstanding of orders or the personal rivalry of two British officers was responsible for one of the most celebrated, but senseless, moments in military history. During the Battle of Balaklava in the Crimean War, a brigade of British cavalry charged into a heavily fortified Russian position. The attack had no effect whatsoever on the battle's outcome and was very foolish. More than 250 of the 670 men in the brigade were killed or wounded. But British poet Lord Tennyson immortalized the attack in his poem, ""The Charge of the Light Brigade.""

It's fair to say that in the spiritual realm, Israel was mimicking that British brigade's foolish charge. Everyone, from the man on the street to the priests, was charging headlong into the judgment of God--with equally disastrous results.

Hosea 4 is a powerful and specific indictment against the sins of God's people. Their guilt was beyond question. In verse 2 alone, the Lord cited five of the Ten Commandments the people were breaking!

Since the Ten Commandments were the heart of Israel's covenant with God, the people's actions were a very serious breach of their promise to obey God's law and serve Him alone. God's love--His loyal, covenant-keeping love--was being repaid with faithlessness on His people's part (v. 1). Yes, the people were charging into the judgment of God, rather than toward victory.

As God specified His charge, it soon became apparent where a great part of the problem lay. The prophets associated with Israel's royal court, and particularly the priests, were wicked, faithless men leading the nation even further into the teeth of God's wrath.

God's people were perishing for lack of knowledge (v. 6). And the priests, who were charged with teaching the people about God, bore much of the blame. They not only rejected the knowledge of God and ignored His law, but they also benefited from the people's sins.

TODAY ALONG THE WAY
This is another sobering passage, partly because we also are capable of the same sins that drove Israel into exile.

However, today's verse contains a wonderful reminder of the blessing we can bring by teaching God's way of righteousness. You can do that even today, by following this simple suggestion. Turn to Exodus 20:1-17 and read the Ten Commandments.  (Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Hosea 4:1,3
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily

Hosea 4:1,3 The Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land.

Throughout the Old Testament the sin of the people and the prosperity or otherwise of their country are closely conjoined. If the people please God, harvests are plentiful, and the seasons of the year pursue their round in unbroken bounty. If the people backslide, the land is smitten. There is probably a much deeper connection than we suppose between the moral condition of our nation and its prosperity. It is at least remarkable that ever since the Indian Government has legalized impurity in India, and has made money out of the vices of Chinamen, that empire has been smitten with drought and pestilence. So with Africa; the injustice with which the natives have been treated has been terribly avenged in the rinderpest which has swept over the land. And may there not be a close connection between the vice, Sabbath-breaking, and drunkenness of Great Britain, and the agricultural distress which has so long driven our people from the open country to life in the cities? It is an awful thing when God has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land. Sin is then terribly avenged.

One noticeable feature with all the prophets is their intense devotion to God on the one hand, and their ardent patriotism on the other. They never scrupled to denounce the sins which were bringing their land to desolation, and to indicate the inevitable result. In the present instance, Hosea turned on the priests and showed how accountable they were for the desolation of the country.

On a wider scale still, we remember that creation groaneth and travaileth in pain because of sin; and its emancipation awaits the advent of the Lord, and the manifestation of his saints (Romans 8:21).

Hosea 4:1-3
James 4:4-6

TODAY IN THE WORD

Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. - James 4:4

The story of Hosea and Gomer perplexes many readers of Scripture. God instructs the prophet Hosea to marry a woman he knows will be unfaithful–she not only commits adultery, she also becomes a prostitute that Hosea must buy back from those making a profit from her (see Hos. 1–3). God does explain the reason behind His mysterious command to Hosea: “Because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord” (Hos. 1:2).

Hosea 4 details the charge of adultery that the Lord brings against His people. Their sin includes unfaithfulness, a lack of love, cursing, lying, murder, stealing, and adultery (vv. 1–2). God’s concern for His people on these issues hasn’t changed through the centuries; we will see that James rebukes his readers for many of these same sins, and we can be sure God still cares about these issues in our lives today.

Throughout his letter James has been drawing on themes that recurred in the Old Testament prophets, specifically justice and care for the poor (typified by the fatherless and the widow). In our passage today, James alludes to another theme frequently found in the Old Testament. The Prophets frequently refer to God’s relationship with Israel in terms of marriage, so it’s not surprising that Israel’s sin is referred to in terms of adultery. When Israel acted in ways that were inconsistent with their relationship with God, they acted adulterously.

James is making the same point. Conflict in the church arises from unwise living and following our own desires. This is the same thing as living like the world–which is to say, it’s spiritual adultery and cheating on God (v. 4). Now we can understand why James uses such a strong tone here!

James highlights another contrast here between pride and humility (v. 6). Pride, pursuing our own way, puts us in opposition to God. Humility, however, positions us to receive blessings of grace from God (cf. 3:13). And this is the relationship God desires to have with us. James says that the Holy Spirit “envies intensely”–God loves His people, and wants us to walk in the path of life (v. 5).

TODAY ALONG THE WAY
Just as God used Hosea and Gomer to reflect Israel’s adultery with God, He uses the marriages of Christians to reflect the relationship between Christ and His people (
Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Hosea 4:9-19
TODAY IN THE WORD

The towering monument to George Washington dominates the skyline in our nation's capital, and intentionally so. Buildings in Washington, D.C. are restricted to a height of nine stories so that they will not overshadow the Washington Monument. This is symbolic of a truth that has existed since the day God called Abraham to leave his homeland and go to Canaan: a nation seldom rises above the character of its leaders.

Not only that, but it also seems that after awhile a country's national ""persona"" begins to reflect the character, or lack thereof, of its leaders.

We are seeing another illustration of this principle in the nation of Israel in the eighth century B.C. The nation had gone bad, but the problem was not just that everybody was sinning against the Lord. Unfortunately, the Israelites had help--the terrible example of their priests and kings.

Chapter 4 of Hosea's prophecy seems to contain just about any sin that could be named. The mention of seeking answers by means of ""a stick of wood"" (Hos 4:12) refers to one ancient form of divination, a pagan practice strictly forbidden to God's people.

The priests, who had already come under God's indictment, were guilty because they offered sacrifices to idols in numerous locations, accompanied by immoral practices. It's little wonder that the young women of Israel turned to immorality and prostitution as a way of life (Hos 4:13).

Things were so bad that the prophet warned the southern kingdom of Judah to stay away from Israel so as not to duplicate Israel's sins. Specifically, Judah was warned to avoid the formerly holy sites of Gilgal and Bethel, the ""house of God,"" which had become Beth Aven, the ""house of wickedness.""

All of this starkly contrasts the way God wanted to tend, feed, and lead His people. He wanted to be their Shepherd, gently leading His lambs to safety and abundant provision.

TODAY ALONG THE WAY
Today's lesson is one that should cause us to pause and reflect, since the principle of ""like people, like priests"" (Hos 4:9) is still in effect--except today we might reword it to say, ""as a country's leaders are, so will its people be.""

We could argue about individual leaders, or champion our particular cause or party. But our first duty as Christians and citizens is to offer up prayer for those in authority (1 Tim. 2:1-2). Regardless of denominational or political identity, this is a command that all of God's people can obey. (Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Hosea 4:16
Stubbornness

“She is so determined to get her own way, she writes her diary in advance.”

“The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't.” (Henry Ward Beecher)

“God's will is hard only when it comes up against our stubbornness, then it is as cruel as a ploughshare and as devastating as an earthquake.” [Oswald Chambers]

 None so deaf as those who will not hear. [Matthew Henry]

Hosea 5
TODAY IN THE WORD

Adolph Hitler's destruction of thousands of Jews during the holocaust will go down in history as one of the fiercest, most inhumane acts of all time. He and his soldiers conquered nations, bringing humiliation and death to every person they suspected was a Jew. As word spread of Hitler's conquests and his ferociousness, his soldiers inspired paralyzing fear in the people who lay in their path.

The Assyrians who were threatening Israel in the days of Hosea were much like Hitler and his men. They were known for their brutality and cruelty toward their defeated foes. Add to this the Assyrians' utter contempt for the God of Israel, and Israel's actions described in Hosea 5:13 become shocking.

As Israel (referred to here as Ephraim) staggered under the discipline of God, the nation did not turn to Him in confession and repentance, but to its nemesis Assyria! It was like trying to draw up a peace treaty with Adolph Hitler.

The historical incident in view here is likely the submission of Israel's King Hoshea to Shalmaneser V of Assyria. Hoshea paid tribute to the Assyrian king, but then tried to make a secret alliance with Egypt. His trickery was discovered! Assyria invaded and conquered the land, deporting its people. This was the judgment prophesied by Hosea (2 Kings 17:1-6).

Today's reading shows the real problem with Israel's political scheming. Her problem was not military, but spiritual. The solution for Israel was not an alliance with Assyria, but a renewal of her true alliance--her covenant with God.

Israel needed a doctor to heal her sores (v. 13), but she ignored God and went to the wrong place. The images of God's discipline in these verses are remarkable. Moths and rot (v. 12) cause destruction, and a ""great lion"" tears to pieces (v. 14). Israel experienced all these miseries on ""the day of reckoning"" (v. 9), the Assyrian conquest.

TODAY ALONG THE WAY
The picture of a powerful enemy pressing at the gates of a fortified city has a parallel in our spiritual lives.

Our enemy the devil is a tireless invader, constantly seeking to penetrate our defenses and cause us to fall under his attacks. But we know from God's Word that Satan is a defeated enemy through the power of Christ.  (Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Hosea 5:1
Morning and Evening
C H Spurgeon

“In their affliction they will seek me early.” — Hosea 5:15

Losses and adversities are frequently the means which the great Shepherd uses to fetch home his wandering sheep; like fierce dogs they worry the wanderers back to the fold. There is no making lions tame if they are too well fed; they must be brought down from their great strength, and their stomachs must be lowered, and then they will submit to the tamer’s hand; and often have we seen the Christian rendered obedient to the Lord’s will by straitness of bread and hard labour. When rich and increased in goods many professors carry their heads much too loftily, and speak exceeding boastfully. Like David, they flatter themselves, “My mountain standeth fast; I shall never be moved.” When the Christian groweth wealthy, is in good repute, hath good health, and a happy family, he too often admits Mr. Carnal Security to feast at his table, and then if he be a true child of God there is a rod preparing for him. Wait awhile, and it may be you will see his substance melt away as a dream. There goes a portion of his estate—how soon the acres change hands. That debt, that dishonoured bill—how fast his losses roll in, where will they end? It is a blessed sign of divine life if when these embarrassments occur one after another he begins to be distressed about his backslidings, and betakes himself to his God. Blessed are the waves that wash the mariner upon the rock of salvation! Losses in business are often sanctified to our soul’s enriching. If the chosen soul will not come to the Lord full-handed, it shall come empty. If God, in his grace, findeth no other means of making us honour him among men, he will cast us into the deep; if we fail to honour him on the pinnacle of riches, he will bring us into the valley of poverty. Yet faint not, heir of sorrow, when thou art thus rebuked, rather recognize the loving hand which chastens, and say, “I will arise, and go unto my Father.”

