Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hosea 4: 1-5

Hosea 4

God’s Controversy with Israel
1Listen to the word of the LORD, O sons of Israel,
For 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.
2 There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing and adultery.
They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed.
3 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.

4 Yet let no one find fault, and let none offer reproof;
For your people are like those who contend with the priest.
5 So you will stumble by day,
And the prophet also will stumble with you by night;
And I will destroy your mother.

From the richly sublime, loving text of Chapter 3, Hosea pulls a 180, launching into the terms of an indictment that God has filed against Israel. Chapter 4 opens with a cry of anguish, to use the words of the late pastor, David Wilkerson. "Listen...because the Lord has a case...." (vs 1).

There is no "faithfulness...kindness...knowledge of the Lord." Other translations use the words truth and loyalty instead of faithfulness and kindness. I like what the Amplified Bible tacks on about knowledge--"[from personal experience with Him]." It is such a stark contrast to come from Chapter 3, knowing God's ultimate plan, to being in the pit of Chapter 4, at a point in Israel's relationship with God that there truly is no relationship with God. And how are we all looking today, as a nation?

Verse 2 expounds on the issues. Self-explanatory, really, though I like my study Bible's mention of how many of these issues are found in the Ten Commandments--The Law. Should have spoken volumes to the Jews. Verse 3 is then the verse of consequences. Note the phrasing: "The land mourns...and everyone who lives in it languishes." (italics mine) The land, beasts, birds and fish also face consequences. The King James' says, of the fish, they "shall be taken away." Strong's defines the Hebrew word as "to gather for any purpose." The One who has established creation is also the One who can gather up creation, for His purpose! Do we really question why flocks of birds fall from the sky or schools of one species of fish flip belly-up?

"For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now."
--Romans 8:20-22 (italics mine)

Then, verse 4: "Yet let no one find fault" or let no one contend. We studied the word contend in Chapter 2, with reference to Israel's looking at itself as the nation of God's chosen people in light of its sinful behavior. "Contend with your mother," it says in 2:2. But here, no one is grappling, wrangling and holding a controversy [Strong's] over his sin--not the nation, not the Israelite.

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us."
--I John 1: 9 & 10

It is no wonder Hosea says to "Listen to the word of the Lord," and "there is no knowledge of the Lord in the land." Had there been, Israel "coulda been a contender." And there would have been no "deception." Not only was there no self-reflection or confession, but there was no one challenging the sin. No one upholding the Word before others. Check out this interesting cross-reference from Ezekiel:

"Moreover, I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so that you will be mute and cannot be a man who rebukes them, for they are a rebellious house."
--Ezekiel 3:26

Perhaps I was too quick to say that Israel didn't contend. Problem was, they were contentious as if dealing with the priests--those whom, under God's direction, they were not to disregard.

"According to the terms of the law which they [the priests] teach you, and according to the verdict which they tell you, you shall do; you shall not turn aside from the word which they declare to you, to the right or the left. The man who acts presumptuously by not listening to the priest who stands there to serve the LORD your God, nor to the judge, that man shall die; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel. Then all the people will hear and be afraid, and will not act presumptuously again."
--Deuteronomy 17: 11-13

Hosea certainly knows how to reach the heart of the Israelite, drawing from The Law to make clear and meaningful the charges laid before the people. Verse 5 closes with the people and the prophet stumbling, and the "mother," or the nation, of Israel, being "destroyed." Strong's defines the Hebrew root as meaning "to be dumb or silent" rather than obliterated. Oh, Israel! God's got your tongue! The One who brings creation under His feet will bring this nation to a humbling place under its Father.

"He says, 'Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.'”
--Psalm 46:10

God turns up the heat! More from Chapter 4.... 'Til next Wednesday!

Photo: shashasociologic.wordpress.com

* * *

Next week: Hosea 4: 6-10

Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation,
specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB).
I will quote other sources if used in a post.

I also use
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
(with notes from the King James Version).

