Skip to content

Hosea Survey 2 – The Covenant Law Suit


Hosea Survey 2 – The Covenant Law-Suit.

Text Hosea chapter 4 to chapter 14

Hosea 4-14 are difficult chapters for the modern reader.  One commentator has conjectured that the passage were in fact ‘snippets’ of Hosea’s messages collated later in life and written down, rather than a systematic ‘sermon’ type body of work.   Thankfully there is a summary of these chapters to help us, and it is found in Hosea 4:1!  



1 The Indictment.  Hear the word of the Lord, You children of Israel, For the Lord brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: “There is no truth or mercy Or knowledge of God in the land.:

It is here that the charges are laid. There is a court case pending, and the charges are being laid. There are three separate charges being put to the accused, and they are being laid in reverse order, 3,2 and 1.  So, in reverse order here’s the charges:

3 No faithfulness.  there is no faithfulness. [no steadfast love, no dependability] or loyalty ‘HESED’ – (steadfast, covenant love)

2 No mercy  or kindness.

1 No Knowledge of God.  Or knowledge of God [from personal experience with Him] in the land. 

Notice that these egregious crimes against God are widespread – the charges are laid against the people ‘in the land.’  So, the charges are laid.  The rest of the book, from 4-13 expands the charges, and explains why they have been laid, as the evidence is brought forth…


2. The Evidence.

So now we can select some examples of the case against Israel.

  1. The Evidence of Lack of Knowledge.  We find this throughout chapter 4 and 5, and into the beginning of chapter 6.  For example, look at 4:6. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.  
    1. Forgetfulness destroys your faith! It may well be that simple forgetfulness is a serious tactic of the devil, in destroying Christian lives and testimonies.   BUT…
    2. Forgetfulness doesn’t destroy your religion! 4:12  The people who had forgotten God hadn’t forgotten to be religious – in fact even those who deny God are religious.  Hosea mocks them – they are so religious and idolatrous that they even worship their walking sticks! These were religious people, but FALSE RELIGION is always offensive to God.   

This puts them into direct conflict with God.   

  1. The Evidence of Lack of Mercy.  God has not dealt with Israel as she deserved.  He has been merciful to them.  Psalm 136 Lamentations 3:22-23 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 
    1. The Hebrew worshipper saw the love and mercy of God demonstrated every time he went to worship, for whole sacrificial system is pointing to Jesus, to the unmerited, undeserved mercy of God in Christ, for us.  God’s love and mercy is abundantly clear to them.  They have been graciously loved and forgiven!
    2. Yet, they in turn have not been merciful to others.  Cf  Matthew 18:21ff
  2. The Evidence of Lack of Faithfulness.  [no steadfast love, no dependability) No CHESED. This Hebrew word occurs in the OT – and it speaks of God’s steadfast love – which never ceases! But Israel has exchanged their relationship with God for dumb idols.  Hosea 8:4-6  Hosea 12:1 But God brooks no rivals!  Covenant faithfulness means no other gods.  

These are the charges that God brings against Israel. Hosea is telling people the truth about their sins, and the consequences of that sin, – 8:– that doesn’t mean he’s being hateful or judgmental.   God demonstrated his love for us at the cross, and if sinners reject Jesus, they reject his love and mercy.


3. The Forgiveness and Restoration

In the very last chapter of the book there is a promise for God’s people, – those who repent and trust the Lord.  For every one of these very serious indictments, there is an opportunity to repent and be forgiven and we see that not only throughout the book, but summarised in this last chapter.  

  1. The call to penitent faith. O Israel, return to the Lord your God,
    1. The consequences of lack of repentance.  For you have stumbled because of your iniquity;
    2. The course of repentance! Take words with you, And return to the Lord. Say to Him, “Take away all iniquity; Receive us graciously,  Here is the true ‘sinners’ prayer.  “Lord, I am a sinner, please take away my sin, by your grace, – which was given at the cross – and receive me into your heavenly kingdom.”  Luke 18:13 
    3. The completeness of repentance.  This is not a light thing, not a partial, meaningless, ‘sorry’ like the child who has been caught on, and says sorry to escape the anger of a parent.  This is both an acknowledgement of the overwhelming greatness of God, For we will offer the sacrifices of our lips – and the rejection of any human help. 14:Trusting the Lord therefore is an acknowledgement that only God can save us, adopt us into his family, and be a true father to us, For in You the fatherless finds mercy.”

So, in our repentance, we both turn AWAY from sin and self-reliance, and human value and works, and we turn to the only true God, the only way of salvation.

  1. The blessings of a humble Christian life.  “I will heal their backsliding,   Then they shall experience God’s Love. 1. I will love them freely, For My anger has turned away from him. Spiritual prosperity.  14:5 . A joyous reception. 14:7 A holy life. 14:8  

Conclusion.  You and I would be well advised to take heed to Hosea’s message!  Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right; The righteous walk in them,  But transgressors stumble in them.  I wonder is this how Hosea concluded all his sermons?  Like an application to each one of his hearers, pointing out the wisdom and the prudence of believing that what his message contained was not only true, but necessary for our good.  Whether we believe the message and how we respond to it will deeply affect our lives, in this world and the next.  Those who have been made righteous will respond by walking in the ways of the Lord.  Some will reject the whole notion of their sinfulness, deny that they are under condemnation because of it, and will refuse to repent and return to the Lord.  That will be their stumbling-block.  

© BobMcEvoy June 2019

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: