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Lesson No. 26—Take Your Bible to Class for Reading the Scriptures.

LESSON THEME:—HOSEA

Hosea 2:14-20.

  • KEY WORD—”RETURN.”

  • KEY VERSEHosea 6:2.

  • KEY PHRASE—”ISRAEL’S UNFAITHFULNESS TO GOD.”

Home Readings.

WRITER—Hosea was a prophet of the northern kingdom, Israel, to whom his preaching was directed. His name means “The Lord is my help.” At God’s command he married a woman who was an idolater, and to their three children he gave typical names, speaking of the rejection and dispersion of Israel. After a time Hosea’s wife, feeling a restraint in the prophet’s home, fled from her husband and was unfaithful to him. Hosea, seeking her, found her deserted and despised, sold as a slave. Yet his love was not wearied out. He purchased her freedom, and took her to his house to atone for her sin in repentance. Hosea taught, that just as he had been wounded by the conduct of his unfaithful wife, so God is hurt by the backsliding of Israel.

TIMES OF HOSEA—By reading 2 Kings 15; 2 Kings 16; 2 Kings 17; one will understand the condition of Israel at this time. Outwardly the land was enjoying prosperity. Military victories had enlarged the land and caused trade to flourish, and the forms of religion were observed. Yet inwardly the nation was decaying. The people were discontented under the oppression of corrupt rulers. Baal worship with all its wicked ceremonies, was eating out the purity and uprightness of the nation. It was said of all the kings of Israel at this time “that they did evil in the sight of the Lord.” Assyria was about to crush Israel. Hosea pleaded with them to return unto God and seek His help. When they refused, God left them to their fate.

TIME OF WRITING—About 725 B. C. Book covers period of 60 years, 785-725 B. C. While Isaiah and Micah were prophesying in Judah, Hosea and Amos prophesying in Israel.

PURPOSE—To show God’s yearning love for unfaithful Israel.

GREAT FACTS:—

  1. Unfaithfulness.

  2. Decline.

  3. Hope.

Great Fact I. Israel’s Unfaithfulness to God.

Hosea 1; Hosea 2; Hosea 3.

The state of the chosen people is symbolized by the prophet taking an evil woman to be his wife. Yet Israel had no more to recommend her to God’s love than this woman had when Hosea married her. Just as the wife espoused to a loving husband, enjoys the protection of home and owes all her provision to her husband, so Israel, chosen by Jehovah and brought by Him into a fertile land, has received all she had from Him alone. Under the type of the wife departing from her husband, Israel is seen departing from God. She will receive a full reward for her wickedness, but this shall lead to her repentance and restoration. As Hosea received back his wife through love, so because of divine. love, God will receive back His chosen nation.

LESSON—Not only is God the Maker and Redeemer of His spiritual Israel, but He is also the Divine Husband, admitting her into tenderest relationship, and conferring upon her special favours. Therefore she should bind herself “to keep to Him only.” He alone is to be worshipped and obeyed. In contrast to this, Israel, like many Christians, went after other lovers, and attached herself to any other worthless lover who wooed her. God cannot view such conduct with indifference. He claims all our love. The least departure from scriptural faith is spiritual unchastity. Let us guard the spiritual honour of ourselves and families as zealously as we do our moral honour.

Great Fact II. The Decline of Israel.

Hosea 4; Hosea 5; Hosea 6; Hosea 7; Hosea 8; Hosea 9; Hosea 10.

In this section the prophet strongly reproves Israel for swearing, lying, killing, stealing and idolatry of the worst sort. At times he has the tender compassion of Christ when he wept over Jerusalem. At other times he denounces them for their blindness in not seeing that they must reap a harvest of Judgement. Not only were the people guilty, but the priests were also. They had failed to preach the Law, and had pretended not to see national idolatry, on account of the profit they got from it. The calf-worship and sacrifices brought them many fees, so instead of rebuking it they encouraged it. No wonder the nation went to the bad, for “Like priest, like people.”

LESSON—There is a solemn responsibility resting upon the preachers and teachers of a nation. If they are faithful in their duty the standards of God will never be permanently lowered. Too often, however, the moral and spiritual tone of the community reacts upon the religious leaders, instead of their influence reacting upon the community. How can the nation have right ideas of God’s spirituality, His holiness and moral demands unless preachers, teachers and parents teach, not only the interesting stories of the Bible, but the requirements of God, as given in all the books of the Bible Luxury, ambition, greed, self-indulgence and irreverence are as moths eating at the vitals of the nation. Nothing but the whole gospel of God, taught, preached and practiced can uphold the greatness and glory of a nation.

Great Fact III. The Hope of Israel.

Hosea 11; Hosea 12; Hosea 13; Hosea 14.

Wave after wave of threatened wrath had rolled over Israel, but God now offers them grace upon grace. Hosea makes a strong and gracious appeal to Israel to return unto the Lord and be forgiven. He reminds them what Jehovah has been to the Hebrew people.

  1. A loving father, Hosea 11:1. They bore his name. Enjoyed daily access to Him. Obtained needed protection and provision from Him. He subjected them to suitable training and discipline. He has an eternal inheritance awaiting them. All this is beautifully true of the Christian.

  2. Jehovah was a careful nurse, Hosea 11:3. He knew His people’s needs. Was touched with a feeling of their infirmities. Took upon Himself the entire charge of the nation. Set up the tabernacle for them as a spiritual kindergarten, and patiently healed their backslidings. God is the same careful Nurse to His spiritual children. He bears up the believer and bears with him. He raises him when he falls, heals his bruises and is “a present help in the time of trouble.” The path of duty may lead a believer into slippery places, but “underneath are the everlasting arms.”

  3. Jehovah was a kind master, Hosea 11:4. He did not treat them as slaves but as sons. He drew them with bands of love, which means that he was tender and persuasive with them. When they served God they were the most prosperous, which showed that “His yoke was easy.” In like manner the Lord deals with His redeemed people. “He takes off the yoke of guilt, the yoke of sin, the yoke of the law, the yoke of unrest and the yoke of fear.” And “He lays meat unto them”-the hidden manna of His grace, and “the fatness of His house.”

LESSON—Just as the church is spoken of as the bride of Christ, Ephesians 5:25, because He gave Himself to redeem it, in love is purifying it, and one day will present it to Himself a spotless bride; so in Hosea, Israel is seen to be the wife of Jehovah, now disowned, but one day to be forgiven and restored. This is the hope of Israel. They failed to realize this hope at Christ’s first coming. They now direct it to His second coming. Yea, His appearing is also the “blessed hope” of the church.

The supreme lesson of the book is “that the ways of the Lord are right.” He knows wherein our true good lies. Taking the way He prescribes, we shall most certainly attain to blessedness!

Questions on the Lesson.

  1. Who was Hosea?

  2. What does his name mean?

  3. What did the name of his children typify?

  4. What did the conduct of his wife teach?

  5. Tell about the times of Hosea.

  6. What prophets lived in Hosea’s time?

  7. What was the purpose of the book?

  8. Name the key word and key verse.

  9. Give the great facts.

  10. In what respect is God the divine husband?

  11. What is departure from scriptural faith?

  12. How did the priests fail in their duty?

  13. What responsibility rests upon preachers and teachers?

  14. How can we get fright ideas of God’s requirements?

  15. What upholds a nation?

  16. In what way is God a loving father?

  17. In what sense is God a careful nurse?

  18. In what way is God a kind master?

  19. In what respect is the church the bride of Christ?

  20. What is the hope of Israel and of the church?

  21. What the supreme message of the book?

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