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hosea 3

Hosea 3

Hosea's Second Symbolic Marriage
1Then the LORD said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband,
yet an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the sons of Israel,
though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes."

2So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a half of barley.

3Then I said to her, "You shall stay with me for many days. You shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man; so I will also be toward you."

4For the sons of Israel will remain for many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar and without ephod or household idols.

5Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the LORD and to His goodness in the last days.

"Go again...." This reminds me of the calling of Jonah, who got two calls to go to Nineveh. But, Hosea is faithful and, in my estimation, stands a bit more firmly than Jonah in God's presence, taking His direction in the light of hardship. Do you remember the invitation to Hosea in Chapter 1? "Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry...." [Hosea 1:2]. Now, he's being asked to go again, but to whom?

"...Go again, love [the same] woman [Gomer]...." [vs. 1, Amplified Bible]

Getting back to this whole idea of a literal/figurative analogy by God's design, He tells Hosea to take his wife-turned-harlot Gomer back, just as God, Himself, has promised to take back runaway Israel. The King James Version lays it out completely: "...Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel...." That's an amazingly deep and sacrificial love, as you know. But what of raisin cakes? Mentioned in the same phrase with "turn to other gods," it must have greater significance than just being a snack, like a Twinkie.

"Raisin cakes were used as a religious ritual in fertility rites. The cakes were molded in the form of a female goddess. Raisins were delicacies, which represented enjoying the sensuality of idolatrous worship." [The Ladies Society of Sacred Knowledge, http://sacredknowledgesociety.com/raisin.html. You could say you heard it through the grapevine....]

Verse 2 describes a scene that could well be a slave auction. The pieces of silver and the dry measure of barley mentioned--worth about 30 pieces of silver [there's that number again!]--would be the price paid for a common slave. My study Bible also notes that barley was the offering of one accused of adultery, according to Numbers 5:15. It's not exactly a Will and Kate kind of marriage ceremony, is it?

Indeed, as Hosea continues speaking, there are some ground rules laid in place before he and Gomer can return to a proper marriage relationship. Although the two will live together, they will not live as husband and wife, nor will they live as harlots. More like roommates. Spouses having a long cooling-off period, perhaps. Not separated, but not together.
Remember last week's post about when the everlasting covenant between God and Israel will come to fulfillment--not until the last days! Has God left Israel? No. But neither is He on intimate terms with her at this time, or at the moment.

Verse 4 is both prophecy fulfilled and prophecy yet to come. The sons of Israel definitely faced a time in which they had no representation--in earthly kings or priests--nor daily sacrifices. I just happen to be finishing a study of Daniel (love the God-incidence of timing, here), Chapters 11 and 12, in which Daniel is receiving God's word through an angel as to the Jews' return to Israel after years of captivity in Babylon.

"From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days."
--Daniel 12:11

The passage describes a ruler of the Grecian Empire, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who championed a most horrific reign of terror on the Jews, until the beginnings of the Roman Empire. There was no king of Israel, exactly. Likewise, Antiochus took many a mighty blow at the Jews' religious practices. An ephod is one of the garments the high priests wore, containing the names of the twelve tribes of Israel engraved on stones. There would be no presence of an ephod, nor would there be any form of household idols or Teraphim, which were images of ancestors that the Jews kept in their homes--not that the Jews should have had any idols.

So, guidelines and conditions were tough. But, in the eyes of the Lord, the situation required serious measures to rectify the relationship.

