A Study In Hosea With Implications For The Modern Church
February 1, 2004

C. R. Oliver

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February 1, 2004

A Study In Hosea With Implications For The Modern Church

This month finds the Ground Hog a fit emblem for those who seek a sign in order to determine their future. The little creature mystically determines an early spring or a wintry continuance simply by casting or not casting a shadow. This month, however, is little different from any other for those who depend on someone else's prophesy or "word" for their direction; the spiritual Ground Hog has seen his shadow; therefore, confusion and wickedness will continue to abound. Last week, at an early breakfast between old friends, this writer and a colleague from Great Britain were engaged in conversation about spiritual conditions on the worldwide Christian front. (We were in attendance at an annual "invitation only" minister's conference.) Shaking his head, my friend mentioned that he and several others had spent an afternoon in prayer just prior to the opening ceremonies and in pursuant conversation one of the participants declared, "This thing is narrower than we thought; it is far narrower and less inclusive than what we can imagine." The "thing" he referred to was none other than those of the end time kingdom. Their prayers had led them to look intently into the morass that surrounds conferences, kingdoms and community.

My friend and the others had parallel concerns with Hosea, who is the subject of a few brief comments. Hosea rose as the only prophet OF Israel TO Israel. What is so desperately needed today is someone from the ranks of leadership (displaying a "Hosea-like humility") to declare the adulterous state of affairs surrounding the whole of Christendom.

Hosea had no formal training in the school of the prophets (ample credentials for a true man of God). He, like Jeremiah, was a "weeping" messenger (indicative of a tender heart--rather than a tough one).

He has been called "the prophet of the broken heart," from which he called his people to return to God. Israel was economically prosperous, and they could see no need for change (after all, don't fix what "ain't" broke).

Politically there was only anarchy, confusion and unrest. Hosea 7:11 said they were "like a silly dove without sense," flittering everywhere but toward God. Hosea grasped today's situation. To observe today's ministry and followers is to see an imitation of the wrong dove (silliness, not the descending Spirit).

This is precisely why so few use texts from Hosea as a platform for biblical study or sermon. One has to look at some of this "more than worthy material" as a beacon set for Twenty-first Century spiritual shipwreck.

1. Hosea 4:14: "I will not punish your daughters when they commit harlotry, nor your brides when they commit adultery: for the men themselves go apart with a harlot and offer sacrifices with a ritual harlot." Could this be the answer to why things continue as they do? Could it be that harlotry is so pervasive that a shotgun rather than a rifle would be needed? Pride depicted as an accompanying "ritual harlot" speaks to a decadence propelled by rebellion! Hosea 4:18ff: "their drink is rebellion, they commit harlotry continually. Her rulers dearly love dishonor. The wind has wrapped her up in its wings." The wind that has been sown has now become the engulfing whirlwind (Hosea 8:7)!

2. Hosea 3:8: "They set their heart on their iniquity. And it shall be: like people, like priest." The setting of one's heart is to be on things above, not things beneath. Alas, where have the multitudes learned their error except through an errant priesthood?

3. Hosea 5:4: "The spirit of harlotry is in their midst, and they do not know the Lord. The pride of Israel testifies to his face." (There really is an evil spirit sown in the ranks.)

4. Mizpah and Tabor in chapter 5 stand as citadels of truth. Positioned on opposite sides of the Jordan, they represent those who have not crossed over and those who have--as being the same! Through tears, Hosea declared the wickedness of Baalam was yet alive.

5. Hosea 6:7 and 7:1: "there they dealt treacherously with Me...they have committed fraud!" This horrible thing in the house of Israel is again surfacing in the house of the Lord...Spiritual Fraud. I personally choose the first and third meaning of this English word: "deceit or trickery perpetuated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage...something that is not what it pretends." (Webster). Sheqer: the Hebrew word reeks of sexual overtones regarding seduction/deceit. Here is the truth: Never in the history of Christendom has there been such shuffling for advantage (disguised as ministry) as today—while the real intent is to build one's own kingdom and not that of Christ's!

6. Hosea 7:14: "They did not cry out to Me with their heart when they wailed upon their beds...they return, but not to the Most High (v.16)." While bemoaning their sins and their surrounding conditions, there is no remedy of repentance. Convicted of debauchery, they slip into the sleep of, "I will deal with this problem another day."

7. Hosea 8:1: "...He shall come like an eagle against the house of the Lord, because they have transgressed My covenant and rebelled against My law." The logo of Zadok Publications is the swooping eagle; now everyone will know why!

8. Hosea 9:1: "You have loved for reward on every threshing floor...They shall not dwell in the Lord's land." After "making out in every barn," no one should expect to reap a harvest of blessings regardless of how much Scripture he or she may quote.

9. Three passages intertwine: Hosea 9:17: "My God will cast them away, because they did not obey Hi;," Hosea 11:7: "though they call to the Most High, NONE at all exalt Hi;" and Hosea 10:13: "...because you trusted in your own way." These are self- explanatory.

10. Hosea 3:11: "Harlotry, wine and new wine enslave the heart." These spiritual counterparts are very active today in the hearts of people, and there can be no "free at last" until those enslaved by these three are set free.

REMEDY: But God!
The prophet Hosea constantly reminds his audience that repentance toward God reaps a harvest of mercy. A day (sealed), "And it shall be in that day, says the Lord, that you will call Me 'My Husband (ref. to Song of Solomon)', and no longer call Me 'My Master' (Hosea 2:17)."

"I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord (Hosea3:20)." Hosea 6:6: "For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God MORE than burnt offerings."

Hosea 11:1: "When Israel was a child, I loved Him."

Hosea 12:5: "So you, by the help of your God, return, Observe mercy and justice, and wait on your God continually."

Hosea 13:4: "There is no savior besides ME!"

Hosea 14:1: "O Israel, return to the Lord your God for you have stumbled because of your iniquity; Take words with you and return to the Lord, SAY TO HIM: 'Take away all iniquity; receive us graciously, for we will offer the sacrifices of our lips, Assyria (man's out-sourced defenses) shall not save us, we will not ride on horses (not even high ones), nor will we say anymore to the work of our hands, You are our gods (not to cathedrals, shopping mall ministries, nor any other of man's kingdom) for IN YOU the fatherless finds mercy'."

THEN "I will heal their backsliding (that's the healing line we need), I will love them freely...for the ways of the Lord are right. The righteous walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them."

No clearer words need be heard today than these, for they are written by the hand of one who is from the land and writing to his countrymen, through tears!

Until Next month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.


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Called to be Saints Solomon's Secret En Punto A Study in Isaiah

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In Spanish:

Called to be Saints El Secreto de Salomon Los Hijos Sadoc

In German:

Die Sohn Zadoks

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