simple, yet profound, things which the Lord requires of His people as
set in contrast with behaviors seen in both Judah and Israel and called
out by the prophet as a reason for judgment.
AIM: That we
might endeavor to be in the way required, loving mercy and the knowledge
of God above all else.
INTR: The book
of Hosea begins with one of the most beautiful stories in the Bible in
which the determinations of the Lord to redeem are played out in the
life and experience of the prophet.
1. The wickedness of the Northern
Kingdom (Israel or Ephraim in the Scripture) went before that of the
Judah but Judah caught up and met with a similar end.
2. As we have
often said, redemption is the plan whereby God would glorify Himself
among men and so references to it are found throughout the Word and this
passage is no exception.
3. There are many thoughts with regard to
methods of restoration and return and some seem to think that the first
three verses of this chapter speak of one lacking in genuineness.
THESIS: We rejoice in the knowledge
that God has said “I will have mercy.” It is not unreasonable that we
should be expected to render the same as we endeavor to be identified
with Him. Not only is He merciful, it is expected in His children.
I. A methodology born out of the observed faithfulness of God (vv.
1. There is strong support for the thought that these three
verses belong to the previous chapter.
1) Read Hosea 5:13-15 and note
especially that they had sought the aid of others and
2) That the
Lord had purposed to leave them alone until they realized their need of
2. It is thought that These are the words that the Lord would
have them to say and that should have reflected a heartfelt need of Him.
3. J. M. Boice suggested that two essential things were missing here:
1) There is no direct reference to the matter of their sin and therefore
repentance and there is no thought of a relationship with the Lord –only
deliverance from their troubles.
2) Others, however, see these things
as implied and that after all this is that which would be in answer to
the Lord’s departure and return.
3) We are well advised to look to
the matter of return and expectation that the Lord will faithfully
4. Verse 2 suggests promptness of action and faithfulness
with the Lord to produce the desired effect: “we shall live in His
5. The knowledge of the Lord would come when pursuit of the
same was engaged and they would sing, as should we, Great is Thy
Faithfulness – the early and latter rain suggest that thought.
II. The offending condition exposed (vv. 4-6)
1. The cry to both
Ephraim and Judah is that their goodness is superficial – It is like the
morning cloud and the early dew – it fades with the rising of the sun
1) So, does ours as the Light of Christ our Lord shines upon it
2) We are encouraged to seek to abide ever in the light not
looking to other circumstances and other counsellors.
2. They had
missed the message from of old – the desire of God was to show mercy and
to know His people and to be known of them.
1) They had known of the
mercy seat from the beginning and knew of the necessity of a substitute.
2) They knew of the relationship with the Lord enjoyed by the men of Old
– Noah, Abraham, Moses and David and many others
3) They knew that
there was more than mere attendance to ritual. And,
4) They had heard
that lives answering to these things were to be the order of the day.
3. Not only would the Lord show mercy, it would produce the same (many
translate mercy here as love and that is not inconsistent with the
4. Great emphasis is here given in that our Lord refers to
it: But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not
sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to
repentance. Matthew 9:13.
III. The offending condition continued
1. The but here is a reversal of that which we often find
of the bad thing to the left and the answer of our gracious God to the
2. The sins of Israel and the nature of them are often
repeated and those involved assert themselves against God and His
3. As we can see, the conditions that were offensive to the
Lord in that day are continuing in our own day.
1) This was written
to Israel and Judah, but the Lord’s people must ever be vigilant and
observant as depravity is consistent in it manifestations.
2) It is
rather that we heed the words brought by another prophet: 6 Wherewith
shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall
I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? 7
Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands
of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the
fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8 He hath shewed thee, O man,
what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly,
and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? Micah 6:6-8.