"Surely, as a woman treacherously departs from her lover, so you have dealt treacherously with Me, O house of Israel," declares the LORD."
--Jeremiah 3:20 (Treacherous, meaning "characterized by faithlessness or readiness to betray trust," [Dictionary.com], which was Gomer/Israel)

Verse 5 closes out the chapter--Wow, I know!--and I like, again, the Amplified Bible's notes on this: "
Afterward shall the children of Israel return and seek the Lord their God, [inquiring of and requiring Him] and [from the line of] David, their King [of kings]...." [vs. 5, Amplified Bible] The verse doesn't really make sense if you try and consider David being alive, which he wasn't. But, a King of Israel from the line of David, ah...now you know Who it is! But, again, I ask you to remember that this is prophecy to come. The Jews did not recognize Christ as the Messiah during His earthly ministry. But, soon--

"...at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and [that] every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
--Philippians 2: 10 & 11

"In those days and at that time," declares the LORD, "the sons of Israel will come, both they and the sons of Judah as well; they will go along weeping as they go, and it will be the LORD their God they will seek. They will ask for the way to Zion, turning their faces in its direction; they will come that they may join themselves to the LORD in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten."
--Jeremiah 50: 4 & 5

"God's Controversy with Israel" is Chapter 4.... 'Til next Wednesday!

Photo: sacredknowledgesociety.com

* * *

Next week: Hosea 4: 1-5

Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation,
specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB).
I will quote other sources if used in a post.

I also use
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
(with notes from the King James Version).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hosea 2: 19-23

19"I will betroth you to Me forever;
Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice,
In lovingkindness and in compassion,
20And I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness.
Then you will know the LORD.
21"It will come about in that day that I will respond," declares the LORD.
"I will respond to the heavens, and they will respond to the earth,
22And the earth will respond to the grain, to the new wine and to the oil,
And they will respond to Jezreel.
23"I will sow her for Myself in the land
I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion,
And I will say to those who were not My people,
'You are My people!'
And they will say, 'You are my God!'"

Feel the love, friends! Better yet, KNOW the love in this beautiful passage from Hosea--the closing of Chapter 2--that reads as wedding vows. As much as I would like to say that these could be used for a renewal of vows ceremony, truly, only One could say these words.

Found some wonderful notes in my study Bible today that have made this passage more than just the poetry of grace: "These verses are recited by every orthodox Jew as he places the phylacteries [small cubes containing Scriptures, which the Jews used and use in their prayers] on his hand and forehead." The words of God's grace upon Israel were to be taught and remembered, as if written on the forehead, from generation to generation. God made tremendous promises to His people through these words. Yet, only a remnant will remember and know the truth.

Note that 'betroth' is used three times as the passage begins. God issued the promise to marry, to espouse, to be united with His people, eternally, in perfect harmony, as something to come. If you take the word apart, you can almost see 'truth' instead of 'troth' and you would be understanding correctly. How many Jews have not, do not and will not see Jesus Christ as their Messiah? Yet, the truth is before them, right here in Hosea, for one example.

I said at the top that only One could make such a wedding vow. In His betrothal, God promises a relationship in righteousness, justice, lovingkindness, compassion (vs 19), and faithfulness (vs 20). He is the only one who could make such a promise to Israel. To "know" the Lord, is that deep kind of knowing--the Hebrew word meaning "to recognize." [Strong's] In "that day" (vs 21), meaning, the last Day, with the return of Jesus to the Earth, all will recognize that He is the Lord.

Let us not hiccup on verse 21 with the phrasing. "I will respond to the heavens...heavens to the earth" does not put God or Heaven in subservient positions as if He and it are required to answer to His creation. Israel has brought nothing into this relationship but its unfaithful self. The word for respond, answer, hear (in the King James') can be expanded upon to mean "to sing, shout, testify, announce." [Strong's] God, in His promise of espousal, is testifying of His love and grace upon Israel, announcing the marriage, singing and shouting with the blessings of life in new covenant relationship. This is a proactive response of God's overflowing love, not a reactive response to an offering of Israel's, of which there was none.

One more word trip for you today. When you start digging into English word origins for 'respond', you find roots tying back to the word sponsor. Beyond the commonly thought of definition referring to somebody who gives money on behalf of a cause, a sponsor, more generally, is "one who makes a promise on behalf of another. Gives assurance. Promises solemnly." There's even a root related to 'sponsor' that means "to make a drink offering." [All Dictioinary.com] God's response, sponsoring, espousing Israel is sacrificial and is pledged under the highest authority of truth.