Hosea 5:7
Morning and Evening
C H Spurgeon

“They have dealt treacherously against the Lord.” — Hosea 5:7

Believer, here is a sorrowful truth! Thou art the beloved of the Lord, redeemed by blood, called by grace, preserved in Christ Jesus, accepted in the Beloved, on thy way to heaven, and yet, “thou hast dealt treacherously” with God, thy best friend; treacherously with Jesus, whose thou art; treacherously with the Holy Spirit, by whom thou hast been quickened unto life eternal! How treacherous you have been in the matter of vows and promises. Do you remember the love of your espousals, that happy time—the springtime of your spiritual life? Oh, how closely did you cling to your Master then! saying, “He shall never charge me with indifference; my feet shall never grow slow in the way of his service; I will not suffer my heart to wander after other loves; in him is every store of sweetness ineffable. I give all up for my Lord Jesus’ sake.” Has it been so? Alas! if conscience speak, it will say, “He who promised so well has performed most ill. Prayer has oftentimes been slurred—it has been short, but not sweet; brief, but not fervent. Communion with Christ has been forgotten. Instead of a heavenly mind, there have been carnal cares, worldly vanities and thoughts of evil. Instead of service, there has been disobedience; instead of fervency, lukewarmness; instead of patience, petulance; instead of faith, confidence in an arm of flesh; and as a soldier of the cross there has been cowardice, disobedience, and desertion, to a very shameful degree.” “Thou hast dealt treacherously.” Treachery to Jesus! what words shall be used in denouncing it? Words little avail: let our penitent thoughts execrate the sin which is so surely in us. Treacherous to thy wounds, O Jesus! Forgive us, and let us not sin again! How shameful to be treacherous to him who never forgets us, but who this day stands with our names engraven on his breastplate before the eternal throne.

Hosea 5:15
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily

Hosea 5:15 I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face.

The withdrawal of God’s countenance and protection involved the exile of Israel from their own land. No weapon formed against them could prosper, so long as they walked with their Almighty Friend; but sin severed them from his care, and cut them adrift to be swept before the storm of the invader.

There is always a “till” in God’s withdrawals. He tears that He may heal; goes that He may come; leaves, that He may return so soon as the afflicted soul is led to seek his face. May not this be your lot? You seem deserted by man and God; life is going very hardly with you; thick darkness broods over your soul, and sore affliction devastates your life; yes, and worse is threatened. But is there not an offence somewhere that needs to be acknowledged; a sin that should be confessed?

Search yourself by the suggestions of this chapter. Have you in any way been a snare or a net to other souls, injuring them by your example or conversation (Hosea 5:1)? Have you been unfaithful to your immortal lover, Christ (Hosea 5:3)? Have you become proud of any of God’s gifts, or the position to which they have lifted you (Hosea 5:5)? Have you been grasping and fraudulent, like those who secretly remove the landmark to include a little more of their neighbor’s lands with their own (Hosea 5:10)? Have you willingly walked after the statutes of Omri (Hosea 5:11, and 1 Kings 16:25)? Have you gone for help away from God to some unhallowed alliance, such as is represented by King Jareb, the Assyrian, whose alliance Israel sought (Hosea 5:13)? Ask God what controversy He has with you, and put it away. You will be astonished to discover what evils you have been harboring. But the result will be salutary indeed.

Hosea 6:1-11
TODAY IN THE WORD

The great colonial preacher and theologian Jonathan Edwards was not only a powerful influence for Christ through his pulpit and his pen. He and his wife Sarah also established a godly heritage through their children, one that bore incredible fruit. Someone has traced the Edwards family line and concluded that Jonathan and Sarah's 929 descendants include 430 ministers, 86 university professors, 13 university presidents, 75 authors, 7 U.S. congressmen, and one U.S. vice-president.

Who wouldn't want to look down the generations and see the fruit of one's faithfulness to the Lord? That's a goal all of us can pray and work toward, both personally and on a national level.

But what happens when a particular generation is not faithful to God? He can still overrule and pour out His blessing on future generations. That's something of what we see in the opening verses of Hosea 6.

The laser beam of the prophet's message in the book of Hosea was focused on the generation of Israelites to whom he spoke and to those who would immediately follow. They were, as we have noted more than once, hurtling headlong into God's judgment.

But right in the middle of this prophecy of judgment we are given a fascinating glimpse of the restoration that still awaits Israel.

The generation that speaks the words of verses 1-3 in today's text is the generation that will be alive when Jesus returns. Paul describes this glorious day of healing and spiritual revival in Romans 11:25-27, where he says that ""all Israel will be saved"" when the Messiah, the Lord Jesus, comes again.

Romans 11 is an encouraging picture of a repentant generation, but Hosea 6:4 brings us back to the present day of Hosea's time. There was no explaining Israel's future blessing and repentance by the actions and attitudes of that generation.

TODAY ALONG THE WAY
There probably isn't one Today in the Word reader who wouldn't want to leave a spiritual heritage like that of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards.

That kind of fruit isn't borne in one day, of course. But what we do each day contributes to the building of a godly heritage. With that in mind, take time to review your week and identify those occasions when you made a spiritual investment in someone's life.  (Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Hosea 6:1
Surgery for Healing

Faith's Checkbook
C H Spurgeon

“Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.”—Hosea 6:1

IT is the Lord’s way to tear before He heals. This is the honest love of His heart, and the sure surgery of His hand. He also bruises before He binds up, or else it would be uncertain work. The law comes before the gospel; the sense of need before the supply of it. Is the reader now under the convincing, crushing hand of the Spirit? Has he received the spirit of bondage again to fear? This is a salutary preliminary to real gospel healing and binding up.

Do not despair, dear heart, but come to the Lord with all thy jagged wounds, black bruises, and running sores. He alone can heal, and He delights to do it. It is our Lord’s office to bind up the broken-hearted, and He is gloriously at home at it. Let us not linger, but at once return unto the Lord from whom we have gone astray. Let us show Him our gaping wounds, and beseech Him to know His own work and complete it. Will a surgeon make an incision, and then leave his patient to bleed to death? Will the Lord pull down our old house, and then refuse to build us a better one? Dost thou ever wantonly increase the misery of poor anxious souls? That be far from thee, O Lord.

Hosea 6:1
Our Daily Bread


KNOW that God punishes those who deliberately break His laws. I also know that God forgives all who repent and turn to Him. I live by these two certainties, and I have preached them throughout my ministry.

The first certainty—that God always judges wrongdoers—is often difficult to believe. Although He sometimes swiftly pun­ishes those who deliberately disobey Him (Hosea 5:14), more often He delays His judgment. People living immorally have laughed at me when I have spoken to them about their need to repent. Nothing bad has happened to them, they said, so they were willing to take a chance. Then I recall Hosea 5:12, where God says He works slowly and silently like a moth or like decay in a bushel of fruit. And I know that their downfall will come sooner or later.

My second certainty is this: God longs to forgive and restore those who have been rebellious. Always! No matter what the sin! He declared, "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live" (Ezekiel 33:11).

Two certainties: As surely as the sun rises in the morning, God's judgment will come. But God's mercy is just as sure for those who turn from their sin to Christ.—H  V Lugt (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Thank You, Lord, that Your desire for me is forgiveness, mercy, and life. Steer me away from foolish choices that lead instead to condemnation, judgment, and death.

Hosea 6:3
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily

Hosea 6:3 Let us follow on to know the Lord; his going forth is sure as the morning. (r.v.)

You may always count on God. If there is variation in his relations with us, it is on our side, not on his. Just as surely as we return to Him, we shall find Him running to meet and greet and receive us with a glad welcome.
The exquisite words of the text derive additional beauty when we consider them in the light of modern astronomy. The spot on which we live, when the day is done, slowly turns away from the face of the sun; and as each moment passes, plunges further and further from its wholesome, blessed light. At midnight we look out into the abyss of space in the opposite direction to the solar throne. But the moment when we have reached our furthest from the sun is followed by another, in which we begin to return to the light and glory of the perfect day. So when the soul has reached its furthest from God, it may immediately return to Him. Let us return. Let us know. Let us follow on to know the Lord.

Is there any doubt about our reception? No; there cannot be. Look again at the analogy of the physical night. During our absence the sun has not shifted from his place. We shall find him waiting for us; his going forth is prepared. We have but to pass into his blessed beams, which had not ceased to pour forth through the hours, which to us were so cold and dark. So our God is always waiting for us. He is just where we left Him. In Him can be no variation, neither shadow that is cast by turning. As certainly as we count on the dayspring may we count on God. Move then God-wards, through the dark hours. On the third day—the day of Resurrection—He will burst on your view.

Hosea 6:3
Follow to Know
C H Spurgeon
Faith's Checkbook

“Then shall we know, if we follow onto know the Lord.”—Hosea 6:3

NOT all at once, but by degrees shall we attain to holy knowledge, and our business is to persevere and learn by little and little. We need not despair, though our progress may be slow, for we shall yet know. The Lord, who has become our Teacher, will not give us up, however slow of understanding we may be; for it is not for His honor that any degree of human folly should baffle His skill. The Lord delights to make the simple wise.

Our duty is to keep to our main topic and follow on to know, not this peculiar doctrine nor that, but Jehovah Himself. To know Father, Son, and Spirit, the Triune God, this is life eternal: let us keep to this, for in this way we shall gain complete instruction. By following on to know the Lord, we learn healing after being torn, binding up after smiting, and life after death. Experience has its perfect work when the heart follows the trackway of the Almighty Lord.

My soul, keep thou close to Jesus, follow on to know God in Jesus, and so shalt thou come to the knowledge of Christ, which is the most excellent of all the sciences. The Holy Ghost will lead thee into all truth. Is not this His gracious office? Rely upon Him to fulfill it.

Hosea 6:6
May 7, 2000
Eyes Of Mercy
READ: Matthew 9:9-13


I desire mercy and not sacrifice. --Hosea 6:6

A new member often came late to an adult Sunday school class. She was not well-dressed. She seemed tense and unfriendly, and each week she left as soon as the teacher began the closing prayer. It wasn't long before the teacher began hearing others make judgmental remarks about her.

One Sunday the teacher had someone else close the class in prayer so that he could talk with the newcomer as she walked out. He found out that her physically abusive husband had abandoned her and their two children. He had left an enormous debt and no forwarding address. She was desperate, and she was searching for God.

The teacher began to see her through new eyes, eyes of mercy, and he alerted the class to her plight. Some of them opened their hearts to her in personal and practical ways. In time she began to relax and become friendlier. She soon turned to Jesus, the One she needed most.

Let's ask God to help us see others as He does. When we look at people through our own eyes, we can be insensitive, prejudiced, and harshly judgmental. We need to ask God for a heart of mercy and compassion--the kind of heart God has for each of us. When we do, we will see people through His eyes of mercy. —David C. Egner (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Looking, Lord, through eyes of mercy,
I see those who need Your care;
May Your Spirit work through me, Lord,
Binding up the wounds they bear. --Fasick

We can stop showing mercy to others when Christ stops showing mercy to us.

Hosea 6:11-7:7
TODAY IN THE WORD

Many readers of Today in the Word will remember a very effective anti-smoking television commercial from several decades ago. It showed a young father and his toddler son washing the family car. Every motion the father made was imitated by his son. Finally, the dad lit up a cigarette as the boy watched carefully, then picked up the pack. The message was clear: like father, like son.

Earlier this month we learned that eighth-century B.C. Israel illustrated a variation of this principle: like leaders, like people. One reason for the nation's sin and lack of faithfulness to God was its leaders' treachery. The priests failed miserably in their ministry of offering pure worship to God and teaching the people His ways. And Israel's kings were weak and opportunistic, often taking the easy way instead of showing regard for God and His laws.

Hosea 7 contains important messages of warning and instruction that can relate to America today. Leaders both in the church and in the government would do well to read God's indictments of Israel. We will pay close attention to this important chapter today and tomorrow.

