HOSEA

chapters 1–3
The unfaithfulness of Israel, departing from their Lord
is likened to adultery – unfaithfulness abhorred.

Heartbroken husband, yearning:
Hosea, God’s prophet hurt, and learning
how God feels with Israel spurning
his grace,
to poisonous pleasures turning.

Rejection by his people:
ungrateful wife unblessed
(God’s patience ended, punishment)
– deserted and distressed.

Judah safe for now, protected,
spared by grace divine.

But God has gracious, wonderful love, redeeming Lord:
“Not my people” soon will be “sons of the living God”.
Israel, Judah reunited,
regathered and re-sown,
and many wandering hearts hedged in
by thorns from sins they’ve known,
allured and drawn to hope, and through
affliction’s door to song.
In days to come, they’ll seek the Lord
and tremble to belong.

chapter 4
There’s no acknowledgment of God
– all boundaries broken;
no faithfulness,  no love, – they’re hard –
restraint forsaken.
So, cursing, lying, stealing, bloodshed
increase each day.
The land is poor and mourns in dread –
and wastes away.

The priests ignore God’s law, their gain
brings barrenness,
their sacrificing ends in shame,
and wickedness.

O Judah, keep from guilt like this!
How can the Lord
a stubborn heifer tend and bless
with love outpoured?
They could be safe in pastures green.
But all alone:
and soon they’re gone –
the whirlwind’s blown.

chapter 5
Religious or royal, their leaders do harm
– a snare that entangles, –
their influence strangles desire for good,
returning to God is hindered,
– they stumble,
– and Judah does too;
their children grope, fumble,
not taught what to do.

The moth of chastising
wears holes in their frame,
and Judah’s might’s rotting,
and sores make it lame.
The sickness endured
can only be cured
by mourning and pleading,
contritely returning,
and earnestly seeking the Lord.

BUT   they will not return to the true God of Zion,
until he first comes as a fierce, seizing Lion.

chapter 6
Ephraim and Judah too,
have love like morning mist,
and faith like passing dew.
No ‘Sorry’ superficial directed at the Lord, –
learn of him, change your lifestyle: or lethal is his Word.
He sees the violence, and the sins,
the spiritual death false teaching brings.

And Judah, too prepare for when
your Lord will come to reap again.

chapter 7
Sins engulf and sins exposed.
Drunkeness, intrigue, and passions smoulder –  dangerous.
Ephraim is a half-baked cake, his hair is grizzled,
– insidious
the spiritual slide.
Foolish ignorance no defence.
Truth will protect
if given due thought,
but sinful neglect.
They slander his name,
and plot, to their shame.

They gather together
but not to their God,
and wail when they suffer,
but don’t cry to the Lord,
who longs to redeem.

Insolent leaders, soon mocked in their turn
by those they had turned to instead of the Lord.

chapter 8
“Sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind.”
Sow to vanity – futile, empty,
battered; no purity.
Th’Assyrian eagle looms. No true prayer.
The golden calf will soon be shattered.
Once more, captivity,
back to slavery.

Rejecting good, their guide they slight,
dismissing scripture given by God,,
turn to those who’ll scorn their plight
those nations won’t give friendship, help:
unloved, despised, and counted worthless.
They court those who are fickle, faithless,
and trust in their own skills and prowess,
but cut the One who loves the loveless.

chapter 9
True fellowship delights the Lord
(with those who worship, heed his Word) –
like desert grapes, awaited fruit.
Now, – blighted, fruitless, withered root:
the faithless wife must be turned out,
– her children spoilt, not taught about
the Lord, – so she will wander, lost
among the nations far, unblest,
unloved, – a prostitute whose wages fail.

God’s prophet had been called the fool.

chapter 10
Prosperity, then sin on sin:
rejecting God, – instead of Him,
false worship – thistles, thorn
their idol-altars will adorn.
Prosperity’s misuse will lead
to punishment, and they will plead
the mountains fall and cover them,
rather than face the conqueror grim.

Samaria and its king will float
away like twig or drifting boat.

Sow righteousness and love, and reap
its fruit, instead of evil that you keep,
from wickedness and lies, receiving,
(they seem to promise much, deceiving).
So seek the Lord, plough up your hardened heart
– his showers will righteousness bestow, impart.

chapter 11
Called out of Egypt
(the Messiah is too
centuries later,
his service to do).

Nurtured and tended –
so kind, – but they stray:
nourished and rescued,
– they went further away.

Though great the destruction,
his covenant love,
from far, from affliction
will summon and save.
He’ll roar with compassion,
his children come trembling,
to follow, be blessed by their Lord.

chapter 11:12-12:14
Political manoeuverings,
commercial deceit:
like Jacob, their dealings
they need to repent.
Jacob known for scheming;
Israel struggled (weeping)
with God.
Ephraim framing deals unfair,
(Judah too). Be just
and care,

and trust.

Israel cared for, saved and taught,
by their God, and so they ought
not to show contempt, and earn
provocation’s payment stern.
Vain altered worship stopped.

chapter 13:1–3
Great Ephraim had departed
from God, their Lord, and died.
Their sins they had compounded,
they would not long abide –
like smoke, or chaff, or early dew,
or morning mist, they’ll pass from view.

verses 4–16
Rebellion, despite such kindness:
well satisfied, proud, forgetfulness.
Rejected as Shepherd, their Lord will be
like a leopard attacking suddenly.
Take note that there must be a record of sins,
but oh, for new birth from her labour-like pains!

The conqueror cruel, like a withering wind
(from the east, from the Lord),
will parch and impoverish because they have sinned,
and even their children will suffer.

But his ransom will be from the power of the grave,
from death’s plagues and destruction he’ll save.

chapter 14:1–8
Repentance, returning
with words and right acts,
renouncing the scorning,
and trust in their pacts,
idolatry spurning.
Beloved, healed, they’ll flourish,
draw others to pray;
their God will well-nourish,
– his wrath turned away.

verse 9
Who of you is wise?
He’ll welcome, realise
that these things are true,
with discerning view,
understand and own
words of God made known.

The ways of the Lord are right,
and safe for the walk of his humble,
the righteous.
But rebels still fight,
– in his laws and his ways they just stumble

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