The Prophet's Call
Dr. Joe Temple

Review

Open your Bibles, please, to the first chapter of Hosea. You will recall that this is our third lesson in the book of Hosea. We have thought with you about the prophet, we have thought with you about the period in which the prophet prophesied, and now we want to think with you about the prophecy itself.

Before we do that, I think it would be wise for us to refresh our minds as to the period in which the prophet lived. We are not thinking so much now about the importance of the calender years; we are thinking about the spirit of the period in which he lived because the spirit of the period in which he lived not only colored what he said, but it gave rise to what he said.

As you notice the period in which he lived, if you are thinking, you will realize a very interesting similarity between the period in which Hosea lived and the period in which we live today. I trust that you will keep that in mind, for it will be of very little value to us to learn what the prophet Hosea had to say unless we learn to apply it to our own lives and our own time.

We would remind you that Hosea lived in a period which went from prosperity to poverty. He lived in a period which was marked by moral declension. He lived in a period which was marked by unrecognized weakness; that is, his nation was weak and nobody seemed to realize it. He lived in a period of time when the primacy of personal advantage was emphasized. Personal interests were magnified above national interests. He lived in a period in which there was a famine of spiritual leadership.

An Analysis of the Book

With the indication of the kind of period in which Hosea lived before our minds, I would like for us to look at an analysis of the book of Hosea itself. As I said, we won't look at all of this in this lesson; we will only begin. But we would like for you to get it fixed in your minds so that as you read in the prophecy, you will be able to notice the portion in its right place.

The entire book falls into four definite divisions. First, there is the prophet's call in chapters 1-3. Then there is the prophet's complaint against the people in chapters 4-8. Then in chapters 9-11, there is the prophet's condemnation of the people and the basis of that complaint. In chapters 12-14, there is the prophet's consolation.

If we were to conclude our discussion of the book of Hosea on such a sad, sour note as the prophet's condemnation, we would have to leave in despair. God never closes any of His prophecies with condemnation. They are always with closed with joy; they are always closed with consolation.

Notice Hosea, chapter 1, beginning with verse 1:

Hosea 1

1The word of the LORD that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.
2The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.
3So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.
4And the LORD said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.
5And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel, in the valley of Jezreel.
6And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.
7But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.
8Now when she had weaned Loruhamah [which would take about 3 years in that part of the country] , she conceived, and bare a son.
9Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.
10Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.
11Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.

Hosea 2

1Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah.

We included the first verse of chapter 2 in our reading because technically the first verse of chapter 2 is the last verse of chapter 1 and should be so included in our meditation and study if we are to be able to grasp the truth of the message we have for you in this lesson.

We suggested to you that the first division of the book of Hosea might be related to the prophet's call. It was a rather strange call. Some individuals, when they are called, are called to preach and some individuals are called pastors, some individuals are called to sing. We could go on, but Hosea was called to dramatize in his domestic life the message that God had for the people to whom he ministered.

Since the call of Hosea covers three chapters, and since we will not be looking at all three in this lesson, I would like for us to understand what we are going to find in those three chapters when we think about them in their entirety. So I suggest to you that there is going to be in chapter l through chapter 2, verse 1, an account of Hosea's domestic life. Then, in chapter 2, verses 2-23, there is going to be an appeal to his people on the basis of what they were able to see in relation to his own domestic difficulty. Then in chapter 3, verses 1-5—one of the shortest chapters in the entire Bible—the call of Hosea is going to include what I have termed an act of love .

I would like to suggest to you—you will agree when you see it in detail—that it is the most magnificent act of love that is recorded in the Bible or out of the Bible. I marvel that Hosea had enough love to do it, and I marvel that any man since would be so moved by love as to do what he did as recorded there in chapter 3 of the book of Hosea.

Hosea's Domestic Life Pictures Israel's Adultery

As we consider what occurred in Hosea's domestic life, I would like to suggest that we learn what we need to know for our spiritual lives from it. So we call your attention to the activity of his domestic life by reminding you first that he was to present the general picture of Israel's adultery. One of the strangest commands that God ever gave to anybody is found in verse 2 of chapter 1:

Hosea 1

2The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.

We don't know exactly when He said this except that when He called Hosea into this public ministry, He said, “The first thing I want you to do is go and take thee a wife of whoredom and rear in your home children of whoredom. The reason for this is that the land hath committed great harlotry, departing from the Lord.”

