Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Hosea and the Heart of God: Lessons for Israel and the Nations

Nathan JonesBy Nathan Jones

We continue on with our fourteenth installment of our faith study of the biblical Minor Prophets book of Hosea. This time Israel and the nations will learn some lessons.

The book of Hosea offers invaluable life lessons concerning having faith when your heart is shattered. These lessons can be applied to four groups: Israel, the Nations, the Church, and You.

Lessons for Israel

Though God's message in Hosea is totally applicable to you and me, the Church and the nations, the primary audience is Israel. Again, Yahweh God sees Israel as a wayward wife who broke their covenant relationship, and He still sees it that way even today. The Jewish people still remain like Gomer before she was bought out of slavery and was reconciled to her husband. The modern day nation of Israel lacks the very faithfulness, devotion, and knowledge of God which condemned her in Hosea's time. Every day Jews are coming out of exile and back into the Promised Land. But the nation remains in that waiting time Hosea in 3:3-5 placed Gomer in, before she could be purified and reunited with her husband once more.

Some would argue that God in a sense divorced Israel and transferred His blessings onto the Church, but that would be to totally forget God's promises to regather the Jews back into a nation once again. Need proof? The world was shocked to witness Israel being reborn as a nation on May 14, 1948. No nation disbanded for nearly 1,900 years has ever returned again to the same land, language and strength.

Hosea taught us that God ALWAYS, ALWAYS remains faithful. And so, God is even now being faithful to His promise to regather Israel a second time back into a nation and gloriously one day give her a heart that loves their Lord (Deuteronomy 28:64-67; Isaiah 11:11,12; 60:21; Jeremiah 16:14-16; Ezekiel 36:24-28; Hosea 6:1; Amos 9:14-15; Romans 11; 2 Peter 3:9).

What a day that will be! Hosea describes that future day—the latter days—when the nation of Israel is once again reconciled to God and faithful to their covenant with Him. We'll see the children of Judah and the children of Israel gathered together under the one ruler, which is Yahweh God. No longer rebellious, they'll know the ways of the Lord are right and that the righteous walk in them. The children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They shall love the Lord, pursue the knowledge of the Lord, prosper in His goodness, and finally understand how to keep a covenant.

Redeemed and restored to a right relationship with God, Israel in these not-so-distant days will have God's love lavished upon them. They'll know joy, for she shall sing there in their land as in the days of her youth. True safety will finally exist, for Israel will lie down safely and live in His sight. Spiritual growth will define them, for the people of Israel will grow like the lily, lengthening her roots and their branches shall spread. Israel will be a thing of beauty to the whole world, like a fragrance whose scent shall be like the wine (Hosea 1:11; 2:15,18; 3:5; 6:2; 14:1,5-7,9).

Lessons for the Nations

Hosea reminds the nations that their days are numbered. No matter how powerful or successful, or how many centuries a nation has stayed on top, Daniel 2 and Revelation 20 prophesy that all human nations are in rebellion against God and so will one day be supplanted by the coming Kingdom of Christ.

Like fictional zombies, the nations of the world in truth are also already the living dead. "How do nations die? The answer is that they die in spirit first. Next they die in soul. Eventually the body of the nation also dies and vanishes."22 The spirit first is lost when its recognition of God dissipates or is forcibly removed. Next, the soul of a nation dies when its national character deteriorates. And finally, the body of a nation dies as it is broken down bit by bit to become a third-rate power. Sound familiar?

In the fifteenth and last part of this series on faith in the book of Hosea, the Church and you and me will learn some life lessons.


22. Boice, J.M. (1983). The Minor Prophets: An Expositional Commentary, Volume 1, Hosea-Jonah. Grand Rapids, Michigan: The Zondervan Corporation. p. 86-87.

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