750-722 BC

Hosea, whose names means "The Lord (Yahweh) has saved," is the first among those who are called "lesser prophets", because their prophecies are short. Hosea prophesied in Israel at the same time as Isaiah prophesied in Judah.

1. God instructs Hosea to marry an adulterous woman. He marries Gomer and they have three children. Gomer’s unfaithfulness to Hosea compares to Israel’s unfaithfulness to God. Hosea 1:1-11.
2. Hosea’s voice becomes as one with God addressing Israel. The people worship Baal, the Canaanite fertility god, thinking that he is the one who gives good crops and plentiful harvest; when all the time it is God. Hosea 2:1-23.
3. Gomer, now seemingly the slave of another man, is brought back and put on probation. Again Hosea’s action, and his continuing love, provide an object- lesson. For a while, Israel will be deprived of the things she counted on – her king and religious emblems - but in time she will turn back to God. Hosea 3:1-5.
4. God’s judgement against Israel. The chapter details obedience to God’s standards; the prostitution of Israel’s religion; paganism bringing in its wake sexual degredation; the breakdown of law and order. Hosea 4:1-19.
5. A generation has grown up to whom God is a stranger. Judah shares the sin to which Israel has become addicted. Hosea 5:1-14.
6. Suffering turns the people to God. But their ‘love’ evaporates as quickly as dew in the hot sun. It is lasting love that God looks for. Hosea 5:15 & 6:1-6.
7. The total corruption of Israel. Priests have turned butcher; there is intrigue and murder. Israel turns to foreign peoples, foreign powers; foreign gods; but never to the Lord. Hosea 6:7-11 & 7:1-16.
8. God is forgotten. Israel will be caught up in the whirlwind of God’s judgement. They have made their own gods, made their own laws; set up kings to suit themselves - as if God’s laws did not exist. Hosea 8:1-14.
9. Distress and captivity of Israel. It was probably at the height of the festival to mark the grape-harvest when Hosea spoke out. The people may call him a fool, but he knows he is God’s watchman, and he will not hold his tongue. Sin has become habitual, ingrained, to the point where God finally withdraws his love. Hosea 9:1-17.
10. Under the yoke. Outwardly, affluent Israel made a great show of religion, but inwardly the people moved further and further away from God. Now they are reaping what they have long sown. Hoses 10:1-15.
11. God’s love for Israel. We see the infinitely loving heart of God. The nation deserves no mercy, yet God shrinks from destroying them. He is torn between love and justice, neither of which can be denied. This pain he took to himself on the cross of Christ. Hosea 11:1-12.
12. Sinners are urged to do penance. Israel must forget her proud independence and reliance on foreign powers. The people deride their contemporary prophets. They need reminding that it was through the prophet Moses that God brought the nation into being. Hosea 12:1-14.
13. The just punishment. Israel may turn to Baal and other idols, but there is in fact no God but God. Men may forget him, or discount him, but he exists: and he has power to carry out all that he has warned of. Hosea 13:1-16. 14. An exhortation to repentance. This last chapter is full of love and pleading. The way is open. Men have only to give God their loyalty to find his love and forgiveness, and embark on a new, transformed life. This is the truly wise course. Hosea 14:1-9.