God's desire to heal and restore is obvious once again. But He cannot and will not overlook flagrant sin, especially when there is no sign of repentance. This was Israel's condition in the final years before Assyria's conquest of her.

By now, we are well acquainted with Israel's sins. What is truly amazing is that the people acted as if God was oblivious to what they were doing and was incapable of doing anything about it. On the contrary--their sins were fully ""exposed,"" ""revealed,"" and ""always before [God]"" (Hosea 7:1-2).

The political intrigue swirling about the capital city of Samaria is alluded to in Hosea 7:3-7. Four of Israel's final kings were assassinated, and King Hoshea sealed the nation's doom by trying to double-cross the king of Assyria.

TODAY ALONG THE WAY
What an awesome responsibility it is to be a leader!
Most of us would not classify ourselves as leaders. But like the father in the old television commercial, each of us is setting an example for someone else. So it is helpful to ask: how is your Christian example to your family, co-workers, fellow believers at church, or even the neighbor? (
Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Hosea 7:8-16
TODAY IN THE WORD

From the New Deal of the 1930s to the Great Society of the 1960s, America has been the object of a number of social programs designed to address some of our deepest human problems. These efforts have often been well-intentioned, but they have failed to alleviate, let alone eradicate, many of the problems they were intended to cure. Dr. Tony Evans, Bible teacher and Moody Press author, pinpoints part of the problem when he says we have asked the government to do what it was never designed by God to do.

As Dr. Evans says, ""If God is your problem, only God is your solution."" In other words, a problem that has spiritual roots will not be fixed by government action alone.

We referred to this issue several days ago because it applies to Israel in the days of Hosea. When Israel sinned and God afflicted her, instead of running to God, the leaders and their people ran everywhere else looking for relief.

Today's text maps out the foolish routes Israel's kings took. We already know that the nation knuckled under to Assyria for awhile in an attempt to stave off military disaster and that King Hoshea then foolishly tried to make a deal with Egypt.

These actions left Ephraim, or Israel, like a flat cake on a hot grill. This is vivid imagery, likening the nation to a piece of dough that lay burning and was soon to be discarded (v. 8).

The imagery changes in verse 9, but the result is the same. Like a man trying to deny that he is growing older, losing his strength and his dark hair, Israel blindly plunged on in arrogance and refused to seek the Lord for relief.

So God let His rebellious people fly into their trap, like senseless birds being snared by a crafty hunter. Amazingly, even as Israel reeled under God's discipline and yet refused to acknowledge Him, the people still expected the land to produce abundant grain and wine (vv. 11-14).

TODAY ALONG THE WAY
We are still witnessing the ancient problem of nations pinning their hopes for peace and security on manmade alliances and military might. (
Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)
 

Hosea 7:8
Morning and Evening
C H Spurgeon

“Ephraim is a cake not turned.” — Hosea 7:8

A cake not turned is uncooked on one side; and so Ephraim was, in many respects, untouched by divine grace: though there was some partial obedience, there was very much rebellion left. My soul, I charge thee, see whether this be thy case. Art thou thorough in the things of God? Has grace gone through the very centre of thy being so as to be felt in its divine operations in all thy powers, thy actions, thy words, and thy thoughts? To be sanctified, spirit, soul, and body, should be thine aim and prayer; and although sanctification may not be perfect in thee anywhere in degree, yet it must be universal in its action; there must not be the appearance of holiness in one place and reigning sin in another, else thou, too, wilt be a cake not turned.

A cake not turned is soon burnt on the side nearest the fire, and although no man can have too much religion, there are some who seem burnt black with bigoted zeal for that part of truth which they have received, or are charred to a cinder with a vainglorious Pharisaic ostentation of those religious performances which suit their humour. The assumed appearance of superior sanctity frequently accompanies a total absence of all vital godliness. The saint in public is a devil in private. He deals in flour by day and in soot by night. The cake which is burned on one side, is dough on the other.

If it be so with me, O Lord, turn me! Turn my unsanctified nature to the fire of thy love and let it feel the sacred glow, and let my burnt side cool a little while I learn my own weakness and want of heat when I am removed from thy heavenly flame. Let me not be found a double-minded man, but one entirely under the powerful influence of reigning grace; for well I know if I am left like a cake unturned, and am not on both sides the subject of thy grace, I must be consumed for ever amid everlasting burnings.

Hosea 7:8,10
August 25, 2004
Half-Baked Christians
READ: Hosea 7


Ephraim is a cake unturned. . . . But they do not return to the Lord their God. —Hosea 7:8,10

The prophet Hosea used the tribe of Ephraim as a poetic representation of the northern kingdom of Israel. In a colorful admonition, he wrote that Ephraim had become "a cake unturned" (Hosea 7:8).

In today's terminology, the prophet might have said that Ephraim was "half-baked." The people were like a pancake burned on one side but raw on the other. Although they took advantage of the Lord's goodness, they did not seek Him with their heart. When they needed help, they turned to other sources (vv.10-11,14-16). They had become tasteless and useless to God, so He was forced to judge them.

Jesus echoed the words of the prophet. Although He had gentle words for penitent sinners, He gave a scathing rebuke to the haughty and self-righteous who wanted to live as they pleased. He was furious at two-faced religious leaders who talked a good talk but turned around and exploited their followers (Matthew 23:13-30).

God is never soft on sin. He sent His only Son to redeem us from sin's penalty (John 3:16). Let's not be half-baked Christians, claiming God's forgiveness but still living as we please. The only fitting response to God's mercy and grace is to serve Him in humility and love.—Haddon W. Robinson (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Thinking It Through
What is the basis of our salvation? (Ephesians 2:8-9).
How are we to respond to God's grace? (v.10).
How does God correct His children? (Hebrews 12:5-11).

God's grace is not license to live as we please—it's liberty to please God

Hosea 7:8-12
August 23, 2003
The Divided Heart

Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name. —Psalm 86:11

The Israelites of Hosea's day were trying to worship both pagan idols and the one true and living God. So the prophet Hosea used three colorful figures of speech to describe their divided hearts.

First, they were like a half-baked cake—palatable neither to God nor the pagans (7:8). Second, they were like a proud man who can't see the signs of his aging—they were unaware of their spiritual decline (vv.9-10). Third, they were like a senseless dove—flying from one pagan nation to another in a vain quest for help (v.11).

Today, we as Christians are often afflicted with the same divided-heart syndrome. We believe on Jesus but are reluctant to commit every area of our lives to Him. We go to church but don't want to live out our faith each day if it deprives us of worldly success or pleasure. A divided heart, though, results in some serious consequences. First, we don't please God or attract nonbelievers to Christ. Second, it may take a crisis to show us our true spiritual decline. And third, we live unfulfilled lives, even though we flit from one worldly pleasure to another.

Let's pray each day, "Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name" (Psalm 86:11). —Herbert Vander Lugt (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

An undivided heart, O Lord,
Is what we need each day,
For we are prone to compromise
And wander from Your way. —D. De Haan

A divided heart multiplies our problems.

Hosea 7:9
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily

Hosea 7:9 Grey hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not.

Sin in its worst forms was prevalent among the people, and secretly deteriorated their strength. Of this, however, they were unconscious; but imagined that they were as strong as at other times, anticipating long years of national prosperity. They little weaned that they had reached the old age of their history, with its attendant decrepitude and helplessness. What a striking illustration of the insidious process of decay, of unconscious deterioration, of the departure of the Samson-might while we wist it not.

But is not this always the case with the initial stages of backsliding, of which this is the most dangerous element, that we are so largely unaware of the change that has come over us? Gradually and almost insensibly we lose our watchfulness over our thoughts; our relish for the society of God’s people; our delight in God’s house; our interest in the salvation of others; our sensitiveness of conscience as to the conventionalities of trade or society. We do not realize it; we are not specially concerned; we have no idea that the white ant is eating out the substance of our furniture, and the dry-rot undermining the rafters of our house. Strangers are devouring our strength; grey hairs are indicating our decay—to all eyes but our own. We grow grey almost imperceptibly; the strength of our manhood is very slowly undermined; the degrees of spiritual declension are as the fall of the year through the last days of summer. But it need not be if we would regard ourselves in the mirror of God’s Word.

“It is strange: but life’s currents drift us So surely and swiftly on, That we scarcely notice the changes And how many things are gone.”

Hosea 8:1-7
TODAY IN THE WORD

As recently noted by Christian writer Kurt De Haan, a group of more than 100 scientists keep a close eye on outer space, watching for hurtling objects such as asteroids or comets. The concern is that one of these heavenly bodies could be thrown out of its orbit and collide with earth, having a devastating outcome. De Haan observes: ""Frankly, I'm one of those people who is not terribly worried about an asteroid hit."" He says he is much more concerned about our readiness for an event we know is going to happen: the return of Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:10).

De Haan's point is well made. It's easy to be concerned about the wrong thing. Just look at Israel in the text before us.

The nation's rulers were wandering around like wild donkeys (Hos. 8:9), worrying about the armies of Assyria massed against Samaria. And all the while, Israel completely ignored the One she should have been keeping an eye on, her covenant-keeping God.

The pattern of Israel's disobedience has become familiar to us. Like a loving and forgiving Husband, God had done everything possible to turn His wayward people back to Himself. But they did everything possible to spurn His love. So He sent a great eagle, the army of Assyria, to swoop down on His hapless people.

But what else could we expect from a people who offered God hollow, hypocritical worship, chose its leaders without consulting Him, and then constructed and bowed down to calf-idols? We can hear the anguish in God's complaint concerning His people: ""How long will they be incapable of purity?"" (v. 5). Hosea must have wondered the same about his wife Gomer.

TODAY ALONG THE WAY
Our God is always faithful in His relationships with us as believers. But how often do we find ourselves responding to Him with the exact opposite attitude? (
Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Hosea 8:7
Reaping Whirlwind

If you cheat in practice, you'll cheat in the game. If you cheat in your head, you'll cheat on the test. - You'll cheat on the girl. You'll cheat in business. You'll cheat on your mate. - Sow a thought, reap an act. Sow an act, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny.

Hosea 8:8-14
TODAY IN THE WORD

Earlier this year (1997), television coverage of the terrible flooding from the Red River brought us a very unusual sight. Fire raged through a three-block area of buildings in downtown Grand Forks, North Dakota, even though the city streets stood under several feet of flood water. Fire crews were slowed by the icy, sewage-filled water flooding the streets. They finally managed to bring the fire under control, but only after it had destroyed at least six buildings.

Watching a building burn as it stands in water is, thankfully, something we don't see every day. But it's an appropriate picture of the situation Israel found herself in as the Assyrians closed in from the east and God closed in from above.

You could say that Israel couldn't seem to do anything right. The nation incurred God's anger and invited His judgment as we see in Hosea 8:14 of today's passage: ""I will send fire upon their cities."" Even when Israel's leaders made an attempt to do something about their situation, they turned to the wrong source and added ""flooding to their fire.""

Hosea refers to Israel's attempt to seek an alliance with Assyria as the act of a ""wild donkey"" (Hosea 8:9). Most wild animals will do anything to avoid being brought under control, even if their resistance is self-destructive. That was the case with Israel as the nation resisted God's every attempt to bring His people back to Himself.

In Hosea 8:10, God says He will gather Israel together, although the nation had sold herself to other nations. But this was for judgment, not for redemption. God would gather Israel together to send the people into exile in Assyria.

The reasons for Israel's punishment are stated again in Hosea 8:11-14, this time in very personal terms. God's law and His sacrifices were precious and holy gifts to Israel, but the people disregarded them and defiled themselves. God could not overlook these offenses.

