Hosea: God’s Plan for His Prophet and His People

Read the transcript below, or watch a video of the teaching by Joseph Shulam.

Shalom, my name is Joseph Shulam and we are studying the prophets. We had two short introductions.

I’m going to start the study of the prophets with the 10 minor prophets that we have in the Bible. The reason is they’re shorter books, and they’re very interesting and in my opinion, they have a lot of important words for their generation. It is because I think that our generation, now, in the 21st century, has some of the same spiritual challenges that the prophets in the eighth century BC had in Israel, I chose to start with these prophets.

Hosea is the first one of the 10 minor prophets. He has 14 chapters of texts, not 66 chapters like Isaiah, or in the 50 chapters plus like Jeremiah, and, again, a lot of chapters of Ezekiel, the big prophets. But these minor prophets are not minor at all in the scope of their prophecy, and in the challenges that they faced from the people.

Hosea, interestingly, starts his book in a classical way. It starts:

“The words of the Lord that came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, the kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam, the son of Jehoash, king of Israel.”

Interesting. He’s giving us the framework, the chronology of the period in which he prophesied. He prophesied for a long time. The days Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah ruled for many years as king of Judea, and Jeroboam, the son of Jehoash, king of Israel, Jeroboam.

Now, the word Hosea has the same root as the word Yeshua, it’s just a different form of the same root. The Hebrew language is based on three-letter words. And the root of Hosea and Yeshua are essentially the same roots.

Hosea prophesied, both in Judea and in to the 10 northern tribes, because Jeroboam, the son Jehoash, was king of the 10 northern tribes. The kingdom had split after the son of Solomon.

Hosea is a prophet that prophesies in Jerusalem and also to the northern tribes. And we find out a very important point; that he didn’t ask to be a prophet. Like Amos who said, “I’m not a prophet, or a son of the prophet. I’m a farmer,” cowboy, shepherd.

Hosea also said, “The word of the Lord came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah.” It came to him. He didn’t ask for it. God revealed Himself to Hosea, and commissioned him, called him.

The classical prophets were called to prophecy. They didn’t ask to be a prophet. They didn’t necessarily enjoy being prophets. Being prophets in Israel was a very serious problem, most of them paid high prices.

Some of them, like Jeremiah, were beaten, and slapped, and put in jail, and thrown into a well. And some people, like Isaiah, he and his family were ostracized for three years.

People in Jerusalem didn’t talk to him or to his family. It was not easy. You didn’t get a private jet for being a prophet in Israel in the days of the eighth century BC for these kings. Jewish, Israelite, Hebrew kings, supposedly God-fearing kings. But situation was not simple and not easy.

Here is the first prophecy that we see in Hosea:

“When the Lord began to speak with Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, ‘Go take yourself a wife of harlotry and children of harlotry, for the land has committed great harlotry.’”

Woo-wee. Can you imagine this, my dear brothers and sisters? Here, we are reading the Bible. We’re reading of a man that God called, imposed on him to become a prophet. A man of God.

God told him, “Go get yourself a wife who’s a prostitute, and children, your children, who are children of a prostitute.” Why? Because the land that you are living on is a prostitute. The country you’re living on is a prostitute.

We live in Israel. In the last three years, we will have five elections. In two weeks from today. Today is what? Today is the 19th of October. In the 1st of November, 2022, we will have the fifth election in three years.

Yes, sir. And amorality, not only here, but in most of the world, of the governments, of the presidents, of the prime ministers, of the parliament members is visible without a microscope and without binoculars, with your naked eyes.

When Hosea walked the streets of Jerusalem, he didn’t get a pat on the back. He was cursed, ostracized, maybe spit upon. Didn’t get a Rolls Royce. Not even a Tesla. Because he said very harsh things.

“The land has committed great harlotry by departing from the Lord.”

They left the Lord. So, what did this Hosea do?

“He went and took as a wife, Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim. And she conceived and bore him a son. And the Lord said to him, ‘Call his name Jezreel, for in a little while, I will avenge the bloodshed of Jezreel on the house of Jehu. And bring an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel.’”

