Hosea prayer

A. A call to return to the LORD.

1. (1-2) Israel should trust in the God who chastened her.

Come, and let us return to the LORD;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.

a. He has torn, but He will heal us: Hosea prays with the right heart in response to the chastening hand of God. Instead of arguing with God, or resenting His correction, Hosea leads Israel in humble prayer.

i. This is a prayer that trusts the love of God, and sees His loving hand even in correction. Often, a rebellious child will complain that their parents do not love them. Of course, the parents do love the child, but in their rebellion and lack of submission, they can’t receive or respond to that love. Hosea prays with a different heart.

b. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up: Hosea prayed this full of confidence in God’s love and power to restore. In the prayer, there is a shadowy prophecy of Jesus’ resurrection on the third day. The context supports this wonderfully; on the cross Jesus was torn and stricken for our sake, yet He was also gloriously raised up on the third day.

2. (3) Walking in confidence.

Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth.

a. Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD: Israel’s problem was described back in Hosea 4:6 (My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge). Hosea leads the nation in a repentant correction of this problem.

i. We should also know that when we pursue the knowledge of the Lord, He blesses it. It must be more than superficial, it must be a pursuit. But when we endeavor to know the Lord, especially through His word, He reveals Himself to us. He who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)

b. He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain: In Israel, the only way crops were watered was by rain. So farmer waited for the rain with great anticipation. When we anticipate and wait for God with this kind of earnest expectation, He answers and will come to us.

i. Clarke on the latter and former rain to the earth: “The first, to prepare the earth for seed; this fell in autumn: the second, to prepare the full ear for the harvest; this fell in spring.”

ii. “Notice, again, it is a repeated gift. He shall give the former rain and the latter rain. If you have had grace once the Lord has more for you. Did you have happy times when old Dr. So-and-so was your pastor? Well, the doctor is dead, but God is not. Were you very much delighted when you used to sit in such-and-such a church, in years gone by, and have you moved into the country now? Yes, but God has not moved. He is in the country as well as in the town. You tell me you had such happy times when you were young. Yes, but God is neither younger nor older. Go to him, for he is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. Do you suppose that, because he gave you the former rain, he has emptied the bottles of heaven?” (Spurgeon)

c. He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth: This passage along with others (Deuteronomy 11:14, Joel 2:23) were taken to give the name of the “Latter Rain Movement” starting in 1948.

i. In 1948, a Oneness Pentecostal minister named William Branham held meetings at an orphanage and school founded by a Foursquare Church in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. Those attending the meeting were so impressed by the supernatural works – healing, prophecy, word of knowledge, and strange phenomenon – that they considered it a beginning of a new work of God on earth. In their newsletter, this is how they described it:

“All the great outpourings of the past have had their outstanding truths. Luther’s truth was Justification by Faith. Wesley’s was Sanctification. The Baptists taught the premillennial coming of Christ. The Missionary Alliance taught Divine Healing. The Pentecostal outpouring has restored the Baptism of the Holy Ghost to its rightful place. But the next great outpouring is going to be marked by all these other truths plus such a demonstration of the nine gifts of the Spirit as the world, not even the Apostolic world, has ever witnessed before. This revival will be short and will be the last before the Rapture of the Church.”

ii. They felt that the Pentecostal denominations of their day were “dead” and “dry,” and needed the blessing of the “Latter Rain,” which would especially be marked by miraculous signs and supernatural works. The Pentecostal denominations – notably the Assemblies of God and the Foursquare Church denounced the Branham and the Latter Rain movement for both their teaching and practices.

iii. William Branham continued, drawing large crowds to his prophecy and healing crusades. He and a young evangelist named Oral Roberts led the Latter Rain Movement for several years. Branham’s doctrine became more and more aberrant. Branham believed that the word of God was given in three forms: the Zodiac, the Egyptian pyramids, and the written scriptures. He also taught the “serpent seed” doctrine, which was based on his interpretation of Genesis 3:13, saying that Eve had sexual relations with the serpent in the Garden of Eden.

iv. The Latter Rain Movement, as led by William Branham and Oral Roberts eventually faded from prominence. Branham himself died in a traffic collision with a drunk driver in 1965. He died on Christmas Eve, and his faithful followers believed that he would rise from the dead, so they delayed his burial for several days. But the influence of the Latter Rain movement lived on. The Latter Rain popularized many attitudes and doctrines popular in revival movements today:

· The “five-fold ministry” and “restoration of apostle and prophets.”

