HOSEA | Lesson 4 | Lesson Notes / Talking Points
Read Hosea, chapters 11.12-14.9
- Our first lesson, ‘faithless wife-FAITHFUL HUSBAND’ from chapters 1-3 serves to give us a summary of the whole Book of Hosea – it is the ‘short’ story of what will be explained in more detail in the remainder of the Book.
- The second lesson, ‘When I would heal Israel…’ from chapters 4-7 begins as Yahweh convenes His court of justice against faithless Israel – He will produce witness after witness and pronounce and publish evidence after evidence of their betrayals of His covenant love toward them. Hosea himself will interject himself into the narrative in chapter 6.1-3 to implore and plead with Israel to “Come, let us return to Yahweh; for He has torn us, that He may heal us; He has struck us down, and He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live before Him.” This is a not so oblique promise and pointer to the Gospel of Christ that will come ‘in the latter days’ that have already been announced in ch 2.16-23 & 3.4-5. [For New Testament references to these words see Luke 24.46 & 1 Corinthians 15.4]
- The third lesson was from ch 8.1 – 11.11, ‘How can I give you up, O Ephraim?’ That is the heart-broken cry Yahweh Himself screams out in ch 11.8-9. Yahweh can’t give them up for good, forever, because He has made a covenant of faithfulness to Israel … and He must keep His word. But, He will give them up for that moment in time … He must – He will send them off into exile into Assyria in just a very few short years from the time Hosea is delivering His warnings. But again remember the promises He has made in ch 2.16-23 and 3.4-5. Israel will once again be ‘betrothed’ and married to Yahweh in faithfulness. That Gospel promise is reiterated in Hosea’s own personal plea to his fellow countrymen to “Come, let us return to Yahweh…” Lesson 3 ended in ch 11.11 with Yahweh promising “and I will return them to their homes, declares Yahweh.”
- Once again in Lesson 3 [as all throughout this Book], we see that the ONLY way these promises can be fulfilled and delivered is through Jesus Christ and His Gospel. We see how ch 11.1 points to Christ and His fulfillment of this historic picture. Matthew quotes this verse in Matthew 2.15. Yahweh called Israel ‘my firstborn son’ [Exodus 4.22-23]. Where national Israel failed and proved to be a faithless ‘son’ from the get-go, Jesus Christ came as a faithful Son of God and the True Israel. “For all the promises of God find their ‘Yes’ in Him. That is why it is through Him that we utter our ‘Amen’ to God for His glory.” / 2 Corinthians 1.20
- So now we come to the concluding lesson of this survey/summary series on the Book of Hosea. This fourth lesson is titled ‘I will love them freely’ from ch 14.4. This is what Yahweh promises to do ‘in that day’(see ch 2.16-23) that was yet to come in Hosea’s day.
- However, in our day, that day is HERE … that day is NOW! See 1 Peter 2.9-10 & Romans 9.22-26.
- What Yahweh promises Israel [and us] is fullness of Redemption, Reconciliation, and Restoration! ‘That day’ has come! Israel’s faithlessness has been healed! Yahweh has loved Israel freely [by His Grace] and has included us! His anger against their sin has been expended, exhausted, satisfied.
- And it has come IN CHRIST! Jesus Christ is the ONLY Israel who could – and who did – please the Father by His faithful love, obedience, and service. Jesus Christ is the ONLY Israel who could – and who did – receive upon Himself the full measure of Yahweh’s wrath against OUR sin and pay the price in full that OUR sin and faithlessness deserved. He did this on His Cross when He died in our place, as our Substitute.
- When Jesus Christ died on His Cross, He was punished in our place. Read what Hosea’s contemporary prophet Isaiah wrote prophetically about Yahweh’s Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53. So when Yahweh’s anger has been poured out Christ – His Holiness has been vindicated, His Justice has been executed, His Righteousness has been demonstrated – then He can forgive and return His wayward human Israel back to Himself in Redemption, Reconciliation, Restoration. See 1 Peter 2.24-25.
I / MICROCOSM OF THE MACROCOSM
- I have introduced this principle of interpreting the Bible before, but I want to bring it up again here as we conclude the Book of Hosea. This principle – the microcosm of the macrocosm – will help you to understand the message, not only of the Book of Hosea, but also of the entire Old Testament, and especially as it relates to God’s purposes in Christ and His Gospel.
