Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Book of Hosea: Part Three

I finished the book of Hosea a good while ago, but haven't gotten around to writing my final blog on it until now. I'm now reading the book of Isaiah, which I will most likely be writing on as well, it's so magnificent! I've really enjoyed reading Hosea, it has some incredibly touching verses in it. There are some incredibly hard scriptures in there too; for instance:

Ephraim's glory shall fly away like a bird--- no birth, no pregnancy, no conception; if they bring up children, I will bereave till none is left. Woe to them when I depart from them. 


Give them, O Lord----- what will you give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. 

Those verses show in the clearest possible way why we fear God. Without his mercy and grace we are utterly and completely helpless. It's only through his mercy,  love, and guidance that we can be anything but wretched. This next verse was really moving to me. God's wrath has cooled and all that remains is grief, you can almost hear the tears in his voice. 

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more they were called, the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them. 

The most touching part in that verse is when he begins to talk about teaching his son how to walk. I got choked up when I read that. It's so amazing how God uses human examples to put across his feelings to us. It just heightens our knowledge of the fact that every good thing on this earth is just a shadow of what is in Heaven. 
Through studying a bit deeper I finally figured out why Samaria and Assyria are mentioned so many times in the latter half of the book. Samaria took over Israel in the time of Ahaz; and the Israelites lived among them. Later on Assyria came down and fought with Samaria. Assyria won and they made Samaria pay them tribute. Through a sequence of events the King of Assyria grew to distrust the King of Samaria, and so he took over Samaria completely and the Israelites were scattered among the Samarians and Assyrians. I wonder if the Samarians of that time have any connection with the Samaritans of Jesus' time? or if they are two completely different peoples.

I only have three more verses that I want to write down here. The first is kind of a touching and interesting one:

Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? Shall I redeem them from death? O Death, where are your plagues? O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion is hidden from my eyes. 

These final two verses are from the last chapter of Hosea. In the first one the Israelites are speaking. 

Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride on horses; and we will say no more, "Our God," to the works of our hands. In you the orphan finds mercy. 

I think that this last verse could be a prophecy about Israel at the end of time. It's really beautiful.

I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily; he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon; his shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive, and his fragrance like Lebanon. They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow; they shall flourish like the grain, they shall blossom like the vine; their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon. O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols? It is I who answer and look after you. I am like an evergreen cypress; from me comes your fruit.

Gretchen Emily Wolaver 

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