· The “foundational truths” of Hebrews 6:1-2.

· An emphasis on signs and wonders as marks of true revival.

· A strong emphasis on unity.

· Replacement theology, replacing Israel with the church.

· Dominion theology, saying the church will conquer and rule the world.

· An elitist attitude, promoting the idea of a group of “super-christians.”

v. Many researchers – and many within these modern groups today – believe that many modern “revival” movements are really just a continuation of the Latter Rain movement. Movements such as “Joel’s Army,” the Manifest Sons of God, the Dominion Movement, the Kansas City Prophets, the Toronto Blessing, the Pensacola Revival are connected in some way to the Latter Rain movement. For example, Paul Cain – later to re-emerge as head of the Kansas City Prophets in 1989 – traveled with William Branham and called him “the greatest prophet that ever lived.”

vi. The modern Latter Rain movement believes: “The Latter Rain is God’s great end-time ministry. This concept as revealed in the Bible, comprises the restitution of the church to it’s rightful place, the enormous last day revival and the harvest of souls before the great and terrible Day of the Lord. It is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh promised to us in the last days and the restoration of apostolic and prophetic gifts.” (From latter-rain.com)

B. The sin of Israel and Judah.

1. (4-6) How God’s people missed God’s heart.

“O Ephraim, what shall I do to you?
O Judah, what shall I do to you?
For your faithfulness is like a morning cloud,
And like the early dew it goes away.
Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets,
I have slain them by the words of My mouth;
And your judgments are like light that goes forth.
For I desire mercy and not sacrifice,
And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”

a. Your faithfulness is like a morning cloud: It wasn’t that there was nofaithfulness among the people of God. It’s just that whatever faithfulness there was quickly dissipated like the early dew.

b. For I desire mercy and not sacrifice: At this time, God’s people were still good at bringing sacrifice (Hosea 5:6). But they had forsaken mercy, and they abandoned mercy because they gave up the knowledge of God and truth (Hosea 4:1). God would rather have right hearts, full of truth and mercy than sacrifice.

i. Jesus twice quoted this passage of Hosea to the religious leaders of His day (Matthew 9:13 and 12:7). They also missed the heart of God, focusing on the wrong and superficial things.

c. And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings: Israel brought animals for sacrifice, but they never brought themselves as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). They missed what God really wants: a deep, close relationship with Him.

2. (7-11) The transgression of idolatry.

“But like men they transgressed the covenant;
There they dealt treacherously with Me.
Gilead is a city of evildoers,
And defiled with blood.
As bands of robbers lie in wait for a man,
So the company of priests murder on the way to Shechem;
Surely they commit lewdness.
I have seen a horrible thing in the house of Israel:
There is the harlotry of Ephraim;
Israel is defiled.
Also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed for you,
When I return the captives of My people.”

a. As bands of robbers lie in wait for a man, so the company of priests murder: When the priests went to places of pagan sacrifice, it was a thieving, killing sin.

b. Judah, a harvest is appointed for you, when I return the captives: When the people of God came back into the land after the Babylonian exile, they mainly settled in the area of Judah. The harvest of returned exiles was mainly for Judah, not for Israel.

©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission

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A. Israel exiled in judgment.

1. (1-4) The end of the good life in Israel.

