Hosea was a contemporary of Isaiah, but unlike Isaiah, who worked in and around Jerusalem, Hosea worked and preached in the northern kingdom of Israel. This book was written in the latter half of the 8th Century BC when Israel was about to be overrun by the Assyrians. Hosea is an emotionally moving book. He interchanges the understanding of adultery with idolatry and uses his own marriage and life experience to dramatize his point. These images are searing and bitter, yet filled with love. Idolatry is spiritual adultery – it is spiritual unfaithfulness. This idolatry has destroyed the moral compass of the northern kingdom. This is evidenced by the fact that after Jeroboam’s death, Israel has six (6) kings in twenty (20) years and four of them were assassinated by their successors.
Hosea can be outlined as follows:
· Hosea 1:1-3:5 Hosea’s unfaithful wife
· Hosea 4:1-9:17 God’s case against Israel
· Hosea 10:1-13:16 Israel’s punishment and restoration
· Hosea 14:1-9 Repentance, forgiveness, and restoration
Key learning: God’s love is constant and is not changed by our faithfulness or our unfaithfulness.