Law of God in Hosea


Sung Psalm 119:9-16

Read Hosea 5

Remembering Hosea 8:12, what is included in the written law of God given to Israel by divine inspiration through the pen of Moses? We believe it is the whole Pentateuch (Genesis to Deuteronomy). Evidence pointing to Moses writing these books is plentiful e.g. Ex.17:14, 24:4, 34:27, Numb.33:2 and Deut.31:19. God wrote it and Moses wrote it! Christ also backs this up (John 5:46-47).

The great things of God’s law include so much: Creation, the flood, the history of the patriarchs, the Exodus, the wilderness wanderings, the giving of the law, feasts and the sacrificial and priestly system. This verse is sandwiched between verses describing many (unholy) altars and wrong sacrifices. Hosea also alludes to Deut.32:18 in v 14 where God is Israel’s Maker.

As we have seen, Hosea mentions many instances in the history of God’s people in the Pentateuch and exposes their disobedience to almost all of the ten commandments. Here are more references to the law especially ceremonies: 2:11, 5:6, 6:6 (Lev.1-7),9:4-5, 12:9. Chapter 2:17 fits with Deut.12:3, 4:4 with Deut.17:12, and 5:10 with Deut.19:14.

Hosea is replete with references to breaking God’s law by sin, transgression and treachery. We have the covenant blessings of agricultural prosperity and the multiplication of the people contrasted with the much more prevalent covenant curses of drought, military defeat, captivity and the slaughter of their children. Truly a remarkable book from a remarkable prophet whose renewed mind was full of the knowledge of the Scriptures he had, mainly the law of Moses.

God’s Law in Hosea

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Sung  Psalm 119:1-8

Read  Hosea 8

The last three topics are Covenant, Knowledge of God and now the Law of God.

These are intimately connected: As God’s people, who by grace are given the knowledge of God which is synonymous with being taken into his covenant, as loving children we seek to obey his law.

8:1-2 link covenant and law

4:6 links knowledge and law

We reviewed all Hosea’s references to the Pentateuch including the historical Adam, cities of the plain (Admah and Zeboim), Jacob, Moses, Egypt and the Exodus, and the wilderness, showing that he knew that vital part of Scripture written 800 years previously.

His book is replete with examples of the breaking of God’s law especially adultery (whoredom)

1st Commandment    13:4

2nd Commandment  8:4-6

3rd Commandment  4:2, 10:4

4th Commandment  2:11

5th Commandment  5:2 (origin of Israel was revolt against the house of David (Rehoboam) and included the murder of many kings (7:7).

6th Commandment  7:1

7th Commandment  (various)

8th Commandment  2:11

9th Commandment  2:11, 7:1.

All summarized in 8:12.

We as God’s people should be eternally grateful he has not only written his law on our hearts but also inscribed them in the Scriptures which are our rule of life in thankfulness for our salvation and the immutable standard of his holiness we are to share with the godless world.

Knowledge of God in Hosea III

Sung  Psalm 23

Read Hosea 13


Hosea saw over his many years of ministry the lack of knowledge of God in Israel. His family life reflected this need and the sin of the land because his wife Gomer neither knew nor loved her husband but went whoring from him (1:2). His children similarly reflecting their names, neither knew nor respected him.

The calling of God’s people is-KNOW ME!

The calling of marriage is to know your spouse (I Peter 3:7). The couple are to dwell together, know each other’s weaknesses and be intimate.

God knew the people of Israel (13:5)-he saved them as a nation, provided for them in the wilderness, guided, preserved and defended them and gave them his laws but they forgot him.

The result is coming judgment like a savage predator.

What was vital (5:15) was an acknowledging of sin (repentance).

Chapter 14 is encouraging.

Knowledge of God in Hosea II

Apostasy is forgetting God.


Sung Psalm 100

Read Hosea 7

The verb “forgotten” repeated several times in Hosea represents the opposite of the knowledge of God. Spiritual forgetfulness can be true of Christians, hypocrites and covenant children.