Do not rejoice, O Israel, with joy like other peoples,
For you have played the harlot against your God.
You have made love for hire on every threshing floor.
The threshing floor and the winepress
Shall not feed them,
And the new wine shall fail in her.
They shall not dwell in the LORD’s land,
But Ephraim shall return to Egypt,
And shall eat unclean things in Assyria.
They shall not offer wine offerings to the LORD,
Nor shall their sacrifices be pleasing to Him.
It shall be like bread of mourners to them;
All who eat it shall be defiled.
For their bread shall be for their own life;
It shall not come into the house of the LORD.

a. Do not rejoice, O Israel, with joy like other peoples: At the time Hosea brought this prophecy, things perhaps were not so bad in Israel. Maybe there were plenty of fun and good times among the people. But they shouldn’t rejoice like other peoples, because judgment was on the way.

i. “It was probably the case, though we do not know this for sure, that Hosea delivered the opening part of this oracle as a sermon on the occasion of a harvest festival… characterized by feasting, mirth, and dancing.” (Boice)

b. You have made love for hire on every threshing floor: Israel practiced idolatry on the threshing floor, a place where grain was processed. They worshipped idols here because they believed that it helped the harvest. Because of their idolatry, the LORD would curse their harvest, and the threshing floor and the winepress shall not feed them.

c. They shall not dwell in the Lord’s land: Not only would God curse their grain and grape harvest, but He would also cast them out of the land in exile to both Egypt and Assyria. In the lands of exile there would be no bread or food for sacrifice to the LORD, only for survival (their bread shall be for their own life).

2. (5-9) The days of Israel’s punishment in Egypt.

What will you do in the appointed day,
And in the day of the feast of the LORD?
For indeed they are gone because of destruction.
Egypt shall gather them up;
Memphis shall bury them.
Nettles shall possess their valuables of silver;
Thorns shall be in their tents.
The days of punishment have come;
The days of recompense have come.
Israel knows!
The prophet is a fool,
The spiritual man is insane,
Because of the greatness of your iniquity and great enmity.
The watchman of Ephraim is with my God;
But the prophet is a fowler’s snare in all his ways;
Enmity in the house of his God.
They are deeply corrupted,
As in the days of Gibeah.
He will remember their iniquity;
He will punish their sins.

a. They are gone because of destruction: Israel did not honor the LORD in their appointed feast days, so they LORD will take them away. In their lands of exile, they will not be able to honor the feasts of the LORD.

b. The prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is insane: This is what the people of Israel said about Hosea. When things prospered and everyone was happy, Hosea announced coming judgment and called for repentance. They thought he was a fool and crazy.

i. “They said in effect, ‘Who in his right mind would prophesy a judgment like this when we are in the midst of such a bountiful harvest, in itself a proof of God’s blessing?’” (Boice)

c. As in the days of Gibeah: Judges 19 describes horrific crimes of perversion and violence in Israel in the days of the Judges. Hosea says that in his day it is just as bad in Israel.

B. Israel barren and dried up in judgment.

1. (10-14) God sends barrenness and bereavement.

“I found Israel
Like grapes in the wilderness;
I saw your fathers
As the firstfruits on the fig tree in its first season.
But they went to Baal Peor,
And separated themselves to that shame;
They became an abomination like the thing they loved.
As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird–
No birth, no pregnancy, and no conception!
Though they bring up their children,
Yet I will bereave them to the last man.
Yes, woe to them when I depart from them!
Just as I saw Ephraim like Tyre, planted in a pleasant place,
So Ephraim will bring out his children to the murderer.”
Give them, O LORD–
What will You give?
Give them a miscarrying womb
And dry breasts!

a. Like grapes in the wilderness… as the firstfruits on the fig tree: God fondly remembered the days when Israel was faithful and fruitful unto Him. Grapes in the wilderness and the firstfruits on the fig tree are unexpected blessings. There was a time when Israel was something special to God, as if one found luscious grapes in the wilderness.

i. “While they were faithful, they were as acceptable to me as ripe grapes would be to a thirsty traveler in the desert.” (Clarke)

b. But they went to Baal Peor: Israel’s sin and idolatry in the days of Hosea was like their sin at Baal Peor in Numbers 25, associated with sexual immorality and idolatry.