If you have read very much relative to the book of Hosea, you know that there is a great deal of discussion as to exactly when Gomer became a harlot. Was she a harlot when God commanded Hosea to marry her? Did she become a harlot after Hosea married her? As I say, much has been written, much has been said, and I do not know that any definite, conclusive arguments have been presented for any one certain viewpoint of the subject.

Personally, for reasons which I think will become evident as we go along, I am inclined to think that Gomer was not a harlot when Hosea married her. She became one after he married her. Of course, that would present no problem for God to say, “Go marry a wife of whoredom.”, because oftentimes you hear a woman say, “I married a drunkard.”, and you ask her, “Was he a drunkard when you married him?” “No, he never touched it, but he is a drunkard now.” You see, actually, she didn't marry a drunkard; she married a man who became a drunkard. But the way we speak, it seems that she married a drunkard. I am inclined to think that Hosea married a woman who became a harlot.

One of the reasons that I like to think that is that it presents a perfect picture, as God intended it should be presented, concerning the nation of Israel because, though the nation of Israel was undesirable when God chose her when she was an unwashed baby on a heap of dirt, she was not a harlot. She became one.

Of course, you understand when we are using the terms adultery and harlot that we are not thinking of physical acts of sexual union. We are thinking about departure from the faith, for whenever Israel went away and served other gods, God always spoke of Israel as being an adulteress.

God pleaded with the nation of Israel over and over again and she seemed to pay no attention at all to what He had to say. It would seem at this particular time that God said to Himself, “If I can find a man who will do exactly as I would do in a given circumstance, perhaps what they are not able to understand with their ears, they will be able to understand with their eyes.” So He said, “Go marry a harlot.”, and Hosea did. He married a girl by the name of Gomar, which is not a very pretty name. Names in that day were given because of things related to individuals. The word Gomar means “failure.” This is another reason I do not think she was a harlot when he married her. I think she became one because she was weak, because the weakness of the flesh was greater than she could combat. She failed, just as you and I have failed. Keep in mind that as God refers to adultery in relation to Israel when she departs from Him, God refers to adultery in relation to the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ when we depart from Him, for He said through the Apostle James, “What! know you not that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Ye adulterers and adulteresses. If you bow down to worship anything save God, you are in spiritual adultery.”

Gomer was the daughter of Diblaim. The word Diblaim simply means “fig cakes,” and has nothing to do with the whole story other than it does tell you a bit about the kind of girl that Gomer was. She was a country girl; she was raised on a fig farm. When she came to the city, she fell into all of the evils, as we are going to see in chapter 3, that many young people fall into when they live a protected but not a grounded life.

Do you notice what I am saying? Sometimes people say, concerning young people, “You can protect them too much. You can let them live such a sheltered life that they won't know how to face the world when they actually get out into the world itself, so you best not protect them too much.”

We want to remind you today that an individual can live a protected life, a sheltered life, an overprotected and an oversheltered life and when they get out into the world, they will fail just as Gomer did. But if you or your child or your loved one lives a protected life, a sheltered life—listen carefully—grounded in the Word of God, then there is no need for them to fail when they get out into the world as we commonly think of it, for it isn't the familiarity with evil that prepares you to live in a world that is unfriendly; it is your being grounded in the Word of God.

The Apostle Paul said, concerning believers, “I would have you wise concerning simplicity in spiritual things, and I would have you simple concerning that which is evil.” Don't worry about getting an education in relation to that which is evil; worry about being grounded in the Word of God. I want to mention that because I think that was one of Gomer's problems.

God's Attitude Toward Israel Presented In Lives of Hosea's Children

Hosea, being called to a domestic life to dramatize God's relationship to Israel in a general way as far as adultery is concerned, was called to a domestic life to present a specific picture of God's attitude toward the nation of Israel which had departed from Him. That specific attitude which God wanted to dramatize before these people in the domestic life of Hosea was presented in the life of Hosea's children. Notice, Hosea, chapter l, verses 3-4:

Hosea 1

3So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.
4And the LORD said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.