This is amazing. I have actually, right now, having chills, goosebumps in my body, right now from reading this text.

Why? Because as an archaeologist, I know the stele, the relief on stone that was found in Babylon. Jehu, this same Jehu that is mentioned here. Jehu the race driver. The race car driver that drove his chariot so fast that the dust plume behind him reached the sky.

That same Jehu, we have a picture of him on his knees and elbows bowing down to the king of Babylon. Handing his arrows to the king of Babylon. Handing his weapons to the king of Babylon. Becoming a slave, a servant to the pagan king of Babylon. It says the land, in his days, has become a harlot. Departed from the Lord, rebelled against God.

The Torah already proclaimed this. The Torah already proclaimed in the book of Leviticus, chapter 26, that if you don’t do God’s will, if you don’t walk in the light, and you choose to walk in the darkness, this is going to happen to you.

And we are reading now, in the eighth century BC, that’s exactly what happened. Jehu, the race car driver, got on his hands and knees kissing the shoes of the king of Babylon. And we have it in a photograph. We have it carved on stone in a temple to a pagan God in Babylon. Yup.

Harsh prophecies. And this marriage of Jehu with Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, the prostitute, becomes a parable of Israel, of the Hebrew nation that was taken out of Egypt and given a land of milk and honey. Then they chose to prostitute, and worship idols, and depart from the ways of God.

Israel is a small country, small people. But great empires, even today, that call themselves Christian nations, are in the same place, or almost in the same place.

Making kosher everything that the Bible calls abomination. Whatever the Bible calls abomination, now, it’s made kosher by supreme courts of empires, both in the East and in the West. Empires who claim to be Christians; who, their prime ministers and their presidents go to church on Sunday, and send bombs to kill innocent civilians for their own wealth and profit.

And then Hosea has a child, God tells him, calls him in the Valley of Israel, to call his daughter “Lo-ruhamah.” Lo-ruhamah means you’re not going to receive grace. You’re not going to receive mercy. That’s what Lo-ruhamah means. That’s the name that he gave to his daughter by God’s command.

I had a friend in college, in Nashville, who called his first daughter Mary-Jane. That was his wife’s choice. But then he had a son and he called him Toy-Train. And I’m not joking. My friend’s name was Ken Wyatt, a great saxophonist musician in Nashville, classmate of mine in university. So, Mary-Jane, Toy-Train, and Aeroplane. Those are the names he gave to his children.

But here, God tells the prophet Hosea, you call your children, your daughter Lo-ruhamah, you’re not going to get any grace, any favor. Such a horrible state of affairs. And the prophets didn’t lick honey! He didn’t have an easy time. They didn’t become wealthy, powerful, or popular with their own TV shows, folks.

It was a high price to pay to be a prophet of the Lord. We’re not going to have time to study the whole book of Hosea. But he had another son. In verse nine of chapter one, and this time God tells him, “Give this name to your son, Lo-Ammi, not my people.” Powerful.

You’re not my people. Why not? You’re not obeying my commands. You’re not doing right. You’re abusing the poor. You’re taking advantage of the sick and of the crippled. And you are not feeding the least of these the way Yeshua said in the judgment scene in the end of Matthew. “As much as you don’t do it to the least of these, you don’t do it to me,”.

Prophecy and the prophets, they’re not playing games, folks. It’s a serious thing to hear from the Lord, to be commissioned from the Lord to stand in the gap, to warn the people. It’s not to hand them candy and donuts with coffee. It’s to hand them the bitterness of disobedience. The bitterness of rebellion against God.

Yes, you can go to church, you can sing songs. “How Great Thou Art”. “I Was Blind and Now I See”. “Amazing Grace”. But God looks into your hearts, into our hearts, and sometimes we are surprised when the judgment falls upon us. Lo-Ammi, that’s the name of your son. You’re not my people.

But God doesn’t let the prophets only give harsh things. He always gives us a sandwich. Harsh, sweet, harsh. Two pieces of bread that maybe, you know, with hot sauce. Not Tabasco. With malagueta peppers’ sauce; much higher in its sharpness and in its spiciness than Tabasco.

