Today, how about a brief history lesson. After all, we don’t want to be one of those doomed to repeat (George Santayana). No one has ever enjoyed saying that middle school was the best 5 years of their life. Did you know that Hosea is written around 750 BC? Yep, trouble is already brewing and almost at the door. The Assyrian Empire is out conquering kingdoms and armies all across the ancient Near East. Let’s catch the lay of the land. Sorry, I just can’t get away from this fishing stuff. 

Working through the Old Testament chronologically, we discover Hosea shares what is to come, and then Daniel will chronicle these events several centuries later after Judah falls. Just like Jonah tells Assyria to turn or burn, Nahum shows what happens after the revival ends and people return to wickedness. Hosea says this is what is about to happen, first in Israel and Ezekiel will cover Judah.

Like his contemporary Amos, Hosea takes place about a decade before Israel’s first deportation. God says to Israel, you have played the whore and punishment is being levied to reconcile your account. Well, Israel’s history reveals a time when Baal worship is alive and well, the nation is staunchly divided after Solomon. When the kingdom is divided in two, creating a northern kingdom, Israel, and southern kingdom, Judah. Israel, as the north is known, will have 19 consecutive wicked kings. While the south will have 19 kings and 1 queen, Athaliah, and 8 of these kings will be good. So, the South is not judged as harshly as the North. 

In 2 Kings 17, we read of Hoshea the last king in Israel who reigns for 9 years and was more wicked than all of his predecessors. So, God has Hosea hold court for the nation, and after the trial the sentencing of punishment, which is levied by the Assyrians. In his court proceedings, Hosea employs a common literary or rhetorical device used by prophets to frame the relationship between God and Israel. So, think of Israel as an individual, who is on trial for the sins of its many members. 

The example is of how Israel has played the whore, is fleshed out by Hosea’s own wife. As if taking an adulterer for a wife was not enough, in Hosea 3, God orders him to go buy her back. Hosea 3:2~So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver…(ESV) Such an act would bring an unbearable amount of social shame on Hosea. What to be a prophet? You better be called to this office. Only the prophets practiced such extremeness. When the people of God are tilted to one extreme, the prophet attempts to bring the community back into balance. 

Perhaps this is why you have been placed where you are in life, on the jobsite, or even within a friend group. Because God wants you to tilt things back to Him. You may not realize it, but you are a beacon of hope, in a hurting world, and God wants to utilize you to share His love. That’s right, your life can be leveraged for the work of the ministry that God has appointed you to. So, you are probably asking what is that work? And here is my response, pray about it and ask God to speak. Sit in silence and you will hear a familiar voice saying go here, say this, or do that. Before you even ask listen to the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah~Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you (it’s the Lord), saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (NIV) Pray first, then go be great for God.

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