TODAY ALONG THE WAY
You probably know people who, like Israel, can't seem to make right decisions. As a result, they go from one situation of bondage to another.  (
Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Hosea 8:12
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily

Hosea 8:12 I write for him my law in ten thousand precepts. (r.v.)

The a.v. slightly differs here: “I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing.” God’s will is so all-sided and far-reaching in its scope, that it cannot be contained in one precept or a thousand. It needs ten thousand precepts to set forth its heights, and lengths, and breadths, and to cover all the circumstances of our lives. But how thoughtful God is in anticipating our ten thousand difficulties, perplexities, and questions; and in directing us how He would wish us to act. Anticipating all the steps of our life, God has written ten thousand precepts to guide us.

But what great things have been unfolded to us in the Law of God—using that term to cover the entire compass of revelation! Mysteries which pass the conception of angels have been placed within the reach of men. Our Father has beckoned us to share with Him the sublimest secrets of his government.

Let us not count them as strange things. We often say to one another: “Do not treat me as a stranger.” And is not this the sense in which we may get estranged from the word and thought of God—keeping them only for special times; giving them courtly entertainment; but refusing to admit them to the familiarity of daily intercourse? Nothing hurts God more than this! Never perform your daily duties as though God must be shut out from them. If you keep one day sacred, it is that all time may be sanctified: if you keep one place private for prayer and worship, it is that the light which shines there may irradiate all the places of your daily occupation; if you keep one meal for special meditation on the love of Jesus, it is that whether ye eat or drink, or whatever ye do, all should be done for Him.

Hosea 9:1-9, Deuteronomy 11:8-12;
TODAY IN THE WORD

Two small children are playing on the floor, each with plenty of toys. Suddenly, Junior decides he doesn't like what he has and wants the toy his sister is playing with. So he proceeds to confiscate it, and a struggle ensues. After the dust settles, his sister loses interest in the toy and discards it. Interestingly, the toy is now Junior's, but he doesn't want it any more. Every parent has witnessed a scene like this at one time or another.

This is a rough analogy of Israel's attitude toward God's abundant blessings. He had blessed the nation with material and spiritual gifts beyond what any other nation had ever enjoyed. In fulfillment of God's covenant promises, the fertile land produced an abundant harvest (Deut. 8:7-9).

But Israel was not content to worship God for these blessings. The people looked at the pagan nations around them and decided they liked the idols these nations worshiped. So instead of serving God, the Israelites bowed down to Baal, the Canaanite fertility god. They then attributed their abundance to him and implored him for continued fruitfulness.

God had no choice but to punish such arrogant faithlessness. And as we have seen throughout the book of Hosea, God's judgment was perfectly appropriate to Israel's sin. If the people wanted to defile themselves by worshiping unclean idols, God would see to it that they would eat unclean food during their captivity in Assyria (Hosea 9:3).

Moreover, while in exile Israel would not be able to offer the sacrifices to God prescribed by the Mosaic covenant, and her great feast days would pass unobserved. Once more, God matched His chastening to Israel's sins. They had treated His blessings as nothing and discarded Him. So they would waste away in a foreign land while their possessions and homes back in Israel became overgrown with briers and thorns (Hosea 9:6).

TODAY ALONG THE WAY
Today's verse offers us an antidote to the snares of pride, lust, and greed that trapped ancient Israel. In fact, we recommend that you take an extra five minutes today to read the 25th Psalm. (
Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Hosea 9:8
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily

Hosea 9:8 Ephraim was a watchman with my God. (r.v.)

Watch with God. — To watch with God is the privilege of comparatively few. Eight were left outside the garden; to three only did Jesus say, “Come and watch.” To watch for the morning star, for the first flowers of the coming spring, for the coming of the Bridegroom, for the setting up of the Kingdom—such is the privilege of those elect souls who are bidden to take their lamps, and go forth to meet the Bridegroom. It is a high honor to be appointed to watch with God the slow evolution of his purpose; to stand on the watch-tower and see what He will say; to be a watchman for the people, a spokesman of their danger when the sword approaches; to be allowed to enter into some of his tears, and yearnings, and prayers, as He beholds the city and weeps over it.

Watch against sin. — But we may be displaced from that position of privilege and responsibility as Israel was. We learn that at this time the chosen had deeply corrupted themselves, as in the darkest days of the Judges; and we may fall into similar corruption and rebellion, unless we watch ourselves, whilst we watch with God. Let us watch and pray, lest we enter into temptation. Corruption is always around us in this world of death. Its germs float on every breeze. We need, therefore, to steep ourselves in the antiseptic of the Holy Spirit’s grace. This is the true Eucalyptus in which the germs of disease perish.

Watch unto Prayer. — “Prayer,” said Phillips Brooks, “is not compelling God’s reluctance, but laying hold of God’s willingness.” It is as though we waited for God’s movements to bless us, and taking the stream at the flow, launched our heavy barge upon it, that his power might bear us forward.

Hosea 9:10-17
TODAY IN THE WORD

Someone has wisely said that many times the worst thing that can happen to us is getting what we want. If our desires for possessions, position, or power are misguided, then reaching our goal and acquiring the object of our desire brings with it some built-in consequences--even though they may not surface until years later.
In the years immediately before its conquest by Assyria, the northern kingdom of Israel was experiencing this principle. In verse 10 of today's text, the Lord looked back to Israel's early history of flourishing as a nation, a reference we will see again in Hosea 10:1 and 11:1.

There is real irony in these word pictures. Even while Israel was taking her delight in spiritual adultery and immorality rather than in the Lord, God still found great delight in her.

No one would expect to find sweet, refreshing grapes in a desert, but God had found this kind of surprising delight in Israel's fathers. God's chosen people were to Him like the first fruit on a fig tree, which one Bible commentator describes as ""irresistible"" (Isa. 28:4).

But the Israelites spoiled God's taste for His people by engaging in immorality and the idolatry of Baal at Peor (Num. 25:1-3). And in Hosea's day, Israel had established immoral pagan worship at Gilgal (Hos. 9:15).

We have seen time and again how God tailored the nation's judgment to its sin. Verses 11-14 contain another example of the punishment the people were bringing on themselves. Because Baal was believed to grant human fertility, the Israelites looked to him for fruitfulness in child-bearing.

But their worship, of course, was tragically misplaced. God would judge this hideous sin by closing the wombs of those who sought fertility through Baal. Others would see their children die, most likely in the coming invasion by Assyria (v. 16).

TODAY ALONG THE WAY
Today's verse, ""the first and greatest commandment"" (Matt. 22:37-38), is another powerful remedy for spiritual unfaithfulness.

Praise is one way to keep your love for God glowing brightly. Here are three priceless blessings for which you can praise God today: praise Him for His light (1 John 1:5) that penetrates the darkness of sin, for His truth (John 17:17) that leads us in our relationship with Him, and for His love (John 3:16) that caused Him to give His Son for us.  (Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Hosea 10:1-10
TODAY IN THE WORD

The great Scottish Bible expositor Alexander MacLaren once wrote:

"We may have as much of God as we will. Christ puts the key of the treasure-chamber into our hand, and bids us take all that we want. If a man is admitted into the bullion vault of a bank and told to help himself, and comes out with one cent, whose fault is it that he is poor?""

That's a question we need to think about for awhile. Without a doubt, the people of Israel could have had all of God they wanted. When you have some time, read the covenant blessings God offered to Israel in the book of Deuteronomy.

What God did was to take a stubborn and rebellious people out of slavery in Egypt and plant them in the promised land like a ""spreading vine"" (Hosea 10:1). But Israel treated God's blessings in a way that would be totally incomprehensible to us--were it not that we often do the same thing.

Israel partook of the riches in God's ""bullion vault,"" but then turned to the spiritually bankrupt and vile religions of the nations around them. The more God blessed the nation, the more Israel used these benefits to build a system of pagan worship in the ""high places of wickedness"" (Hosea 10:8).

It takes a deceitful heart to do something like that, and this is just the kind of heart Israel had. The people's lack of loyalty to God was underscored by their lack of loyalty to one another and the agreements they made. Lawsuits had become a way of life for the faithless nation (v. 4), an observation that we in America need to take to heart!

These verses provide at least one more important detail of the coming Assyrian captivity. To their great shame, the calf-idol that Israel was so taken with would be confiscated and carted off to Assyria.

TODAY ALONG THE WAY
In 1 Corinthians 10:6, Paul urges us to learn important spiritual lessons from what happened to Old Testament Israel (
Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Hosea 10:11-15
TODAY IN THE WORD

In a book entitled Down to Earth, John Lawrence tells the story of a city that dared God to show Himself and paid a terrible price. It seems that the city of Messina, Sicily, was home to many wicked, irreligious people. On December 25, 1908, a newspaper published in Messina printed a parody against God, daring Him to make Himself known by sending an earthquake. Three days later, on December 28, the city and its surrounding district was devastated by a terrible quake that killed 84ꯠ people.

Although God does not always answer such challenges this directly, how foolish it is to shake a fist in His face. Though Israel was not daring God to strike in this way, the people were sinning in His very presence. Judgment was sure to fall.

The closing verses of Hosea 10 help to complete the prophet's picture of sin and judgment. But in the middle of this unrelenting indictment, we find an interlude that almost surprises us. Hosea 10:12 is an eloquent and refreshing invitation to personal and national holiness.

The promises of God's loyal love and showers of righteousness seem too good to refuse. God wanted Israel to sow righteousness, yet she spurned the offer of Her loving Husband and chose instead the heavy yoke of a plow animal. Since Israel seemed determined to yoke herself to sin, God would see to it that she was yoked to the heavy task of plowing (Hosea 10:11), a symbol here of the soon-to-come invasion and conquest by Assyria.

Pulling a plow was much harder work for an animal than pulling a threshing stone, but Israel chose the hard way of the transgressor. She had ""planted wickedness"" and ""reaped evil,"" in accordance with the principle of reaping what one sows (Gal. 6:7).

We're not sure of the references Hosea makes to a battle in Hosea 10:14, but the message for Israel is unmistakable. Hosea likened Israel's fate to the battle of Beth Arbel, where the devastation was terrible. This was what was in store for Bethel, a name used here to stand for Israel.

TODAY ALONG THE WAY
Reaping what you sow is an iron-clad principle in God's kingdom.

Perhaps that's why it appears so frequently in our daily journey through God's Word. We cannot be reminded often enough that what we do with the ""little stuff"" in our daily lives has real consequences (Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Hosea 10:12
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily

Hosea 10:12 Break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek the Lord.

The fallow ground. — There is a great deal of fallow ground in our hearts and lives; it has borne no crops of righteousness. Weeds have covered the unfruitful acres with their rank growth, and have scattered their thistle down into other lots. The rain has fallen and the man has shone in vain. In some cases our daily business life—in other cases our social life—is a blank, so far as religious usefulness is concerned. God gets no revenue from these barren fallow tracts. But the prophet bids us ascertain what they are, and break up the hard, caked surface by ploughshare and spade.

Breaking up the clods. — In his great sermon on this text, Finney exhorts to break up the fallow ground by the payment of neglected debts; the putting aside of evil habits; the righting of old wrongs; the forgiveness of old injuries.

It is time to seek the Lord. — The days are passing over us so rapidly, and we shall be at the end before we are well aware. “It is high time to awake out of sleep; ... the night is far past, the day is at hand.” May not the time past suffice us to have been barren and unfruitful; and shall we not make the best of the time which remains?