This forgetting manifested itself in: denying providence (2:8) and they praised Baal, an inability to repent (5:4), becoming delinquent (6:6-7), thinking God would forget them (7:2), hypocrisy and casting off God completely (8:2-3), forgetting God and his handiwork of us/them in salvation (cross refs. Eph.2:10, Isaiah 19:24-25, Psalm 145:9-10). They also forgot he healed them (11:3-protecting them from the plague of boils and granting them good health). Spiritual amnesia meant they were open to all kinds of error. As a result they lost their sense (7:11), looked to the world in foolish alliances and even lost their sense of self/true identity (7:9)

All this God had warned them about in Deut.8:11-20 (also Prov.30:8).

Why was Hosea the appropriate prophet of the knowledge and forgetfulness of God? Simply because in his own marriage to Gomer, she was unfaithful, forgot him and cast him off!

This is a serious lesson especially for believers in churches that are departing from loving and obeying the truth of God.

Covenant Knowledge of God in Hosea I


Sung Psalm 48 (v3 God is known)

Read Hosea 4 (the chapter that majors on knowledge of God)

Calvin’s Institutes start, ”Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid Wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.”

Hosea emphasizes this theme:

6:6-7 the covenant IS knowledge of God.

8:1-2 hypocritical self-deception was NOT true knowledge of God.

Knowledge and to know have many different meanings e.g. perceive, experience, understand, intimately love, have a conscience.

Knowledge in Gen.4:1 and Hosea 3:18ff means covenant and hence intimate love.

There is a huge difference between intellectual knowledge and true faith in what has been revealed (Isaiah 6:9-19, John 17:3).

Knowledge of God issues in praise (Psalm 48–”our covenant God” (v14)

The people in Hosea’s day (and throughout history) did not want to know, the priests did not teach them (they were not ordained by him). Sin(s) prohibit the knowledge of God (Hosea 4:11) and the people looked in the wrong place (Hosea 4:12).

Ultimately it is God’s prerogative to teach us about himself (John 6:45, Eph. 4:21). Pray he will more and more and also more liberal and ignorant pastor-teachers around the world

Hosea and God’s Covenant

Hosea and God’s Covenant


Sung Psalm 103:2-8 (mercy)

Read Hosea 1

Israel made sinful covenants (Hosea 12:1) with neighbouring pagan states like Assyria and Egypt which were geopolitical treaties nothing like God’s covenant (I Kings 17).

They also made a deceitful covenant (Hosea 10:4) perhaps with idols or between them, God and the king, or again with other nations.

Use of covenant words in Hosea:

  1. Negation of the covenant and covenant blessing (innumerable seed): 1:9-10 where the Jews are rejected BUT the gentiles would come in to NT church (Gen.17:2, 32:12, John 11:52).
  2. No mercy shown (1:6-7) quoted in Romans 9:23-26 in context of election and reprobation. You cannot divorce covenant from election.
  3. Covenant pronouns (not comprehensive): (1:7, 4:12, 7:10) “their God” historically (they were in the sphere of the covenant), “thy God” (9:1,12:6,13:4,14:1), “his Lord” (12:14), “her God” (13:16), “my God –i.e. Hosea’s (9:8), “my people” (4:12, 6:11), “husband” (3:16). The covenant name of God throughout Scripture is JEHOVAH and he saves by the Lord JEHOVAH SALVATION namely Jesus Christ.

Hosea and God’s covenant (2)

Sung  Psalm 45:9-15 (the marriage Psalm)

Reading  Hosea 8


The covenant (one covenant in all of time with different manifestations) is God’s covenant. He unilaterally establishes it and it is unconditional. Man has no part to play in setting it up and since there is a “decree of the covenant” (Hoeksema) it is not correct to even say that Christ HAD to fulfil certain conditions to ratify it because it was all in God’s eternal and omnipotent decree.

Verse 1 outlines a covenant curse. These along with the blessings were all given by Moses in Deuteronomy 28 but verse 49 explicitly is in view here. God’s people by breaking the covenant would have nations from afar sent against them to wage war, kill, plunder them and take many captive.

The covenant “formula” is again stated in various ways but fundamentally ” I will be your God and you shall be my people.” The people had set up kings and idols, both of which had led them astray.