Moving on, verse 22 reverses the course of what God had brought Israel in the beginning of Chapter 2 ("slay her with thirst," vs 3). With the establishment of the renewed relationship with Israel, God will bless the land with abundance. Recall Joel 2:19 as well as this verse from Zechariah:

"'For there will be peace for the seed: the vine will yield its fruit, the land will yield its produce and the heavens will give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to inherit all these things.'"
--Zechariah 8:12

Not only is this a literal reference, but it is a figurative one as well, as alluded to in the Zechariah passage above. Note the end of Hosea 2:22: "And they will respond to Jezreel." In Chapter 1, we learned that Gomer's first son was named Jezreel, meaning "God will scatter." In our Chapter 2 passage, the meaning is more positive, especially when looking at it in light of verse 23. God will scatter seed, sowing Israel "for Myself" in that He would bless her with eternal sustenance and peace (again, see Zechariah, above).

The chapter ends with God completely restating, now in the affirmative, that which He spoke in Chapter 1, through Gomer's other two children:

"'Name her Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer have compassion on the house of Israel, that I would ever forgive them....' And the LORD said, 'Name him Lo-ammi, for you are not My people and I am not your God.'"
--Hosea 1:6 & 9

God's plan is to completely restore Israel unto Himself. It is as if He has given Gomer's children new names! More importantly for Israel, it reestablishes, once and for all, that God is with them.

"It will no longer be said to you, 'Forsaken,'
Nor to your land will it any longer be said, 'Desolate';
But you will be called, 'My delight is in her,'
And your land, 'Married';
For the LORD delights in you,
And to Him your land will be married."
--Isaiah 62:4

One last point before we leave Chapter 2. The Apostle Paul quotes verse 23 of Hosea in Romans 9:25, as he wrote of how the Jew and the Gentile attain God's righteousness. Of course, in the day, there was confusion. The Jews had such a long history with the Law, and now the Gentiles were on the scene being presented with the Gospel of grace by Jesus' gift of salvation through the cross. Having not accepted Christ's role as Messiah, the Jews were left with the Law and with the "stumbling block" of Christ crucified. Paul's words would not be in the Jews' understanding. But, one day, Hosea's words will be understood by the remnant who comes to truly know the Lord. And then, Paul's words in II Corinthians will be understood by them as well:

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come."
--II Corinthians 5:17

Blessed are those who stand upon the promises of God!

Hosea, Chapter 3--(the whole thing!)--"Hosea's Second Symbolic Marriage".... 'Til next Wednesday!

Photo: calvarychapelemmett.org

* * *

Next week: Hosea 3

Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation,
specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB).
I will quote other sources if used in a post.

I also use
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
(with notes from the King James Version).

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hosea 2: 14-18

Restoration of Israel
14"Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
Bring her into the wilderness and speak kindly to her.
15"Then I will give her her vineyards from there,
And the valley of Achor as a door of hope
And she will sing there as in the days of her youth,
As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.
16"It will come about in that day," declares the LORD,
"That you will call Me Ishi
And will no longer call Me Baali.
17"For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth,
So that they will be mentioned by their names no more.
18"In that day I will also make a covenant for them
With the beasts of the field, the birds of the sky
And the creeping things of the ground
And I will abolish the bow, the sword and war from the land,
And will make them lie down in safety.

One of my favorite transition words--'Therefore'--opens up our passage this week. Last week, we left the end of a long diatribe in which God lays out for Israel the deepness of her sin. The powerful text could lead one to believe that there would be no hope for reconciliation. Not until verse 14 of Chapter 2, anyway, which starts with 'Therefore' and leads us through God's plan for restoration of His relationship with Israel.

