Hosea 3-4 paints an image of the deterioration of Israel’s society eerily resembling modern times. Though Israel was unfaithful to God and deep in sin, still God works to bring Israel back. Walk through another two chapters in Hosea that speak of God’s firm and faithful love, even as our eyes wander. What is it that God wants? What keeps Him from giving up on Israel?
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New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
Hosea’s Reconciliation With His Wife
3 The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”
2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels[a] of silver and about a homer and a lethek[b] of barley. 3 Then I told her, “You are to live with[c] me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with[d] you.”
4 For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol. 5 Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the Lord and to his blessings in the last days.
The Charge Against Israel
4 Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites,
because the Lord has a charge to bring
against you who live in the land:
“There is no faithfulness, no love,
no acknowledgment of God in the land.
2 There is only cursing,[e] lying and murder,
stealing and adultery;
they break all bounds,
and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
3 Because of this the land mourns,[f]
and all who live in it waste away;
the beasts of the field and the birds of the air
and the fish of the sea are dying.
4 “But let no man bring a charge,
let no man accuse another,
for your people are like those
who bring charges against a priest.
5 You stumble day and night,
and the prophets stumble with you.
So I will destroy your mother—
6 my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.
“Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also reject you as my priests;
because you have ignored the law of your God,
I also will ignore your children.
7 The more the priests increased,
the more they sinned against me;
they exchanged[g] their[h] Glory for something disgraceful.
8 They feed on the sins of my people
and relish their wickedness.
9 And it will be: Like people, like priests.
I will punish both of them for their ways
and repay them for their deeds.
10 “They will eat but not have enough;
they will engage in prostitution but not increase,
because they have deserted the Lord
to give themselves 11 to prostitution,
to old wine and new,
which take away the understanding 12 of my people.
They consult a wooden idol
and are answered by a stick of wood.
A spirit of prostitution leads them astray;
they are unfaithful to their God.
13 They sacrifice on the mountaintops
and burn offerings on the hills,
under oak, poplar and terebinth,
where the shade is pleasant.
Therefore your daughters turn to prostitution
and your daughters-in-law to adultery.
14 “I will not punish your daughters
when they turn to prostitution,
nor your daughters-in-law
when they commit adultery,
because the men themselves consort with harlots
and sacrifice with shrine prostitutes—
a people without understanding will come to ruin!
15 “Though you commit adultery, O Israel,
let not Judah become guilty.
“Do not go to Gilgal;
do not go up to Beth Aven.[i]
And do not swear, ‘As surely as the Lord lives!’
16 The Israelites are stubborn,
like a stubborn heifer.
How then can the Lord pasture them
like lambs in a meadow?
17 Ephraim is joined to idols;
leave him alone!
18 Even when their drinks are gone,
they continue their prostitution;
their rulers dearly love shameful ways.
19 A whirlwind will sweep them away,
and their sacrifices will bring them shame.