c. They became an abomination like the thing they loved: Israel loved their disgraceful idols, and they had become like them. We will become like the god we love and serve, whether it is the LORD or like an abomination.

d. No birth, no pregnancy, and no conception: In contrast to their past fruitfulness, now Israel will experience barrenness and bereavement (I will be bereave them to the last man), given to them by the God they rejected.

e. Give them, O LORD – What will You give? The idea is that Hosea began an angry prayer against the people (“Give them, O LORD”), then he stopped because he checked his heart and didn’t know what to pray (“What will you give?”). In the end, he asked for a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. Really, Hosea prayed for mercy. Knowing the coming judgment, he prayed “LORD, give them few children so those children will not have to face the horrors of Your coming judgment.”

i. Sometimes those who see themselves – perhaps accurately – as more spiritual and closer to God than others in a church or group get angry and frustrated with those who don’t seem to have hearts burning for the LORD. Their frustration is understandable but the pause in Hosea’s prayer should give them pause. It is a good thing to long for revival and spiritual passion among God’s people, but if that makes us proud, angry, or bitter against others then Satan has won a great victory.

2. (15-17) God sends dryness and wandering upon Israel.

“All their wickedness is in Gilgal,
For there I hated them.
Because of the evil of their deeds
I will drive them from My house;
I will love them no more.
All their princes are rebellious.
Ephraim is stricken,
Their root is dried up;
They shall bear no fruit.
Yes, were they to bear children,
I would kill the darlings of their womb.”
My God will cast them away,
Because they did not obey Him;
And they shall be wanderers among the nations.

a. All their wickedness is in Gilgal, for there I hated them: As mentioned before in Hosea 4:15, God despised the city of Gilgal as a center of idolatry in Israel. At one time, Gilgal was a place where prophets were trained under Elijah and Elisha (2 Kings 2:1; 4:38). But in Hosea’s day it had become a center of false worship (Hosea 4:15, 12:11; Amos 4:4, 5:5).

b. I will drive them from My house: In this sense, exile was the perfect punishment for Israel. They had disgraced God’s house, His land, so He would “evict” them from His house.

c. They shall bear no fruit… I would kill the beloved fruit of their womb: One of the major reasons Israel went after idols like Baal and Ashtoreth was because those gods were thought to bring fertility and fruitfulness. God reminds Israel that He is really the LORD over the womb, and that He will turn their fruitfulness into barrenness.

d. My God will cast them away, because they did not obey Him: This is exactly what the LORD promised under the terms of the Old Covenant (Deuteronomy 30:24-28). Thankfully, we can come to God by faith in a new and better covenant, where He promises to remember our sins no more (Hebrews 8:12, 10:16-17).

©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission

enduringword.com

Coming up next, we will spend 11 days praying through the book of Hosea.  This book was written by the prophet, Hosea, to the nation of Israel. God commanded Hosea to marry Gomer, a prostitute who was continually unfaithful to him in their marriage. God used their story to symbolize the same unfaithfulness that Israel displayed toward God when they chose to reject Him and follow other gods.  God also used their story to reveal the depths of His steadfast, unending love and great forgiveness toward Israel (and to us as well) despite continuous rebellion and unfaithfulness.

How many times have we also been disobedient to the Lord and turned away from Him only to have Him remain faithful in His love toward us? Our prayer time in Hosea will be such a rich journey.

-Is there anyone in your life you are praying will return to God? 

-Do you struggle in remaining faithful to the Lord? -Are you in need of a time of repentance and seeking the Lord?  

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then join us in praying. Hosea will remind us how much God loves us, how passionately He pursues us, and how He is faithful, even when we are not.  Join us on a journey through Hosea, and invite someone to pray with you!

For more ideas of how to use our daily prayers, to Pray by Book, or  subscribe by email, check out www.prayscripture.org.

Tags: hosea, introduction, pray, pray scripture

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