He will come and rain. — What a glorious promise! He will come and rain down righteousness. It is parallel to the words of the psalm: “Righteousness hath looked down from heaven.” It is certain that righteousness will never spring up in the furrows of our souls unless it has come down to us from the heart of God. In us are only the dark, bare, liveless clods, lying open in their need: in Him all that is pure, and holy, and righteous—but God waits to rain it down in plentiful showers.

Hosea 10:12
Morning and Evening
C H Spurgeon

“It is time to seek the Lord.” — Hosea 10:12

This month of April is said to derive its name from the Latin verb aperio, which signifies to open, because all the buds and blossoms are now opening, and we have arrived at the gates of the flowery year. Reader, if you are yet unsaved, may your heart, in accord with the universal awakening of nature, be opened to receive the Lord. Every blossoming flower warns you that it is time to seek the Lord; be not out of tune with nature, but let your heart bud and bloom with holy desires. Do you tell me that the warm blood of youth leaps in your veins? then, I entreat you, give your vigour to the Lord. It was my unspeakable happiness to be called in early youth, and I could fain praise the Lord every day for it. Salvation is priceless, let it come when it may, but oh! an early salvation has a double value in it. Young men and maidens, since you may perish ere you reach your prime, “It is time to seek the Lord.” Ye who feel the first signs of decay, quicken your pace: that hollow cough, that hectic flush, are warnings which you must not trifle with; with you it is indeed time to seek the Lord. Did I observe a little grey mingled with your once luxurious tresses? Years are stealing on apace, and death is drawing nearer by hasty marches, let each return of spring arouse you to set your house in order. Dear reader, if you are now advanced in life, let me entreat and implore you to delay no longer. There is a day of grace for you now—be thankful for that, but it is a limited season and grows shorter every time that clock ticks. Here in this silent chamber, on this first night of another month, I speak to you as best I can by paper and ink, and from my inmost soul, as God’s servant, I lay before you this warning, “It is time to seek the Lord.” Slight not that work, it may be your last call from destruction, the final syllable from the lip of grace.

Hosea 10:12
May 13, 2003
Planting Good Seeds
READ: Hosea 10:12-15


Break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord. —Hosea 10:12

As a new gardener, I soon learned that uncultivated soil was resistant to seed planting and growth. But when I planted good seeds in well-prepared soil, heaven's sun and rain did their part until the harvest came. Well-prepared soil, the right seeds, and God's blessing are essential for fruitfulness, not only in gardening but also in Christian living.

God's prophet Hosea preached this principle to the people of Israel. They had sown seeds of wickedness and trusted in their own way instead of God's. Now they were eating the bitter fruit of lies, especially the lie that their safety and success came from their own military strength (Hosea 10:13).

Hosea pleaded with Israel to go God's way—to break up the sin-hardened soil of their hearts and to "seek the Lord" (v.12). If they would sow seeds of righteousness, they would reap the Lord's mercy and He would rain blessings on them.

Is the soil of your heart resistant to God and His Word, rather than receptive? Do you trust in your own way rather than in God's? Then it's time to seek the Lord in honest repentance, to sow right actions and attitudes in your life, and to grow His way. Above all, depend on His power rather than your own to make you fruitful. —Joanie Yoder (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

If you sow the seeds of wickedness,
Its lies will cloud your mind;
If you scatter seeds of righteousness,
God's blessing you will find. —Sper

The flowers or weeds that spring up tomorrow are in the seeds we sow today.

Hosea 11:1-11
TODAY IN THE WORD

The house where German scientist Albert Einstein did some of his most creative thinking in the early 1930s was so peaceful and tranquil that Einstein referred to it as his ""paradise."" He loved to take long walks in the pine forest behind the house, and he cherished the quiet and seclusion it provided.

But today the atmosphere around that wooden house in the German village of Caputh is anything but tranquil. It is at the center of a bitter ownership battle involving the village and Jewish families seeking to recover property lost to the Nazis.

The land of Israel was meant to be to God's people what the house at Caputh was to Albert Einstein: a place of peace, safety, and tranquility--and the site of fruitful labor. Israel had all these blessings and more in the promised land. But her sin turned her home into a place of turmoil and fruitlessness.

For the third time in Hosea's prophecy, God looks back with favor on Israel's early history. Here He is, Israel's loving Father, tenderly calling His child out of Egyptian slavery and into the land of milk and honey (Hosea 11:1).

The tender reminiscence continues in Hosea 11:3-4. God took His helpless nation by the arms and taught Israel to walk. He healed the nation's wounds and fed them from His hand.

But like a rebellious child running from its father's outstretched arms, Israel ran from God into the arms of Baal. To say that this showed arrogance and an astonishing lack of gratitude on Israel's part is an understatement. How could God withhold a judgment that was so richly deserved?

Hosea 11:6 contains an important Hebrew word play, a technique Hosea employed frequently. Predicting the coming invasion and conquest, God said that the swords of Assyria would ""put an end"" to Israel's plans. In the Hebrew, this is the word ""devour"" or ""eat,"" the same word used in Hosea 11:4 for God's ""feeding"" of Israel.

What a contrast this makes between God's past blessing and the present judgment! Because Israel refused to be fed by God, He allowed Assyria to feed on His people, destroying the nation.

TODAY ALONG THE WAY
The chances are good that today's devotional is being read by many fathers whose relationship with their children has been disrupted by either rebellion or poor choices on one side or the other.  (
Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Hosea 11
Our Daily Bread

God's Gentle Leading

"I drew them with gentle cords, with bands of love." -- Hosea 11:4

It was a fascinating study in contrasts at the county fair. A rugged rancher led his cattle into the corral with shouts, curses, and beatings. The animals were wild-eyed and hard to manage.

Then a girl of about 14 led her prize-winning cow in. She spoke softly and reassuringly to the animal, stroking her and pulling gently on the rope. The beautiful Holstein walked calmly into the pen.

Hosea the prophet used farm imagery to describe how the Lord leads His people. Referring to Israel's journey from captivity in Egypt, he said that God "drew them with gentle cords, with bands of love" (Hos. 11:4). God had heard their anguished cries from Egypt. He led them lovingly, as a farm girl leads her cherished colt or prized heifer, to the place of His blessing. But that privileged relationship was about to change. Because of Israel's obstinate refusal to follow the Lord, He was about to turn them over to those who would oppress them and treat them roughly.

Thank God that He chooses to lead us with "bands of love." The road we are traveling is often difficult, but His leading is gentle. As we allow the quiet voice of the Spirit to apply God's word to our hearts, we will be content. -- David C. Egner (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

God holds the future in His hands
With grace sufficient day by day;
Through good or ill He gently leads,
If we but let Him have His way. -- Rohrs

God never leads you where His grace will not keep you.

Hosea 11:1-7
God's Love for Israel

To go through life with as little sorrow or pain as possible, love no one. Every time you allow yourself to love, you open the door to pain. A person who falls in love and marries may shed many tears over illness, death, or divorce. Parents will suffer many hurts as they watch their children grow up. Concerned health-care workers feel grief when patients die.

We can spare ourselves pain if we don't let ourselves become emotionally attached to anyone. But we will also miss out on some of the greatest joys in life. The more we love, the more we suffer. That's true. But the path of selfless love is also the path to some of our greatest joys.

In Hosea 11, God spoke of His love for Israel. He compared himself to a father caring for a child (vv. 3-4). But the people who should have brought Him joy caused Him pain instead. They rejected His love and guidance and did not honor Him (vv. 5, 7). God said He would discipline them, yet His sympathy was stirred and He promised He would not destroy the nation (v. 9).

Loving others makes us vulnerable to hurt and disappoint­ment, but the rewards are great when we choose to love in spite of the pain it will bring.—H V Lugt (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Hosea 11:1-11
June 7, 2002
Our Heavenly Father


As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. --Psalm 103:13

In a moment of exasperation, a father told me that if his son continued in his rebellious ways he was going to disinherit him and try to forget him. But I knew that father well. Although he was angry, hurt, and disappointed, I was sure he would never quit loving his son and longing for his conversion.

Good parents cannot forget how they cared for their children as infants, how they helped them take their first steps, and how they shared with them in both happy and painful growing-up experiences. But when children choose a sinful lifestyle, even good parents, after repeated pleas and warnings, may have no choice but to let them go their own way. Parents will do so with broken hearts and with the undying hope that their prodigal will one day return.

In Hosea 11, God is portrayed as Israel's Father. Because the nation had disobeyed, He had pleaded with them and chastened them time and time again. Yet they refused to change their ways. Finally, God withdrew from them and let them learn the hard way. Yet even then, He could not and would not completely abandon them. One day He will draw them back to Himself (Romans 11:26-27).

God loves His children today with that same kind of tough love. What a wonderful heavenly Father! —HVL —Herbert Vander Lugt (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

At times we spurn our Father's love
And choose a sinful path;
Yet He will not abandon us,
Though righteous in His wrath. —D. De Haan

God loves us not because of who we are, but because of who He is.

Hosea 11:1-12
May 8, 2001
My Life, My Plant

They were filled and their heart was exalted; therefore they forgot Me. --Hosea 13:6

Guests probably wonder why I keep a scraggly fern in my living room. I've gotten so used to its unsightliness that I seldom think to explain. The plant symbolizes a friendship that has become fragile, and I keep it in a prominent place as a reminder to pray for my friend, which I do whenever I water it. Its dried leaves make it obvious that I don't water it often enough, which also means that I don't pray often enough for my friend.

My fern is drying up because I don't water it until it wilts, and I carry that attitude along with me into my spiritual life. As long as my life is not in crisis, I figure that prayer can wait a while. But I'm wrong. When God's blessings make me think I don't need Him, I am more needy than ever.

The book of Hosea summarizes God's relationship with His chosen nation in words that parallel my own spiritual experience. God blesses, I grow; God satisfies, I take credit; God withholds His blessing, I realize my neediness; God reveals my sin, I repent; God forgives, I renew my devotion.

I've learned from my plant that I must pray even when I don't see the need. I need God just as much when I'm being blessed as when I am in crisis. —Julie Ackerman Link (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

It's easy to forget to talk to God
When everything is going our own way;
But that's the time we really need Him most,
Lest we depart from Him and go astray. —Hess

There is never a day when you don't need to pray

Hosea 11:1-12
January 18, 2000
A Love That Won't Let Go
READ: Hosea 11:1-12


How can I give you up, Ephraim? . . . My heart churns within Me; My sympathy is stirred. --Hosea 11:8

An elderly man lay in a hospital, with his wife of 55 years sitting at his bedside. "Is that you, Ethel, at my side again?" he whispered.

"Yes, dear," she answered.

He softly said to her, "Remember years ago when I was in the Veteran's Hospital? You were with me then. You were with me when we lost everything in a fire. And Ethel, when we were poor--you stuck with me then too." The man sighed and said, "I tell you, Ethel, you are bad luck!"

It's only a humorous story, but it reminds us how we can twist the facts and fail to recognize the love and loyalty of someone who cares about us.

In Hosea 11, we read that God's people had spurned the love that gave them birth as a nation and cared for them through many crises. Instead of loving Him in return, they burned incense to carved images (v.2), refused to repent (v.5), and were bent on backsliding (v.7). But even in His anger, when discipline became necessary, God did not stop loving them. He said, "My heart churns within Me; My sympathy is stirred" (v.8).