- To begin with, we need to be sure we understand what ‘microcosm’ and ‘macrocosm’ mean. ‘Micro,’ of course, means small, tiny, miniature. ‘Macro’ means ‘large, big.’ ‘Cosm’ is short for ‘cosmos’ which means ‘the orderly arrangement of a thing.’ So when we speak of the world, we call it the ‘cosmos.’ It is the orderly arrangement of the created world. Same thing for when we use the words ‘cosmetic’ or ‘cosmetology’ or ‘cosmology.’ We’re just talking about the orderly arrangements of those things we’re talking about.
- So when we say something is a ‘microcosm,’ we mean that it is a miniature or small-scale representation of something that is much larger than it. The ‘macrocosm’ is the larger full-scale reality of the representative ‘microcosm.’ Think of a snow globe. You hold it in your hand and look into it. It is a microcosm of the macrocosm it represents. You can have a village in the snow globe, or a landscape, or a city skyline. It is a true representation, but it is in miniature. The macrocosm will be the real larger, full-scale object. Or I’m looking here in my study at a world globe. It is a miniature representation of the surface of the earth and all the seas and countries, etc. But it is only a microcosm of the real-world macrocosm.
- So this is how we need to look at and read and understand the Book of Hosea. In chapters 1-3, Yahweh tells Hosea to go marry a wife who will prove to be unfaithful to him and become a promiscuous adulteress. Hosea’s own marriage and home life becomes a microcosm of the larger macrocosm: Israel’s faithlessness toward Yahweh who had ‘married’ her and been a faithful Husband to her in every sense of the word. So Hosea’s personal experience became the microcosm of the macrocosm of Israel’s historical national conduct toward Yahweh.
- But we can make another application – which is just as true as this immediate application in the Book of Hosea. We can also understand that Israel’s faithlessness toward Yahweh is a microcosm of mankind’s faithlessness toward Yahweh, our Creator. In fact, Hosea may be alluding to that very macrocosm in chapter 6.7: “But like Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with me.” In other words, Israel’s faithlessness toward Yahweh was only the microcosm of the macrocosm of the whole human race’s faithlessness toward Him. Yahweh created Adam and established a covenant with him. Yahweh would love him, bless him, dwell with him, provide for him, care for him, and commit to be faithful to his every need and desire. All Adam must do is love Yahweh in return, obey Him, faithfully serve Him, fulfill His desires and pleasure in every activity of his life. But Adam transgressed the covenant, disobeyed, and rebelled against Yahweh. And every single one of us in the human race since Adam’s disobedience has been born into this human life and world as a rebel against God.
- God has been wooing us back ever since Eden with His promises of Redemption, Reconciliation, and Restoration – all throughout the Old Testament and finally fulfilled in Christ! / Galatians 4.4-7.
- So THIS is what we are looking for – and wanting to see and understand – as we study this Book of Hosea – what does this Book say about God’s promises to send Christ into the world to redeem us, reconcile us unto Himself, and restore us to His grace and favor?
II / HOW THE MESSAGE OF HOSEA IS A MICROCOSM OF THE MACROCOSM OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST … AND INCLUDES US!
We have already noted several instances in the messages of Hosea where the promises that Yahweh makes to faithless Israel are realized and fulfilled in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Hosea 2.16-23 … especially verse 23 / “And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’; and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’”
- You’ll find a specific, word for word reference to this promise in 1 Peter 2.9-10. Peter is referring to us believers here in the New Testament ‘latter days’ who are believers in Jesus Christ. Through faith in Christ, we have been constituted into the True Israel [‘favored by God’]. We have been granted all the blessings, privileges, and identity of those who are the people of God. Yes, even we who are Gentiles! That’s the whole point Peter is making. THIS is who we are now as opposed to who we used to be – this is how we are now identified as opposed to how we used to be identified … and Peter quotes Hosea here to prove that WE are now the fulfillment of the covenant promise Yahweh made in Hosea 2: But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Do you see that? Yes – Yahweh made and fulfilled this same promise to those faithful believers who were in the faithless nation of Israel at that time – but they served only as the microcosm of what He would do ‘in the latter days’ through Christ and His Gospel and those who would believe in Him! That’s us!
