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Hosea in the Headlines

If I mention the Old Testament book of Hosea, what comes to mind? Most likely the love story that it recounts – how Hosea loved his wife Gomer, redeeming her from the consequences of her adultery. It is a beautiful portrayal of God’s redeeming love.

But what about Hosea’s words of prophecy? How familiar are we with those? If we’re honest, it’s probably been awhile since we took a tour through Hosea or the rest of the prophetic books of the Old Testament!

However, I would like to encourage all of us to delve into these books. The words the Old Testament prophets spoke were not just for their time – they record God’s words for us as well: words of love and rebuke, words of promise and warning.

Today, let me invite you to consider some of the words from Hosea ... words that seem particularly applicable when I read the headlines each day:

“The Lord has a case against the inhabitants of the land,because there is no faithfulness or kindness or knowledge of God in the land. There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing, and adultery. They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed. Therefore the land mourns, and everyone who lives in it languishes along with the beasts of the field and the birds of the sky, and also the fish of the sea disappear.” (Hosea 4:1-3)

-- Does this describe the world in general today? Does it describe America?

-- Consider the correlation Hosea notes between the violence of humankind and the destruction of the earth. Where do you see the land mourning, people languishing, animals dying, and species going extinct?

“Their deeds will not allow them to return to their God. For a spirit of harlotry is within them, and they do not know the Lord.” (Hosea 5:4)

-- Consider the phrase “Their deeds will not allow them to return to their God.” How does consistently engaging in sinful behavior prevent people from repenting?

-- Is there any sin that you are consistently engaging in? If so, what will you do about it?

“For they sow the wind and they reap the whirlwind.” (Hosea 8:7a)

-- Where is society “sowing the wind” today?

-- What kind of “whirlwind” can we expect to reap?

“Though I wrote for him ten thousand precepts of My law, they are regarded as a strange thing.” (Hosea 8:12)

-- Why is God’s Word considered strange, old-fashioned, anachronistic, narrow-minded, or ridiculous by the world?

-- Where are some churches deviating from God’s Word?

“They devoted themselves to shame, and they became as detestable as that which they loved.” (Hosea 9:10b)

-- Where do we see people “devoting themselves to shame” today?

-- What is the result of consistently engaging in sinful behavior?

“As they had their pasture, they became satisfied, and being satisfied, their heart became proud; therefore they forgot Me.” (Hosea 13:6)

-- This verse is especially relevant for America; we have so much as a society. We have become satisfied ... self-satisfied. How has even the church in America fallen prey to prosperity and forgotten God?

-- Have you fallen prey to prosperity and self-satisfaction and forgotten to seek God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength?

As we consider the words of warning and rebuke in Hosea and see their relevancy to the society in which we live – and perhaps even to our own lives – let us ask ourselves one more question:

-- What happened when the prophets gave words of warning and rebuke and people did not listen and repent?

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