If you have strayed far from God, you may wonder how He can keep loving you. Admit your waywardness and remember the love that sent Jesus to die for your sins so you could be forgiven. God's love will not let you go. —Dennis J. De Haan (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail;
Thy mercies how tender! How firm to the end!
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend. --Grant

A child of God is always welcomed home

Hosea 11:3
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily

Hosea 11:3 I taught Ephraim to go.

This is very touching. It is one of the sweetest, tenderest words in the Bible—a metaphor borrowed fresh from the nursery. What an epoch it is in the child’s life when it first gets upon its feet! The mother sets it there, or it manages to get up by itself. But it dare not walk; it must be taught to go. Sometimes the mother holds the clothes from behind, or reaches out her hands in front, or hovers around the little hesitating figure with outstretched arms to guard against the fast sign of tumbling. The lesson is not learned all at once. Sometimes many a sad fall tutors the venturesome pupil; but the mother is not discouraged. With a kiss and a “never mind” she puts the little one on its feet again, and teaches it to go.
God is teaching us to go. He holds our hands in his; walks beside us with outstretched arms to see that we do not fall to our entire undoing; catches us when we are about to stumble, and picks us up when we have fallen to our hurt. God is never discouraged, any more than the mother is; and the more weak our ankle-bones and nervous our gait the more care does He expend.

There are stages beyond this. There is the walk that pleases God; the running, when He has enlarged our heart; the mounting up with the wings of eagles. But at the end of life we come back to the going: I will go unto the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and upon the harp I will praise Thee, O God, my God.

“I have no help but Thine, nor do I need Another arm save Thine to lean upon! It is enough, my Lord, enough indeed; My strength is in thy might, thy might alone!

Hosea 11:4
Morning and Evening
C H Spurgeon

“I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love.” — Hosea 11:4

Our heavenly Father often draws us with the cords of love; but ah! how backward we are to run towards him! How slowly do we respond to his gentle impulses! He draws us to exercise a more simple faith in him; but we have not yet attained to Abraham’s confidence; we do not leave our worldly cares with God, but, like Martha, we cumber ourselves with much serving. Our meagre faith brings leanness into our souls; we do not open our mouths wide, though God has promised to fill them. Does he not this evening draw us to trust him? Can we not hear him say, “Come, my child, and trust me. The veil is rent; enter into my presence, and approach boldly to the throne of my grace. I am worthy of thy fullest confidence, cast thy cares on me. Shake thyself from the dust of thy cares, and put on thy beautiful garments of joy.” But, alas! though called with tones of love to the blessed exercise of this comforting grace, we will not come. At another time he draws us to closer communion with himself. We have been sitting on the doorstep of God’s house, and he bids us advance into the banqueting hall and sup with him, but we decline the honour. There are secret rooms not yet opened to us; Jesus invites us to enter them, but we hold back. Shame on our cold hearts! We are but poor lovers of our sweet Lord Jesus, not fit to be his servants, much less to be his brides, and yet he hath exalted us to be bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, married to him by a glorious marriage-covenant. Herein is love! But it is love which takes no denial. If we obey not the gentle drawings of his love, he will send affliction to drive us into closer intimacy with himself. Have us nearer he will. What foolish children we are to refuse those bands of love, and so bring upon our backs that scourge of small cords, which Jesus knows how to use!

Hosea 11:4
November 12, 2005
Our Father's Love
READ: Hosea 11


I drew them with gentle cords, with bands of love. —Hosea 11:4

A young Christian dad took his parenting role seriously. When his son was an infant, he protected him. As the boy grew, his dad played ball with him, encouraged him, and tried to teach him about God and life. But in his teen years, the boy went too far and too fast in his move toward independence.

Like the prodigal son in Luke 15, he rejected his father's values. He made foolish decisions and got into trouble. The father was deeply disappointed, but he never gave up on him. "No matter what he's done," he said, "he's still my son. I'll never stop loving him. He'll always be welcome in my house." The joyful day finally came when father and son were reunited.

The people in Hosea's day followed a similar pattern. Although God had rescued them from Egypt and nourished them, they turned their backs on Him. They insulted His name by worshiping the gods of the Canaanites. But still God loved them and longed for their return (Hosea 11:8).

Do you fear that you may have strayed too far from God to be restored? He who saved and cares for you longs for your return. His arms are open in forgiveness and acceptance. He will never drive you away.

How glad we can be for our Father's love!—David C. Egner (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

I've found a Friend, O such a Friend!
He loved me ere I knew Him;
He drew me with the cords of love,
And thus He bound me to Him. —Small

God's love has no limits.

Hosea 11:8
July 2, 2004
Love Is Vulnerable
READ: Hosea 11:1-11

How can I give you up, Ephraim? . . . My heart churns within Me; My sympathy is stirred. —Hosea 11:8

The experience of a heartbroken Christian woman (I’ll call her Mary) illustrates how love makes the lover vulnerable. Mary was a devoted wife who deeply loved her husband, but after 8 years and two children he left her for another woman. Her faith in God and her love for her children kept her going.

Today, her son is living a sinful lifestyle, and her daughter has abandoned her husband and children. Neither of them will have anything to do with their mother.

The prophet Hosea suffered a similar heartbreak because of his adulterous wife Gomer. What he experienced mirrors how God must have felt when His people turned to pagan idolatry and all the wickedness associated with it. God had been a loving husband and father to them, but they had spurned His love. Although His holy character demanded that He chasten them, He also felt deep anguish.

Centuries later, God came to earth in the person of Jesus, who endured the agony of Calvary to bear the sins of the whole world. Yet many people still reject Him.

Yes, love is vulnerable, and there are no guarantees that it will be returned! But God continues to love, and in His strength we can do the same.—Herbert Vander Lugt (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Your love, O God, would spare no pain
To conquer death and win;
You sent Your only Son to die
To rescue us from sin. —Gustafson

Nothing costs as much as loving—except not loving.

Hosea 11:8
January 12, 2005
Choose To Feel
READ: Hosea 11


My heart churns within Me; My sympathy is stirred. —Hosea 11:8

The bumper sticker on the blue van caught my attention:
CHOOSE TO FEEL

As I considered those words, I noticed the billboards I was passing. They urged me to choose things that would keep me from feeling—alcohol to deaden emotional pain; fat-laden food to alleviate feelings of emptiness; luxury cars and other expensive items to lessen feelings of worthlessness.

Many of the temptations that lure us away from God do so by promising to relieve the emotional hurt we all feel because of the consequences of sin—our own sin or someone else's.

God set a different example. Instead of becoming numb to the pain our sin causes, He chose to suffer the results of it. Through the prophet Hosea, God expressed the heart-wrenching pain of losing a wayward child. "I stooped and fed them," He said tenderly. "I drew them with gentle cords, with bands of love" (11:3-4). Still they rejected their heavenly Father. Reluctantly, He let them face the consequences.

When we choose to feel the full range of our emotions, we come to a fuller understanding of the God who created us in His image—the image of One who feels.

It's okay to feel that all is not right in the world. God feels that way too!
—Julie Ackerman Link (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

God knows each winding way I take,
And every sorrow, pain, and ache;
His children He will not forsake—
He knows and loves His own. —Bosch

Choosing to deaden bad feelings eventually deadens our ability to feel good

Hosea 11:9
You Deal with God
C H Spurgeon
Faith's Checkbook

“I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, Iwill not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God,and not man.”—Hosea 11:9

THE Lord thus makes known His sparing mercies. It may be that the reader is now under heavy displeasure, and everything threatens his speedy doom. Let the text hold him up from despair. The Lord now invites you to consider your ways and confess your sins. If He had been man, He would long ago have cut you off. If He were now to act after the manner of men, it would be a word and a blow, and then there would be an end of you: but it is not so for “as high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are his ways above your ways.”

You rightly judge that He is angry, but He keepeth not His anger forever: if you turn from sin to Jesus, God will turn from wrath. Because God is God, and not man, there is still forgiveness for you, even though you may be steeped up to your throat in iniquity. You have a God to deal with, and not a hard man, nor even a merely just man. No human being could have patience with you: you would have wearied out an angel, as you have wearied your sorrowing father, but God is longsuffering. Come and try Him at once. Confess, believe, and turn from your evil way, and you shall be saved.

Hosea 11:12-12:14
TODAY IN THE WORD

Like a skillful prosecutor, God has carefully built His case against the wayward nation of Israel. Now, as we consider today's Scripture reading, He is getting ready to wrap up His presentation of the evidence for judgment. But before He allows the prophet Hosea to put down his inspired pen, God has a few more witnesses to call against Israel and a closing argument to make.

God's witness list in today's text is an impressive one. It includes Jacob (or Israel), the father of the nation, and Moses, the nation's greatest prophet. Both had a lesson to teach Israel, but both lessons went unheeded.

Jacob's story is referred to twice (Hos. 12:2-5, 12). His famous and first act as a newborn was grabbing his brother Esau's heel (Gen. 25:26). This was a clue to Jacob's usurping and scheming character, but he eventually had to face God and repent of his sin. Like him, Israel needed to return to God and seek His favor.

In Hosea 12:12, God called on Jacob again to remind Israel of her humble beginnings. The nation's father had to tend sheep just to secure a wife. Then in his old age, Jacob had to take his family to Egypt to avoid starvation in the famine.

From Egypt, God used the prophet Moses to lead His people to their promised land. Moses' incredible ministry is condensed here into one verse (v. 13), but the message of God's continual goodness to Israel suffers nothing from this abbreviation.

Around these witnesses, the text continues to weave a tapestry of Israel's utter spiritual faithlessness, injustice, and boasting. As we noted a few days ago, people who show no regard for God will show no regard for one another.

So we should not be surprised to learn that Israel, again represented by the prominent tribe of Ephraim, was a place where a person could not expect to be treated honestly (v. 7). Violence and lies were the order of the day (v. 1).

TODAY ALONG THE WAY
When we look around at the violence, deceit, and boasting that stains so much of American life today, we realize that the writings of Hosea carry a vital message for our nation. (
Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Hosea 12:3
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily

Hosea 12:3 By his strength he had power with God.

Jacob’s strength lay in his weakness. As long as he seemed strong, and was able to oppose force to force, he failed of the highest blessing; but when the sinew of his thigh shriveled beneath the angel’s touch, and was out of joint; when he was in imminent danger of falling helplessly to the ground—he prevailed, and received the name of Israel the Prince.

The eloquence of tears. — “He wept.” There is no record of these tears in Genesis, but we can well understand that they flowed freely. The entire results of Jacob’s life—wife, children, and fortune—were at stake. With one fell sweep, Esau on the morrow might reduce him to the loneliness with which he had passed over Jordan years before. God is touched by tears. He puts them in his bottle. He hears the voice of our weeping, and interprets it

The power of prayer. — “He made supplication.” “I will not let Thee go unless Thou bless me.” Remember how the Syrophenician mother cast herself at the Savior’s feet, and pleaded for help. The Lord kept her waiting till her prayer had reached a pitch which only delay could have induced, and then turned to her with the assurance that all she had claimed was hers. You may be kept in the attitude of prayer through the long night, but at daybreak you may receive what you sought.

The strength of weakness. — As long as we can stand and hold our own, we fail of our quest. When we are lamed and broken, and unable to do more than cling, we realize God’s hidden stores of blessed help. The sick child elicits most of the mother’s love. The last-born babe drags down to the level of its tiny mouth its strong and brawny father.