"I will allure her." (vs. 14) In the Hebrew, 'allure' means "to be open" or "to make roomy." [Strong's] Where dialogue had been closed or uncomfortable, God would reestablish openness in communicating, captivating the attention and the heart of Israel. As I read this, I have a picture of what happens when one has a fight with one's boyfriend or girlfriend, or husband or wife. There's a period of separation, as emotions are discharged and feelings sorted out. Then, there is a time, sometimes mutually felt, for reconciliation. Reuniting at a favorite place or a significant place in the relationship. God spoke enormously to the Israelites in their years of roaming the wilderness together during the time of the Exodus from Egypt. The mention of that locale is not out of place here in Hosea.

The valley of Achor (see above), or the "valley of trouble," is not as well-known, perhaps, as the wilderness, but Israel would understand the symbolism, as God writes yet another analogy. This reference relates to a story in Joshua in which Achan and his family faced judgment after having taken some items that they had been banned from being allowed to touch. "The anger of the Lord burned against the sons of Israel." (Joshua 7:1) Joshua then sent 3,000 Israelites to spy on the land of Ai. Thirty-six men were struck down, and Joshua tore his clothes, asking God why.

"Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. And they have even taken some of the things under the ban and have both stolen and deceived. Moreover, they have also put them among their own things. Therefore the sons of Israel cannot stand before their enemies; they turn their backs before their enemies, for they have become accursed. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy the things under the ban from your midst."
--Joshua 7: 11&12

Now, in Hosea, God says this place that had brought Israel despair will now be a "door of hope," at which Israel will "give answer" as in the days of her youth--an affirmative answer of following the Lord, wholly and truly.

Verse 16 has some vocabulary that needs a glance. 'Ishi' means "husband" while 'Baali' looks like what it is, "Baal." More generally, it means "my master." As if wooing a bride, God is showing profound grace to Israel by bringing her back to an earlier time, when He first called the nation to be His own. Again, in the quiet of the wilderness, God will speak to Israel's heart, saying that she will once again call Him husband, and they will reestablish the intimate relationship they once knew. She will not call Him "master" as if she were a slave. Indeed, as God says in verse 17, He will completely remove the names of the Baals from Israel's mouth to be remembered no more. As profoundly strong as God can be in asserting His way, He is also remarkably gentle in His handling of His people.

"In that day I will also make a covenant for them...." (vs. 18) God has certainly made His covenants with His people over time--from Moses to Jesus. But this one refers to a day yet to come:

"And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them.... They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, or the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea."
--Isaiah 11: 6 & 9

Such a dramatic peace is coming, with God directing all of creation in the laying down of arms and in knowing a time of eternal security and salvation. Israel will know this amazing time!

The conclusion of God's words in "The Restoration of Israel".... 'Til next Wednesday!

Photo: churchwarnings.blogspot.com

* * *

Next week: Hosea 2: 19-23

Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation,
specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB).
I will quote other sources if used in a post.

I also use
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
(with notes from the King James Version).

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hosea 2: 8-13

"For she does not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the new wine and the oil,
And lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal.
9"Therefore, I will take back My grain at harvest time
And My new wine in its season.
I will also take away My wool and My flax
Given to cover her nakedness.
10"And then I will uncover her lewdness
In the sight of her lovers,
And no one will rescue her out of My hand.
11"I will also put an end to all her gaiety,
Her feasts, her new moons, her sabbaths
And all her festal assemblies.
12"I will destroy her vines and fig trees,
Of which she said, 'These are my wages
Which my lovers have given me '
And I will make them a forest,
And the beasts of the field will devour them.
13"I will punish her for the days of the Baals
When she used to offer sacrifices to them
And adorn herself with her earrings and jewelry,
And follow her lovers, so that she forgot Me," declares the LORD.

"For she does not know...." Lost in her sin, too far gone for most to see, Israel is facing punishment from the Lord. God's words through Hosea in our passage today are as descriptive as they are clear.

