The Book of Hosea is the first of the twelve books known as the Minor Prophets. The term "Minor Prophets" does not mean they are less important than the Major Prophets. All of God's Word is important for us to read.
Hosea's name means "Salvation." Hosea lived in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, which he often called Ephraim, during the reign of King Jeroboam II, who was a very wicked king. During this turbulent time in Jewish history the people worshiped Baal, and immorality and injustice were widespread. Hosea lived to see the destruction of Samaria, Israel's capital, in 722 b.c. and Israel's exile to Assyria.
God told Hosea to marry an adulterous wife who would be unfaithful (1:2). His wife's unfaithfulness to him represented Israel's unfaithfulness to God. The people had forsaken the one true God and worshiped idols. However, just as Hosea still loved his wife, the Lord still loved His people.
God told Hosea to name his son Jezreel, which means "God scatters," "'because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel'" (1:4).
Gomer, Hosea's wife, conceived again and had a little girl. God told Hosea to name her Lo-Ruhamah, which means "not loved." God said, "'I will no longer show love to the house of Israel, that I should at all forgive them'" (1:6). He didn't want to show love to Israel as long as they worshiped false gods.
God told Hosea to name his third child Lo-Ammi, which means "not my people." God said of Israel, "'You are not my people, and I am not your God'" (1:9).
In chapter 4 God tells us what He had against Israel. "'There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land. There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds and bloodshed follows bloodshed. Because of this the land mourns, and all who live in it waste away'" (4:1-3). What God says in verse 6 is still important today: "'My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests.'"
In chapter 6 God says, "'I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. Like Adam, they have broken the covenant--they were unfaithful to me'" (6:6-7).
In chapter 14 God urges Israel to return to Him. "Say to him: 'Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips. . . . We will never again say "Our gods" to what our own hands have made, for in you the fatherless find compassion'" (14:2-3). Then God says, "'I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them'" (14:4). In spite of all the Israelites had done, God still loved them. This is a great example of how our Father in heaven loves us.
Verse 9 says, "The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them."
Fill in the blanks on the worksheet and on the "Go to the Word" sheet, and may God bless you as you study His Word.