Hosea married Gomer and by and by a little child was born into the home. Everybody gathered around and said to Hosea—that was the procedure in those days—“What have you decided to call him?” Much to their amazement and their misunderstanding, he said, “This is my oldest son. I am going to call him Jezreel .” “Jezreel! Why would you call this innocent little baby, this chubby little rascal, Jezreel ? Don't you know, Hosea, that Jezreel means ‘vengeance'? Don't you know that Jezreel means ‘God disowns' and ‘God scatters'? Why would you put a name like this on an innocent little baby?”

Hosea would have to say, “You may not understand, and you may think that I am fanatical for saying so, but I had a session with God and God told me to call my boy by this name because He wants this child to be a living reminder to you that He is going to take vengeance for what happened in the valley of Jezreel. God is going to avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Israel.”

This probably doesn't mean a thing to most of you, but if you were living in the day in which Hosea was living, you would understand exactly what he was talking about. There would come marching across the stage of your memory the story of how a little man by the name of Naboth had a little vineyard that was the livelihood of his family. It was near the vineyard of the mighty King Ahab, and Ahab wanted it for no reason in the world other than he wanted it. He went to Naboth and said, “I will buy your vineyard from you. I will give you any vineyard in the whole nation in exchange for it.” Naboth, being a faithful servant of God, said, “King, no matter how much I might like for you to have this vineyard, I couldn't sell it to you because God says that our land shall never go out of our family. There is no way in the world that I could share this vineyard with you.”

Ahab went home mad, lay down on the bed and turned his face toward the wall like a pouting child. Jezebel, his wife, came in and said, “What's wrong, Dear?” He said, “I want Naboth's vineyard, and he won't give it to me.” She said, “Haven't I always gotten you everything you wanted? Don't worry about it.”

So, she wrote to the elders of the little village where Naboth lived, saying, “I want you to hire two sons of the devil, and have them accuse Naboth of blaspheming God, and I want you to put Naboth up on the public square and have these fellows march around in front of him and yell that he has blasphemed God. When the people are stirred up enough, I want you to see that they stone Naboth to death.”

Because this was the queen's command, there wasn't anything that they could do but do exactly as she suggested, and Naboth was killed. The men sent the word to the queen, and she went into Ahab's room proudly and said, “See, it is simple. No trouble to get what you want. Naboth is dead, and his vineyard is yours.”

Ahab went down to walk in that vineyard one day, and he heard a rustling behind him. He turned around and saw the man of God, Elisha by name, and he knew why he was there. He said to the prophet of God, “Have you found me, O mine enemy?” Elisha said, “Yes, I have, and I want to tell you that where the dogs licked the blood of Naboth, the dogs will lick thy blood even more because you cannot run in the face of God and get away with it. I want you to tell that wicked wife of yours, who planned all of this, that in the place where the dogs licked the blood of Naboth will the dogs eat her.”

If you read the story further, you will find that when Ahab went out to battle against the Assyrians, he decided that he had better provide some protection, so he dressed himself as an ordinary soldier, not as the king of all the armies. While he was riding in his chariot across the battlefield, the Word of God says that a bowman took aim at a venture; that is, he just put the arrow in the bow and shot it so that he didn't know whether it was going to hit anything or not.

There are no chances with God. God took hold of that arrow and directed it right into the crevice where the upper and the lower part of the armor of Ahab joined, and Ahab was dying. His blood was running out of the chariot, and they took him home to preserve his life. They took the chariot down to the marketplace to wash it, and dogs licked the blood of Ahab in the very place where Naboth shed his blood. God never makes a mistake.

There was a time when God said, “I am through with the family of Ahab.” His son, Jehoram, was reigning and making a miserable mess of the whole thing, and so he sent Elijah to anoint Jehu. Jehu was in a room with a number of men, talking about the sad condition of the country, and a servant of the prophet asked, “Can you come into this other room with me for just a moment?” He went into the other room, and the servant of the prophet took a box of oil and poured it over his head and said, “You are the king of Israel.” He said, “Who said so?” “God said so.” He said, “All right, that's all I want to know.”, and he got in his chariot and he drove like mad to the capital.

The watchmen on the wall saw someone coming and they said, “Here is someone coming with great haste.” The king said, “Send somebody out to see who he is.” They sent one of the men out and he never came back. The king asked, “What happened to that fellow?” The watchmen said, “He joined forces with the man that is coming.” So the king sent another man, and the same thing happened. The king asked, “Can you tell anything about him?” He was told, “Well, he is driving fast, and it looks like the driving of Jehu.”

