Hosea: Doom and Recovery

Hosea 1‑14  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 10
In spirit, as well as in circumstances, there shall be revival, moral as well as national recovery, conversion as well as restoration. Hosea’s last chapter lets us see this, and all the prophets. Micah, whose prophecy we may consider in another place, gives us this subject in a very vivid way, delineating the exercises of the soul very strikingly in his last two chapters.
Very various and broken are the notices which our prophet gives us of those iniquities which were leading the people to their graves, or to the judgment of death.
Such words are used, such descriptions are given of them. But they were to revive, and of this we get abrupt witness also. The Lord was God and not man, and His heart would turn within Him—His repentings should be kindled (Hos. 11:88How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together. (Hosea 11:8)); there should be no full and final destruction. Resurrection, as in the third day (a glance at the resurrection of the Lord of Israel Himself) is spoken of (Hos. 6:22After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. (Hosea 6:2)). The coming out from Egypt also, as a renewal of their history, as though they were beginning afresh (Hos. 11:11When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt. (Hosea 11:1)), under the hand and grace of God, and Jacob’s history, are likewise referred to, with the same intent (Hos. 12:2-62The Lord hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him. 3He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God: 4Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Beth-el, and there he spake with us; 5Even the Lord God of hosts; the Lord is his memorial. 6Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually. (Hosea 12:2‑6)). Birth from the womb (Hos. 9:1111As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird, from the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception. (Hosea 9:11)), and resurrection from the grave (Hos. 13:1414I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes. (Hosea 13:14)), are also called forth to set forth, as in figures, the same story of this people. And, again, the blighting force of the east wind (Hos. 13:15-1615Though he be fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come, the wind of the Lord shall come up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up: he shall spoil the treasure of all pleasant vessels. 16Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up. (Hosea 13:15‑16)), and then afterward the bloom and beauty of spring (Hos. 14:5-85I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. 6His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. 7They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. 8Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found. (Hosea 14:5‑8)), tell us of the doom and the revival of the nation.
Such passages throughout the book give it its character. I read it as that which, under the Spirit of God, keeps the judgment and redemption, the death and resurrection, of Israel as a nation, constantly in view. The language of resurrection itself is so employed in Hosea 13, that the apostle can use it, when he is making literal resurrection his subject, in 1 Corinthians 15. Here, however, it is the recovery of the nation. And standing, as Hosea was, in the full prospect of the Assyrian captivity, and in the near approach of the doom of the house of Jehu, it was natural and easy, so to speak, that the Spirit should lead him to see and speak of the death-stricken state of Israel as just about to begin. (In Hosea 13:1414I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes. (Hosea 13:14) we get the thought of the apostle in Romans 11:2929For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. (Romans 11:29)—that divine mercy shall gather Israel at the end, because God’s gifts and calling are without repentance.)
Principally, again I say, we have a detail of those iniquities which were making such a process, judgment unto death, necessary. But I welcome and fully admit the instructions of another, that, in a passing way, we get a large view of truth in this book of Hosea.