After He tells him to call his name Lo-Ammi, you are not my people, in verse 10, He says, “The number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea,” which he promised already to Abraham a long, long time ago, nearly 2000 years ago.

“It shall come to pass, in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people, Lo-Ammi,’ there, it shall be said to them, ‘You are sons of the living God.’”

“It all depends on your relationship with Me. You fix that relationship; you receive the grace that I offered you. Receive the salvation I’m offering you now, and all the bad will disappear.” Because God is faithful to keep His promises.

“Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together and appoint for themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land. For great will be the day of Jezreel.”

So, to the brethren, my people and your sister, mercy, is shown. First, He said, “Your daughter, call her No Mercy.” Now He says, “Ah, if you listen, if you walk, if you accept, if you believe, all the things that I did to bring you back, to draw you back, all the fences in which I’ve imprisoned you will be released and reversed. Your daughter, who’s called No Mercy, will be shown mercy.”

Yes, God is sending the prophets, especially, the classical prophets, to fix, to correct, to clean up, to encourage us to learn from the fact that somebody is in control of history; of world history, of history of your country, of your city, and of your family. Somebody’s in control.

And the challenge that we have when we study the prophets is to put ourself into the picture. Not to read it as something that happened eighth century BC. To see where we stand in this map of spiritual reality today.

That’s why we’re studying the prophets, dear brothers and sisters. We’re studying the prophets, not as an academic exercise. We’re studying the prophets as spiritual encouragement, vitamin, medicine, to enlighten our eyes and energize our spirits to return to the Lord, sincerely, with all of our hearts and with all of our minds.

Remember when I started in the previous session, I said somebody’s in control. Control of history, control of what’s happening, control of what is going to happen, because some of these things took hundreds of years to happen. And we in Israel today are living what prophets in the eighth century BC said would happen. Like Isaiah. We are returning home.

Gentiles are coming here, supporting Aliyah to bring the Jews back home after 2000 years of exile. It’s all been told and it’s all under control of the Almighty God who controlled the sun, the moon, the rain, the wind, the sea, and all that is in our world.

We are, the human beings, are the only animals that have been given free will; choices. Moses says, choose life, don’t choose death, choose life. The prophets.

Yes, Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, the wife of Hosea that came out of harlotry and brought children of harlotry. She conceived them and has behaved shamefully. Verse five of chapter two. “But I will go after my lovers who gave me bread and my water.”

That’s what Gomer says to her husband. “Oil and my drink. Therefore, behold, I will head you up.” He’s not divorcing her even though she’s a harlot. Even though she’s unfaithful, no he’s not. He fenced her in.

Because she can’t find her path. She’s lost, she will be chased.

“She will chase her lovers, but not overtake them, not catch them. Yet she will seek them, but not find them. She will say, ‘I will go and return to my first husband. I will return home to my faithful husband.’ For she did not know that I gave her the grain.”

Not the Baal, not the idols, not the bar rooms, not the brothels.

“…I gave her the grain. I gave her the new wine. I gave her the oil. I multiplied her silver and her gold, which they prepared for Baal, for the idols. Therefore, I will return and take away my grain, and my wine in its season, and will take back my wool, and my linen given to cover her nakedness, and I will uncover her.”

The whole world will see her. Her lovers will see her in her nakedness, in her ugliness.

But God’s love is above it all. And Gomer will finally come home, will realize there is nobody like my husband, God creator of the universe; father of all mankind that promised it to Abraham, Issac and Jacob, and his keeping his promises.

We didn’t progress with Hosea too much. And I’m not going to stop with Hosea. The next lesson will continue with Hosea, because there are some very, very important lessons and principles that we need to learn from this eighth century prophet, eighth century BC prophet, Hosea. And we’re going to plow through it to the end, because the end is very dramatic, very wonderful, and we all need it.

May God bless our brothers, bless Brad TV, and our brothers in Korea, and around the world. And let us learn how to walk faithfully with our God, and with our Savior, with Yeshua who died for us, so that we can have mercy, and grace, and be saved. God bless all of you. Amen.

This video and transcript originally appeared on Netivyah and is reposted with permission.