Hosea 12:12
Morning and Evening
C H Spurgeon

“Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep.” — Hosea 12:12

Jacob, while expostulating with Laban, thus describes his own toil, “This twenty years have I been with thee. That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee: I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night. Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes.” Even more toilsome than this was the life of our Saviour here below. He watched over all his sheep till he gave in as his last account, “Of all those whom thou hast given me I have lost none.” His hair was wet with dew, and his locks with the drops of the night. Sleep departed from his eyes, for all night he was in prayer wrestling for his people. One night Peter must be pleaded for; anon, another claims his tearful intercession. No shepherd sitting beneath the cold skies, looking up to the stars, could ever utter such complaints because of the hardness of his toil as Jesus Christ might have brought, if he had chosen to do so, because of the sternness of his service in order to procure his spouse—

“Cold mountains and the midnight air,
Witnessed the fervour of his prayer;
The desert his temptations knew,
His conflict and his victory too.”

It is sweet to dwell upon the spiritual parallel of Laban having required all the sheep at Jacob’s hand. If they were torn of beasts, Jacob must make it good; if any of them died, he must stand as surety for the whole. Was not the toil of Jesus for his Church the toil of one who was under suretiship obligations to bring every believing one safe to the hand of him who had committed them to his charge? Look upon toiling Jacob, and you see a representation of him of whom we read, “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd.”

Hosea 13:5
Morning and Evening
C H Spurgeon

“I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought.” — Hosea 13:5

Yes, Lord, thou didst indeed know me in my fallen state, and thou didst even then choose me for thyself. When I was loathsome and self-abhorred, thou didst receive me as thy child, and thou didst satisfy my craving wants. Blessed for ever be thy name for this free, rich, abounding mercy. Since then, my inward experience has often been a wilderness; but thou hast owned me still as thy beloved, and poured streams of love and grace into me to gladden me, and make me fruitful. Yea, when my outward circumstances have been at the worst, and I have wandered in a land of drought, thy sweet presence has solaced me. Men have not known me when scorn has awaited me, but thou hast known my soul in adversities, for no affliction dims the lustre of thy love. Most gracious Lord, I magnify thee for all thy faithfulness to me in trying circumstances, and I deplore that I should at any time have forgotten thee and been exalted in heart, when I have owed all to thy gentleness and love. Have mercy upon thy servant in this thing!

My soul, if Jesus thus acknowledged thee in thy low estate, be sure that thou own both himself and his cause now that thou art in thy prosperity. Be not lifted up by thy worldly successes so as to be ashamed of the truth or of the poor church with which thou hast been associated. Follow Jesus into the wilderness: bear the cross with him when the heat of persecution grows hot. He owned thee, O my soul, in thy poverty and shame—never be so treacherous as to be ashamed of him. O for more shame at the thought of being ashamed of my best Beloved! Jesus, my soul cleaveth to thee.

“I’ll turn to thee in days of light,
As well as nights of care,
Thou brightest amid all that’s bright!
Thou fairest of the fair!”

Hosea 13:1-8
October 7, 1999
Beware Of The Bear!

I will meet them like a bear deprived of her cubs. --Hosea 13:8

If you have visited Alaska, you have no doubt seen warnings about the bears that roam the wilderness. Experienced old-timers who know the habits of bears offer these suggestions for safety:

Don't climb a tree. Bears climb.

Don't run. Bears can run faster.

If the bear is brown, curl up and play dead. If it's black, move wildly and make lots of noise.

Never, never offer food to a bear.

Above all, don't get between a mother bear and her cubs.

In our Bible reading from Hosea, God described Himself as being as angry with Israel as a mother bear who has been deprived of her cubs (Hos 13:8). God had done so much to show His love, but His people had wandered away from Him and taken the path of disobedience. So He disciplined them, while reminding them of His love (Hos 13:4-6; 14:1-9).

We need to learn from what happened to Israel. To avoid God's anger and enjoy His love today:

Love and worship Him above all (Hos 13:4).

Don't try to hide your sin--confess it (Hos 14:1-2).

Stay on the path of righteousness (Hos 14:9).

Our God is a jealous God (Ex. 34:14). He loves us but He will not tolerate disobedience. Beware of the Bear! —David C. Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

God loves us, it's true, but don't be deceived
And think that without Him you'll win;
He's not only love, He's also the Lord
Who deals with His children who sin. --K. De Haan

God's love is to be enjoyed, not tested

Hosea 13:1-8
TODAY IN THE WORD

It was reported recently that an enormous pine tree in the mountains of Colorado had fallen victim to a pine beetle and died. According to locals, up to that point the tree was thought to be indestructible. It had survived fourteen lightning strikes and many years of Colorado winters, including avalanches and fires. But it was eventually brought down from within by a tiny insect that did its work silently.

Eighth-century Israel was felled by a similar kind of disease. Although the climax of the nation's collapse was a military invasion by Assyrian forces, that was only the result of a long period of internal spiritual rot.

Things had not always been that way. The tribe of Ephraim, referred to in Hosea 13:1, was once a truly prominent tribe within Israel. Jeroboam I, the king who led the northern kingdom's defection from the unified nation, was an Ephraimite. But Jeroboam was also the one who led the nation in establishing Baal worship.

Once God's people turned to idols, the result was increasing involvement in false worship. The people died spiritually as they fashioned their own gods and then kissed them as a sign of homage (see Ps. 2:12).

Did the Israelites of Hosea's day offer human sacrifices (Hos. 13:2)? The Hebrew of this phrase can be translated several different ways. It may simply be referring to the human beings who sacrificed to the calf-idols. But even without actual human sacrifice, Israel's sin was still so bad that God promised to blow them away as easily as He does the morning mist.

Verse 4 shows that when it came to disobeying God, Israel started right at the top. She had failed to keep the most foundational of God's requirements. God's statement in the latter part of this verse references His first Commandment (Exod. 20:1-3). So it is no surprise that we see the nation taking a downward spiral, from gratefully receiving His care in the desert to receiving His care with indifference in Canaan (Hos. 13:5-6).

TODAY ALONG THE WAY
Is America well-cared-for and complacent today? (
Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Hosea 13:9-16
TODAY IN THE WORD

Charles Spurgeon was not afraid to declare the Word of God when the occasion demanded it. This great British preacher of the last century, after giving an unpopular message, was approached by a friend who said, ""I hear you are in hot water.""

""Oh no,"" said Spurgeon, ""it is the other fellows who are in hot water. I am the stoker, the man who makes the water boil.""

Spurgeon certainly had the spirit of the Old Testament prophets. It's not that they delighted in delivering messages of warning and judgment. But they did not hesitate to declare the Word of God as they received it from Him.

Hosea received a hard message from the Lord, which he delivered faithfully. And he did so with as much vivid imagery as any of the prophets. We have read some memorable and remarkable word pictures communicating God's care for His people, their sin, and God's response. That imagery continues here as the prophet uses a storehouse, childbirth, and the wind to detail Israel's sin and judgment.

We learned earlier in Hosea that it was futile for Israel to hope in deliverance from her kings. God reminded the nation again of that futility (Hosea 13:10-11).

This would have been true even if Israel's kings had been as mighty as David. Why? Because God had decreed judgment and exile, and no power on earth could prevent it.

In fact, none of Israel's great sins would be overlooked or forgotten by God. He was storing them up against the day of judgment. When that day arrived, Israel would be like a child who refused to be born at the proper time (Hosea 13:13).

But then in the middle of this message of judgment, God suddenly plants a word of hope for the future. If the questions of verse 14 sound familiar to you, it's probably because you have read them in another context: Paul's ringing affirmation of the believer's victory over death (1 Cor. 15:55).

TODAY ALONG THE WAY
Hosea 13:14 is a wonderful dose of encouragement here at midweek.

In 1Corinthians 15:56-58, Paul borrows these questions, which are actually statements of triumph, and draws out their full implications for us. Because God has delivered us from the sting of death by forgiving our sins in Christ, we have victory through our Savior. (Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Hosea 13:14
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily

Hosea 13:14  O death, where are thy plagues? O grave, where is thy destruction? (r.v.)

These words are made familiar to us in the magnificent apostrophe with which Paul’s great resurrection chapter closes. They have been recited for centuries over Christian graves.

In their first utterance they record Jehovah’s resolve to deliver his people, in spite of all their sins. The conflict in the Divine heart between hatred of the abominable idolatries by which they were cursed, and his ancient, unalterable love, gives this chapter, and indeed the whole book, its remarkably disjointed character. There is hardly a paragraph which is not marked by abrupt transitions, agitation of speech, appeals, enquiries, expressions of infinite regret. But notwithstanding all, God had given commandment to bless, and He neither could nor would reverse it. Let death and Hades do their worst against his chosen, He was stronger far.

In these intermediate ages these words may be quoted over every Christian’s death, whether it be a martyrdom or the quiet yielding up of life. In comparison with the great gain that death brings to those who pass to the “far better” of being with Christ, wherein are we losers by it? Nay, do we not greatly gain?

But the full realization of these words awaits the hour when this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality, at the sudden appearance of the Savior in his advent glory. Then shall be brought to pass the saying which is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. There shall not a hoof be left behind. Not one of the redeemed shall remain in the prison-house; and even in their bodies, raised in the likeness of Christ, there will be no evidence of the triumph of death or the gave.

Hosea 14:1-9
TODAY IN THE WORD

The fires that swept across the early American prairie were said to move so fast that not even the fastest horse could outrun them. In anticipation of the fire's arrival, the pioneers would burn the grass in a designated area around them. Then they would take their stand in the burned area, safe from the blaze because fire had already passed over the place where they stood.

This is a good picture of the refuge God offers to the people of Israel in a day we believe is yet in the future: the millennial reign of Jesus Christ. When Israel's true King comes back, His people will live safely under His protection.

This is the final invitation God makes to His straying nation. He wants to see the people return to Him, so that He might bless them. There was no mystery as to the problem that created the rift between God and Israel and invited His judgment. The people's sins were the cause of their downfall.

Throughout Hosea, God has passionately pleaded for His people to return to Him. We find more of this heartfelt passion in these final verses. God even gives the people the words of repentance He longs to hear from their lips: ""Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously,"" the plea begins.

Notice how thoroughly this confession deals with the sins that had driven Israel away from God. The people had failed to praise God and give Him glory for what He had done, so now they were to offer ""the fruit of [their] lips"" (v. 2). We know from Hebrews 13:15 that this is a ""sacrifice of praise.""

The confession continues in Hosea 14:3, where Israel is urged to deal with two sins we have encountered repeatedly in the book: the futility of making foreign alliances and the heinous sin of idolatry.

For those who return to the Lord with these words, He offers incredible blessings (vv. 4-8). These are millennial kingdom benefits--a time when the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel will again be united and live as God intended.

TODAY ALONG THE WAY
Have you secured for yourself a place of safety now and in eternity by placing your faith in Christ for salvation? We pray that you have. (
Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Hosea 14:1
C H Spurgeon
Daily Help

“Return unto the LORD thy God” (Hos. 14:1). Where we first found salvation, we will find it again—at the foot of Christ’s cross, confessing sin. Moreover, the Lord will have us obey His voice according to all that He has commanded us. We must do this with all our hearts and all our souls, and then our captivity will end.

Often depression of spirit and great misery of soul are removed as soon as we quit our idols and bow ourselves to obedience before the living God. We may return to Zion’s citizenship, and that speedily. Lord, turn our captivity!

Hosea 14:2
October 10, 2002

Sin Saps Us
READ: Judges 16:1-4,15-20


Return to the Lord. Say to Him, "Take away all iniquity; receive us graciously." --Hosea 14:2

Sin saps us of our God-given strength. We become spiritually weak and decrepit, but often we imagine that we're just as hardy as ever.