Jehu came into the city, he deposed the king, and then he went to the place where the mother of the king lived. Jezebel was her name. Remember, God had said something would happen to her, and Jehu stood by the palace wall and Jezebel came to the wall and began to taunt him for what he had done. He said, “Who is on my side up there?” Three eunuchs said, “We are.” Jehu said, “Throw her down.” And they picked her up and threw her over the wall, and she crashed down on the pavement, dead.

Jehu went on inside and he got to thinking, “After all, she is a queen. She deserves a decent burial.” He sent his servants out to find what they could and they came back in and said, “We can't find anything. All we can find is some dogs sitting around licking their chops.” “In the place where the dogs licked the blood of Ahab, shall the dogs eat Jezebel.”

Blood of Jezreel Avenged

What has all of this to do with our story? God wasn't through because, even though this man Jehu was annointed king of Israel, he did not walk in the ways of God. It's one thing to take your place on the throne because God put you there; it is another to think that God gives you liberty to take life into your own hands and to use it as you would. Do you know what this man Jehu did? He found out that Jeroboam had thirty sons and he sent all his men and killed all thirty of them and cut their heads off and put them in baskets and piled them at the gates of the city.

God said, “I can't let that go unrequited. I am a just God, so I am going to avenge the blood of Jezreel this day.” Hosea was the man who was to give the message because Jehu lived in his day. Forty years after little Jezreel was born, when many people probably felt as if God had forgotten what He intended to do, God destroyed the family of Jehu.

Get the picture: When God would deliver a message to the nation of Israel through the family of Hosea, He would deliver it specifically through the birth of his eldest son, saying, “Call him Jezreel , and every time anybody looks at him, may they be reminded that I am a God of destruction when men bow their necks against Me.” If we learn anything in this lesson, we ought to be able to understand that we cannot play fast and loose with the mercy of God, we cannot play fast and loose with the Word of God, for God will always keep His Word.

No More Pity In the Heart of God

Another specific picture in the domestic life of Hosea which expresses God's attitude is in verse 6:

Hosea 1

6And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.

One little boy had been born in the preacher's house, and then a little girl was born. That's a nice order—a boy and a girl. Somehow or other people always think that's really cute, so the word went around, “Did you hear what happened over at Hosea's house today? They had a little girl.” They all ran over to the house to see, and they asked, “Hosea, what's her name?” Hosea said, “This is my second child. It may be my only daughter, and I am going to call her Loruhamah .” They asked, “But why a name like that?” He answered, “Because there is no more pity left in the heart of God.”

This word Loruhamah means “not to be pitied,” with the idea that there is no more pity, no more mercy left in the heart of God. What God wanted Israel to know was that she had reached the place where God was tired. God was tired of excusing, God was tired of forgiving, God was tired of covering up and God could no longer excuse the wickedness of Israel. Therefore, God was going to have to let His rod fall heavily upon them.

God Disciplines With a Distinction

If there was one message that they needed to learn and that we need to learn, it is that God destroys in some instances because the cup of iniquity is full. God disciplines in other instances because it is not the time for destruction. He disciplines without mercy and without pity, but he disciplines with a distinction. Look at verse 7 of the chapter:

Hosea 1

7But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.

You will recall that Israel went into captivity 200 years before Judah did. Judah would have, but God, because He was disciplining Israel so that the final end of all things would not have to come, interceded. You remember the story where a great army of people outside of the city came on the wall looking out. The siege had been so great that there was no hope. There were two women fighting right down below the king, ignoring the royal presence, and finally he said to them, “What are you women doing?” They said, “We are fighting. Why don't you settle it for us?” The king said, “All right, what's the problem?” One woman said, “We are mad at each other. We ate my boy yesterday and she said we would eat her boy today. She is not going to keep our bargain. It isn't right. We ate my boy yesterday. I want to eat hers today.”

How would you settle an argument like that? There is no record that it was settled. The story is put there to remind you of what a sad condition Israel was in—no hope at all. The army of Sennacherib camped outside the city walls—no hope at all. Then the prophet of God came to the king and said, “God has a message for you. The message is that tomorrow morning when you wake up, all these people that you are so afraid of will be dead.” You read the story when you have time. That's exactly what happened. Judah was saved not by the arms of men, but by the power of God. It is well for us to remember that God only turns His power against us when we do not follow where He leads. He will always be for us if we are obedient.

