About this book
Hosea was a prophet in the northern kingdom during its final years as a nation. In the first three chapters of this book, Hosea's family life became a living picture of the message he preached to his country. The Lord told Hosea to marry a prostitute, as a way of showing how unfaithful Israel had been. Then the Lord told Hosea what to name his children, and these names were reminders that Israel was going to be punished. But Hosea was told to love his unfaithful wife, and his love was to be a picture of the Lord's continuing love for unfaithful Israel.
The rest of the book emphasizes the agreement that the Lord had made with Israel. This agreement demanded that Israel and the Lord be loyal and faithful to each other. The Lord had always lived up to the agreement, but the people had broken it time after time. They had trusted their own military strength and the power of foreign countries, rather than depending on the Lord to protect their nation. And the people had worshipped other gods and trusted them to provide good crops and large herds of livestock.
In this book the Lord put Israel and Judah on trial and charged them with breaking their agreement with him. They were guilty and would be punished.
But the Lord still loved his people in spite of everything they had done. And so he promised to forgive them and bless them again after they learnt to be faithful to him:
Israel, you have rejected me,
but my anger is gone;
I will heal you and love you
without limit.
A quick look at this book
1. Hosea's family is a picture of the Lord's unfaithful people (1.1—3.5)
2. The Lord accuses Israel, Judah, and their leaders (4.1—5.15)
3. The people pretend to turn to the Lord (6.1—7.10)
4. Israel refused to trust the Lord (7.11—8.14)
5. Israel will get the punishment it deserves (9.1–17)
6. Warnings for Israel (10.1–15)
7. God's love for his people (11.1–11)
8. Israel and Judah are doomed (11.12—13.16)
9. Future forgiveness and blessings (14.1–9)