In 6:7 referring to Adam, in the past, we see he was a traitor.

In 8:1 referring to Moses and the present/recent past, we see the people as treacherous.

In 2:18 referring to the Noahic covenant and the future (see Gen.6:20), we see creation redeemed.

In chapter two, unique in Scripture, the covenant is couched in terms of a betrothal (2:19-20) again monergistic (made unilaterally). See also II Cor.11:2 and Rev.19:7. As God’s people, we are married for ever to an all powerful, faithful, divine husband–even the Lord Jesus Christ.

Hosea and God’s covenant

The Covenant in Hosea


Sung Psalm 89:1-6  Mercy shown in the covenant.

Read Hosea 6

The theme of God’s covenant includes and unites all the themes that have gone before. For example, all history is covenant history. The minor prophet with most references to the covenant is Malachi, the last of the OT prophets who has six, all contained in Mal.2:4-3:1. Hosea is next with five.

All the old covenants failed because the people broke them, from Adam (6:7 man is Adam, Adama is dust) till the nation went into captivity. Israel like Adam (man) broke the covenant by seeking to determine for themselves the nature of good and evil. The New Covenant always succeeds. It is noteworthy that keeping covenant prolongs a denomination’s history. Churches that have held to the three forms of unity still stand in the truth while even those who subscribe even to the Westminster Confession have by and large, apostatised. The danger with Israel was always marrying pagans. These departing churches are not strict regarding the truth of marriage and allow divorce and remarriage (breaking the marriage covenant) and the leaders and their synods typically follow that abandonment of truth in their theology.

“Covenant” in Hosea occurs in 2:18, 6:7, 8:1, 10:4, and 12:1. The prophets in 6:5 were “covenantal prosecutors” who slew the wicked by their words e.g. Ahab. Treachery, the word used of the covenant-breakers clearly implies that is consists a bond of friendship, service and love (like marriage). We must be eternally grateful for God’s covenant friendship in his Covenant Christ.

End of the Kingship in Hosea and Ultimate Salvation through the True King.


Sung Psalm 45:1-6 about the true King of Israel

Read Hosea 10

Review of Hosea 7:1-2      People guilty of stealing

3-7      Adultery and regicide among the princes

8-12    Unfaithful diplomacy

13-16     God’s punishment

And all their actions permeated by lies.

The Northern Kingdom’s doom is couched in different terms:

9:15   eviction from the land

8:4    being cut off

7:16  the slaying of many

1:4    the end of the kingdom/military defeat

8:10  pointlessness of paying tribute

Chapter 10   The people’s sin and their punishment is couched in agricultural terms.

The history of all this is read about in II Kings 17 especially vv7-23 where we have recorded the details of why God destroyed the Northern Kingdom who in modern parlance were the apostate church. vv24-41 gives us the origin of the Samaritans.

The book however is full of hope in the ultimate salvation of the true Israel among the Gentiles in the last days 1:10-11, 3:5 and 13:9-14 when David (Christ) their true King comes to reign over them in righteousness by his word and Spirit and as the Resurrection and the Life causes them to live with him forever in his eternal kingdom.

Hosea (Kingship cont.) The Sins of the Kings

Sung  Psalm 1

Read  Hosea 7


Samuel confronts Saul at Gilgal.

The Kings of Israel (Northern Kingdom) were guilty of changing God’s laws, injustice and compromised or idolatrous worship (5:10), as is happening especially in every “civilised” society today in the West. the people were guilty of pretended repentance (as on Mt. Carmel). The kings made ungodly alliances (8:9-10 cf. II Kings 15:9) and so committed political harlotry with the nations (Jer.2:24) instead of relying upon God. The kings were “revolters” against God e.g. Saul (I Samuel 15:23) at Gilgal. Then we have the baking imagery of Hosea 7:4-8 in which there is an oven, baker, mixing, kneeding, leavening etc. to make a cake but the leaders are all adulterers with procurers (v3), their lusts are heated, but the cake (king I think) is burnt–this is regicide after getting him drunk. The flames of political coups destroyed several kings. The half-baked cake is useless and signifies mixing with pagans.