God Disowns Israel

The last specific picture of God's attitude that is found in the domestic life of Hosea is found in the third child which was born into the family—a second boy. Look at verse 8:

Hosea 1

8Now when she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son.
9Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.

Picture again a third little child born into the preacher's home. The crowd gathered around saying, “What are you going to call this child?” Hosea said, “I know it sounds crazy, but I am doing what God told me to do. I am going to call this child Loammi.” They said, “That is crazy! That means that he doesn't belong to God. It means ‘not my people.' Hosea said, “No, it doesn't mean that he doesn't belong to God. It means that you don't belong to God. It means that our people no longer belong to God. It means that God disowns us because we are not what we ought to be. We have failed God miserably.”

What we have gone over with you is a partial summary of the message that Hosea will be declaring in succeeding chapters. God has disowned His people Israel, and today they are wandering throughout the world without a country, save those few, comparatively speaking, who are gathered back in the land where the nation now resides.

What is applicable in a material way is applicable to the church in a spiritual way. Quite often when you reach the place where, through deliberate disobedience of God and His will, God finds it necessary to disown you, He will not cast you out so that you will lose your salvation because that would be contrary to the plain teaching of the Word of God. But He will move you out of your place of responsibility and privilege so that there will be no real opportunity of service for you.

God Will Keep His Word

If we had to close on that note, as I said in our introductory remarks, it would be sad indeed. But God always mixes mercy with judgment, and I do not believe you can find a prophecy in the Word of God that ends on a sad note. You may be called upon to go through the valley of the prophecy, but you will always be led out on the mountaintop.

Glance down at verse 10 of Hosea, chapter 1, and notice that it begins with the word yet . “Yet all that I have said is true, but yet, some other things are going to be true.” He mentions some blessings. May I share them with you without reading the passage of Scripture altogether? In verse 10, the first phrase, He promises increased growth, taking the words that God gave to Abraham one day, and reminds them that Israel shall be as the sand of the sea which cannot be measured and numbered. God will keep His word, no matter how much He has to chasten.

Then in the latter part of verse 10, there is a promise of national conversion as the nation of Israel, which has rejected the Messiah and turned their back on God, will someday be brought to the place where, as is indicated in the last part of the verse:. “Those who are called not my people shall be called the sons of the living God .” This is just another way of speaking of the national conversion of Israel.

National Consolidation

In the first part of verse 11, the third blessing promised is what I have been pleased to call national consolidation , because today there are ten lost tribes. God knows where they are; nobody else does. But there is a division, and there are two tribes of Judah. One of these days, the lost tribes are going to be united with the two tribes and the national consolidation will be such that the nation which has been divided according to the first part of verse 11 shall be gathered together, and there will be a national captain selected.

I am using this word captain in the same way that the Spirit of God used it in the story of Joshua when Joshua saw the angelic being standing before him with a drawn sword and Joshua asked, “Are you for us or are you for the enemy?” The individual said, “As captain of the Lord's host have I come.” Yes, someday Israel will acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as Captain of the Lord's hosts.

National Restoration to Israel's Place of Privilege

The last thing that we would mention to you is what is suggested to you in the first verse of chapter 2. There will be a national restoration to their place of privilege once again, because you will notice in verse 1 of chapter 2:

Hosea 2

1Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah.

There is plenty of recognition with God, and His mercy is unlimited. Had Israel believed this message in Hosea's day, their history would not have had the sad end it did.

Since we are reminded in God's Word that all of these things in the Old Testament are written for our exhortation and admonition, we would encourage you to remember that just as God has a very vital interest in Israel, so He has in you. God would not have you act so that it would be necessary for Him to disown you. God would not have you act so that it would be necessary for Him to discipline you. God would not have you act so that it would be necessary for Him to destroy you. Sometimes He has to. The way back to God is through the acknowledgment of the fact that you are away—your sin confessed; your fellowship restored.


Home Contact Us Bible Studies Books King James
Abilene Bible Church Living Bible Studies
Dr. Daiqing Yuan Tim Temple Dr. Joe Temple
Some icons on this site used courtesy FatCow Web Hosting

www.livingbiblestudies.org