That's the deceitfulness of sin. Gradually we drift away from God. We lose our desire to spend time in His Word and in prayer. The current of this world carries us away from friends and godly influences. We drift deeper into sin—our pathetic, feeble state evident to all eyes but our own.

I think of Samson, that man of towering strength who pillowed his head in the lap of sin, then rose from his sleep and said, "I will go out as before . . . and shake myself free!" (Judges 16:20). But he didn't know that the Lord had taken away his strength.

Many years later, the prophet Hosea confronted the people of Israel and said that they too had lost their strength because of sin, and they didn't realize it (Hosea 7:8-16). So Hosea commanded them to "return to the Lord. Say to Him, 'Take away all iniquity; receive us graciously'" (14:2).

Sin can sap us too. That's why we must deliberately take time to ask the Lord to expose our sin (Psalm 139:23-24). When we turn in repentance to Him, He will receive us graciously, set us free from sin's domination, and arm us again with strength. —David H. Roper (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting. —Psalm 139:23-24

Sin adds to your trouble, subtracts from your energy, and multiplies your difficulties.

Hosea 14:3
Guardian of the Fatherless

Faith's Checkbook
C H Spurgeon

“In thee the fatherless findeth mercy.”—Hosea 14:3

THIS is an excellent reason for casting away all other confidences and relying upon the Lord alone. When a child is left without its natural protector, our God steps in and becomes his guardian: so also when a man has lost every object of dependence, he may cast himself upon the living God and find in Him all that he needs. Orphans are cast upon the fatherhood of God, and He provides for them. The writer of these pages knows what it is to hang on the bare arm of God, and he bears his willing witness that no trust is so well warranted by facts, or so sure to be rewarded by results, as trust in the invisible but ever living God.

Some children who have fathers are not much the better off because of them, but the fatherless with God are rich. Better have God and no other friend than all the patrons on the earth and no God. To be bereaved of the creature is painful, but so long as the Lord remains the fountain of mercy to us, we are not truly orphaned. Let fatherless children plead the gracious word for this morning, and let all who have been bereaved of visible support do the same. Lord, let me find mercy in thee! The more needy and helpless I am, the more confidently do I appeal to thy loving heart.

Hosea 14:4
Morning and Evening
C H Spurgeon

“I will love them freely.” — Hosea 14:4

This sentence is a body of divinity in miniature. He who understands its meaning is a theologian, and he who can dive into its fulness is a true master in Israel. It is a condensation of the glorious message of salvation which was delivered to us in Christ Jesus our Redeemer. The sense hinges upon the word “freely.” This is the glorious, the suitable, the divine way by which love streams from heaven to earth, a spontaneous love flowing forth to those who neither deserved it, purchased it, nor sought after it. It is, indeed, the only way in which God can love such as we are. The text is a death-blow to all sorts of fitness: “I will love them freely.” Now, if there were any fitness necessary in us, then he would not love us freely, at least, this would be a mitigation and a drawback to the freeness of it. But it stands, “I will love you freely.” We complain, “Lord, my heart is so hard.” “I will love you freely.” “But I do not feel my need of Christ as I could wish.” “I will not love you because you feel your need; I will love you freely.” “But I do not feel that softening of spirit which I could desire.” Remember, the softening of spirit is not a condition, for there are no conditions; the covenant of grace has no conditionality whatever; so that we without any fitness may venture upon the promise of God which was made to us in Christ Jesus, when he said, “He that believeth on him is not condemned.” It is blessed to know that the grace of God is free to us at all times, without preparation, without fitness, without money, and without price! “I will love them freely.” These words invite backsliders to return: indeed, the text was specially written for such—“I will heal their backsliding; I will love them freely.” Backslider! surely the generosity of the promise will at once break your heart, and you will return, and seek your injured Father’s face.

Hosea 14:4
July 24, 2004
God Forgives Disobedience
READ: Hosea 14


I will heal their backsliding. I will love them freely. —Hosea 14:4

I’ll never forget the painful lesson I learned in early childhood about disobedience. My father, who had been mowing our lawn, interrupted his work to go shopping. He left the push mower standing near some flowers and ordered me not to touch it while he was gone. But I disobeyed him and gave it a push. To my shock, the mower veered and knocked over several flowers.

When Dad returned, I blubbered, “I didn’t mean to do it! ”Wisely, he replied, “Why did you do it then? ”I knew the truth—I did mean to push the mower. My sin wasn’t that I mowed the flowers down, it was that I disobeyed my father.

This childhood lesson is a reminder to be sorry for disobedience and not just the consequences. Rather than blubber to God, “I didn’t mean to do it, ”I do what Hosea told wayward Israel to do: “Take words [of repentance] with you, and return to the Lord” (Hosea 14:2). I tell the Lord honestly that I knew His will but chose to disobey, and I cry out for His mercy. Praise God, He forgives!

Are you grieved that you chose to disobey, and not merely sorry about the consequences? Then “take words with you, and return to the Lord” today. He promises to forgive you of your sin, for He loves you freely (v.4).—Joanie Yoder (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

I’ve strayed, O Lord, and turned aside,
I’ve disobeyed Your voice;
But now with contrite heart I turn
And make Your will my choice. —D. De Haan

Repentance keeps the way clear in our walk with God.

Hosea 14:5
April 11, 2001
Dewdrops
READ: Hosea 14:1-9


I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall grow like the lily. --Hosea 14:5

It was a summer morning, and the first rays of sun were falling across my garden. The prior evening the leaves on the tender corn were drooping from intense heat and lack of rain. But in the morning the spikes were straight and fresh, and each leaf was adorned with sparkling drops of dew. During the night, the cooling air caused moisture to condense into dewdrops, refreshing the wilted vegetation.

This, according to the prophet Hosea, is a picture of what the Lord would do for His people. God said, "I will be like the dew to Israel" (Hosea 14:5).

When our spirits droop, when we are burdened by a load of cares, or when we are carrying the guilt of sin, the Lord offers His mercy and grace to be like refreshing dew to our souls.

Just as the dew appears in the quiet of the night to moisten the plants, so too the refreshing dew of God's forgiveness, comfort, and strength comes in the quiet times of prayer and meditation on His Word.

Why are the lives of so many Christians faded, wilted, and powerless? In most cases, it is because they neglect spending time alone each day with God in prayer and in the study of His Word.

Do you need the refreshment of God's dewdrops? —M. R. De Haan (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Drink deep of God's goodness, His faithfulness too,
Leave no room for doubting and fear;
His Word is the water of life pure and true,
Refreshing and cooling and clear. —Hess

For spiritual refreshment, drink from the fountain of God's Word.

Hosea 14:8
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily

Hosea 14:8 I am like a green fir tree. From Me is thy fruit found.

This chapter abounds with picturesque natural imagery. The dew distilling on the parched herbage, as the sign of the Holy Spirit. The blossoming lily, fragile but beautiful, an emblem of the retiring grace and purity of Christian character. The roots of Lebanon, descending far down into the valley, anchoring in its rugged strength, significant of the stability which in each Christian should mingle with grace. The silver beauty of the olive, the cool aromatic breath of the wind that has passed over the snows and slopes of Lebanon, commemorating the beauty and fragrance of the influence of the child of God. The covering shadow, the yellowing corn, the delicious scent of the vine, when it gives a good smell, to denote the gifts and graces of holy living. And finally, all of these summed up in the cry of Ephraim, “I am like a green fir-tree.” O child of God, canst thou appropriate this wealth of imagery for thyself? Are the facts which these symbols denote true of thy life? Be not content to be as the lily, seek also to be as the rooted strength of Lebanon; be not satisfied with the similitudes of beauty, seek also those of usefulness. And above all, be an evergreen, never showing signs of autumnal decay.
But, amid it all, remember the caution — “From Me is thy fruit found.” Count naught thine own but sin. Thou hast nothing thou didst not receive; thou couldst do nothing apart from Jesus. It is only as thou abidest in Him, and He in thee, that thou canst bring forth any fruit, or be fragrant, or serve any good purpose in the world.

“As some rare perfume in a vase of clay Pervades it with a fragrance not its own, So, when Thou dwellest in a mortal soul, All heaven’s own sweetness seems around it thrown.”

Hosea 14:8
Morning and Evening
C H Spurgeon

“From me is thy fruit found.” — Hosea 14:8

Our fruit is found from our God as to union. The fruit of the branch is directly traceable to the root. Sever the connection, the branch dies, and no fruit is produced. By virtue of our union with Christ we bring forth fruit. Every bunch of grapes have been first in the root, it has passed through the stem, and flowed through the sap vessels, and fashioned itself externally into fruit, but it was first in the stem; so also every good work was first in Christ, and then is brought forth in us. O Christian, prize this precious union to Christ; for it must be the source of all the fruitfulness which thou canst hope to know. If thou wert not joined to Jesus Christ, thou wouldst be a barren bough indeed.

Our fruit comes from God as to spiritual providence. When the dew-drops fall from heaven, when the cloud looks down from on high, and is about to distil its liquid treasure, when the bright sun swells the berries of the cluster, each heavenly boon may whisper to the tree and say, “From me is thy fruit found.” The fruit owes much to the root—that is essential to fruitfulness—but it owes very much also to external influences. How much we owe to God’s grace-providence! in which he provides us constantly with quickening, teaching, consolation, strength, or whatever else we want. To this we owe our all of usefulness or virtue.

Our fruit comes from God as to wise husbandry. The gardener’s sharp-edged knife promotes the fruitfulness of the tree, by thinning the clusters, and by cutting off superfluous shoots. So is it, Christian, with that pruning which the Lord gives to thee. “My Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” Since our God is the author of our spiritual graces, let us give to him all the glory of our salvation.

Hosea 14:8
An Elm or An Evergreen?

... I am like a green fir tree ... . Hosea 14:8

Some years ago the "Wall Street Journal" carried this story about a youngster named Sally who was so conscientious that she made herself miserable over minor tragedies. Early one Fall, when there was an exceptionally heavy snowstorm, her grand-father took her for a drive. "Notice those elms," he said, "the branches are so badly broken that the trees may die. But just look at those pines and evergreens — they are completely undam­aged by the storm. My child, there are only two kinds of trees in the world: the stubborn and the wise. An elm holds its branches rigid, and troubles pile on until its limbs finally break—disfiguring or killing it. But when an evergreen is loaded with more weight than it can hold, it simply relaxes, lowers its branches, and lets the burden slip away — and so remains un­harmed. Be a pine tree, granddaughter. Bear what you can, then let the rest of the load slide off."

That story set me to thinking. Checking my concordance, I found that the first mention of a pine tree in the Bible is in 2 Samuel 6:5, where we read: "And David and all the house of Israel played before the Lord on all manner of instruments made of fir wood." Turning to other early mentions of this tree in the Bible, I discovered that it is associated with the building of the temple of the Lord (1 Kings 5:5-10; Isa. 60:13). Now among the rules of Bible interpretation we have one called, "The Law of First Mention." Simply stated, it means: "The first time a thing is dealt with in the Bible it displays certain characteristics or qualities which cling to it throughout the Word! This fre­quently aids us in understanding other passages in which that subject is once again raised." By this rule then the fir tree (Hos. 14:8) is associated with praise, worship, and sanctification!

Are you like the elm tree that tries to bear all its own burdens, only to be broken in the process? Or, remembering the "Law of First Mention," are you like the "green fir tree" praising God, glorifying Him in your trials, and letting the burdens roll on Him (Ps. 55:22)?

God tells us to burden Him with that which burdens us!

 

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