The Book of Hosea: Study 1

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Sin and Judgment

(Adapted from an address by Dr. Kyle Yates at Bethel College, St. Paul, Minnesota)

Let us be introduced one more time to this person Hosea. I mentioned two or three things about him. One of them is that he was young, and another is that he is a preacher. The third is that he had his heart broken, and the fourth is that he was powerfully influenced by Amos. Not only was his heart broken and his home ruined, but his sense of the ugliness of sin became so poignantly real to him that he got to the place where he recoiled from sin, almost in the same manner that God the Father, whom he loved to preach, recoiled from sin.

Let us realize, in addition to the things I have mentioned, that we must understand Hosea as an evangelist, as one who was on fire, as one who was willing to sob, as one who was willing to cry, as one who was willing to keep on keeping on in the one job of asking people to come back home to God.

I don’t know how you love at your house, whether you husbands love anything like you ought, whether you wives show genuine affection, whether love has grown cold, whether home life is really a genuinely warm and beautiful thing or not. Maybe each year you grow a little bit colder. Well, that was certainly not true in the life of this young man who was unusually and almost unbelievably in love with even the kind of being that we call Gomer. There was a curious combination of fierceness and tenderness.

Hosea was such a lover and was so wound up with the combination of fierceness and tenderness that it could well be said of him that the lightening flashed from his tear-dimmed eyes. He grasped with sincere and clear insight the pain in the heart of God. He could look deep into the heart of God. He could hear the sobs of a loving Father, as the Father begged his wife, Israel to come back home. He understood very remarkably the nature of sin, the certainty of judgment, the love of God and the way of salvation.

The first three chapters tell primarily of the domestic tragedy, his own home life, his heart life, his crying life, his sobbing life, the tragedy of the parsonage. Then chapters four through fourteen tell of his preaching. In that preaching we tried to decide that there were three sections. The first one tells us about sin; the second tells about judgment; and the third tells about salvation.

Someone said to me once he believed he could preach that as a sermon. I said, “Well, help yourself.” There is certainly nothing nearer to the very center of the Bible message of the love of God and His hatred of sin and the certainty of the judgment and the absolute certainty of salvation than what Hosea, in some strange way, seems to present Let us remember our first point—sin is intolerable for God is holy. The second point—judgment must come for God is just. The third point—salvation will come because God is love.

That does not mean that God will become the head of the universalist group or that God will become some kind of grandfather-God and say, “Since there is plenty of room over here, we will all move over a little and all of you come in.” Hosea is clear in the doctrine of repentance as anything short of Jesus, John the Baptist, or Paul. Hosea is clear in the doctrine of judgment as anything, even in the New Testament. Hosea reveals the secret of salvation in that word and doctrine of repentance.

Hosea is tremendously sure that salvation will come and that it is the third point of it. Salvation is certain because God is love. If you want to sum up the book entirely and preach a New Testament text, and preach the message of Hosea, you could take John 3:16 and do your best teaching.

Now, very briefly for a summary: The character of God makes it impossible for Him to let Israel’s sin go unpunished. You mark down Hosea 12:2 and major on that line. Hosea presents this dark picture of judgment against the background of God’s amazing love. Their greatest sin is found in despising such love. So, when you begin getting the doctrine of judgment as Hosea presents it, you are not only presenting a beautiful truth, a powerful truth, you are also laying down the foundation for what we will study next, the love of God.

STUDY MATERIAL

While the subject material in Hosea is often mixed, we can provide a general outline:

Chapters 1 – 3 Hosea’s personal tragedy
Chapters 4 – 7 Israel’s sin is intolerable because God is holy
Chapters 8 – 10 Israel’s sin shall be punished because God is just
Chapters 11 – 14 Israel will be restored because God is love.

THE SUBJECTS FOR THIS SESSION ARE SIN AND JUDGMENT

SIN

Read the following verses and identify the three varieties of sin Hosea mentions:
Hosea 13:6; 7:13; 8:11

What consequences of sin does Hosea see?
A. Hosea 4:9; 5:12; 7:9; 8:8
B. Hosea 4:1; 4:6; 7:10
C. Hosea 9:9-10; 8:7; 9:17

JUDGMENT

How would you describe the certainty of judgment from the following verses:
Hosea 9:17; 4:9; 12:11; 8:7; 6:11