- Paul even quotes Hosea by name in Romans 9.19-26. The larger discussion is about whether God is sovereign to do with any person or people as He pleases to fulfill His purposes of showing grace in salvation. God is the Potter who has absolute sovereignty and control over the clay creations He makes – that’s us. If He wants to make one human being serve His sovereign purpose for displaying His Holiness and power through His wrath against their sin…He can. He has that sovereign authority, right, prerogative. Or if He wants to make a clay human being to serve His purpose of displaying His sovereign grace and mercy in choosing and saving them…He can. That is His sovereign authority, right, prerogative. And this is exactly what He has done when He executed His wrath against faithless Israel for all their betrayals, disobedience, rebellion, covenant-breaking [see all the warnings Yahweh issued against Israel in the Book of Hosea…and they were fulfilled by the Assyrian invasion and exile]. And yet, even in that display of His wrath and justice, He has also reached out into the Gentile world and saved those whom He has prepared beforehand for glory – even us whom He has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? As indeed He says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’” 26 “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’” Do you see how Israel in Hosea’s day served as a microcosm for how Yahweh would reach out to the Gentile world and save those whom He would and who would believe – through faith in Jesus Christ and His Gospel?! We are that macrocosm!
- Hosea 6.1-3 / Here is another Gospel promise in the Book of Hosea that has been fulfilled in full-scale macrocosm here ‘in the latter days’ by the Gospel. Notice especially verse 2: “After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live before Him.” Those of us who are on this side of the Cross and Jesus resurrection see clear references here to that Gospel event by which we have been saved. It is true that this Hosea reference isn’t named specifically in the New Testament, there are certain statements Jesus and Paul made that would make it very likely they are referring to this promise.
- For example, Jesus said in Luke 24.45-46, “Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead…’” But there is no other specific Scripture that is written that Christ should ‘on the third day rise again from the dead’ except for Hosea 6.2. Plenty of Scriptures about Christ suffering and dying … but not rise from death on the third day.
- Or Paul in 1 Corinthians 15.3-4: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…” Again, the only ‘in accordance with the Scriptures’ that Christ would be raised ‘on the third day’ is here in Hosea 6.2. Hosea was speaking in microcosm about the raising from the dead and the return of the remnant from the exile into which Yahweh was sending them…after a few days. But he was prophesying in macrocosm of the Gospel days in which we now live – and the raising of Christ from the dead on the third day!
- Hosea 13.14 / Here is another promise we all will recognize. And again, the New Testament quotation of this Hosea Scripture is in 1 Corinthians 15 – which certainly leads us to believe that Paul has Hosea on his mind as he writes this chapter [see the previous paragraph…]. The Hosea quote from Yahweh can actually be read two different ways:  Positive promise of assurance, “I shall ransom them…” or  as a question that demands a negative answer, “Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? Shall I redeem them from Death?” Because in the immediate microcosm context, Yahweh would NOT save, deliver, prevent them from the coming invasion and destruction of the Assyrians against them. “Compassion is hidden from my eyes.” HOWEVER, ‘in the latter days’ of Christ and the Gospel, HE DOES! This is the promise that the apostle Paul exults in when he quotes Hosea in 1 Corinthians 15.54-57. Here again, the microcosm of Hosea’s day serves to illustrate just how glorious will be the macrocosm of the Gospel – and not just the days today, but the days of eternity forever when sin, death, the grave, and hell itself will be conquered through the Cross of Jesus Christ and His resurrection! And all because Jesus died for us in our place and bore the wrath of God against the sins we had committed. And when we believe in Him and trust in Him for our deliverance from the wrath of God against our sins, “on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live before Him!” This is both the eternal life we now enjoy through the new birth … and the fullness of eternal life we will enjoy in His Presence after the Day of the Resurrection at His Second Coming and Kingdom!
III / YAHWEH’S CALL TO YOU … PERSONALLY!
Hosea 14.1-3 / So now we finally come to the conclusion of the Book of Hosea and this final lesson. So may I charge you with the same call and invitation Yahweh gave to the microcosm of Hosea’s day – and the same invitation is for us in the macrocosm of these ‘latter days’!
- REPENT OF YOUR SINS / Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity.
- BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST / Take with you words and return to the LORD; say to Him, ‘Take away all iniquity; accept what is good, and we will pay with bulls the vows of our lips.’ The ‘words’ we must confess are “Christ died for me!”
- RENOUNCE ANY OTHER HOPE YOU HAVE TO SAVE YOU / Assyria will not save us; we will not ride on horses; and we will say no more, ‘Our God,’ to the work of our hands.
- REJOICE IN HIS PROMISE OF GRACE AND MERCY / In you the orphan finds mercy.