Israel would learn, as we know, that God is the sole provider of all that we have. My church recently experienced a break-in, with thousands of dollars of equipment being stolen. Even as I know there were earthly thieves involved, I also have to say that God allowed for this event to take place. We have felt violated with the invasion. But, we have also turned to God in prayer, not putting aside our worship, and reaching out to our community for support. As the song says, "You give and take away. My heart will choose to say, 'Lord, blessed be Your Name!'"

But, here in Hosea, Israel has not recognized her Father. And God is in a mode of taking away. That with which He blessed Israel in making her the nation of His children, He would remove from sight, that she might, once again, turn to Him. Ezekiel, Chapter 16, begins with a gorgeously rich passage of God's grace upon Israel--a nation of feeble begininngs, yet, with God's personal hand-dressing, a nation that would grow into extreme beauty. But, affirming our Hosea passage, it would not last.

"But you trusted in your beauty and played the harlot because of your fame, and you poured out your harlotries on every passer-by who might be willing....Then it came about after all your wickedness ('Woe, woe to you!' declares the Lord GOD),that you built yourself a shrine and made yourself a high place in every square."

--Ezekiel 16:16, 23-24 [Look at that interjection by God in the middle of His own message--'Woe, woe to you' Israel. Wow!]

If you read all of that Ezekiel chapter, you will understand how verse 9 of Hosea fits in so beautifully with Israel's story. "I will also take away My wool and My flax given to cover her nakedness." Before Israel was a chosen nation, she was bloodied and naked. God's grace would serve as a "skirt" (Eze. 16:8) to cover her. "But you trusted in your beauty," says Ezekiel 16:16, and God had no choice but to remove His grace for a time. Linen, a material so desired, that even to manufacture linen was a dream job. Linen and wool symbolize purity and whiteness. But God would remove the garments He placed upon Israel, once again, leaving her in nakedness--meaning, "disgrace, blemish, unclean, shame." [All references here, Strong's].

God is putting an end to Israel's "party", as it were, (vs. 11) their focus on prosperity at their own hands and their worship of idols, notably Baal. The nation's creation of their own worship festivals and holidays was not celebrated by God, but, rather, condemned. Hosea is not the first to mention this practice.

"I hate, I reject your festivals, nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies.... You also carried along Sikkuth your king and Kiyyun, your images, the star of your gods which you made for yourselves."
--Amos 5:21, 26

Back to Hosea 2:12, God will destroy the nation's food source, notably, fig trees. We may not talk much about figs outside of Newtons or ingredients on cooking shows, but fig trees are often mentioned in the Bible and had enormous significance--both literally and figuratively--back in the day. The fig was a very important, reliable crop, especially for trade. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia also says, "Plenitude of fruitful vines and fig-trees, specially individual ownership, thus came to be emblematical of long-continued peace and prosperity." Israel would know the deep loss of relationship with God. Note the credit of the giving of the fig trees as wages from Israel's lovers, or false gods. Praise God from Whom ALL blessings flow--not so much, Israel. [Not to forget that Adam and Eve's first garments were created from fig leaves, getting back to the nation's soon-to-be state of "nakedness".]

Today's passage concludes with God punishing Israel for its worship of Baal. Baal was a Phoenician sun god who courted Israel through the evil Jezebel when she married King Ahab. The prophet Elijah comes to the forefront when looking at Jezebel's story and influence. Remember how he fled following Jezebel's threats to kill him? His pleading with God at the cave to be finished with his work? God would strengthen Elijah, as there were important leadership changes that he would help bring about. God also issued this word through His prophet:

"Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him."

--I Kings 19:18

There's a lot of back and forth in the messages of Hosea. But isn't that how it goes with studying the dynamics of a relationship? Having concluded an "Unfaithfulness" section, and reading God's Word as documented I Kings, we begin anew with "The Restoration of Israel".... 'Til next Wednesday!

Photo:myjewelrybox.com; en.wikipedia.org

* * *

Next week: Hosea 2: 14-18

Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation,
specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB).
I will quote other sources if used in a post.

I also use
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
(with notes from the King James Version).