6 July 2024

alternate textWe know that the prophet of Hoshea is important to us, because the only time this prophet is mentioned in the New Testament, the point is made that HOSHEA was one of the prophets who prophesied that there would be a time in future when Yahweh would say to people who were previously NOT his people: “YOU ARE NOW MY PEOPLE” (Romans 9:25). In a very real sense, then, we, who previously weren’t his people, have become part of the fulfilment of this prophesy! We can learn from this prophet, and from what he had to say about the intimate relationship between Yahweh and his people. Most of us are not Jews. From the perspective of modern-day Jews, we are seen as “outsiders” and “foreigners”. But from Yahweh’s perspective, we have become insiders, and recipients of the privileges of sons and daughters. Let us not think for one moment that Yahweh will not interact with us, and comfort and encourage and teach and discipline us. We are now part of his people. Let us remember that He does not change. The way He interacted with his people in the days of the prophet Hoshea, teaches us how He is interacting with us today, and how He will keep on interacting with those who will call upon his Name in future. Let us take one more good look at the two chapters of Hoshea 10 and 11. In these two chapters, we find a very clear picture of the contrast that transpires in the prophetic books of the Tanak: Israel is portrayed as Yahweh’s BELOVED, but also his BECLOUDED people. The word “beclouded” means something or someone has become disorientated with clouds of confusion – the kind of thing that happens when someone who came to know Yahweh, inexplicably chooses to pursue something different than the clearly spelled out and highlighted path found in Scriptures. Let us find renewed encouragement in the surprizing way in which Yahweh responds when those who claim to be his people, often do things that surround them with confusion and put them in danger of being alienated from the very Source of their existence.

Their hearts have been SLIPPERY against Him (divided, scattered, smooth – a word that is used in Psalms 5:9: “They use smooth words, but there is no faithfulness – neither in their mouths, nor in their inward parts”) – 10:2.
They have PLOUGHED wrongness (meaning, they have first devised wrong conduct, and then kept it secret and hidden, like weeds that are hidden below the surface of the ground) and they have eaten the fruit of lying and have become guilty before Yahweh (works of darkness always bring forth bad fruit or fruit of lying) – 10:13.
They have REFUSED to repent (meaning, they were reluctant to turn back to Yahweh – the meaning of the word “refused” is illustrated in Zecheriah 7:11: “they pulled away the shoulder and plugged their ears to make sure they would not hear”, which is a very uncomfortable reminder of those times when we “plug” our own ears, because we do not like the sound of Yahweh’s words) – 11:5.
They have been BENT to backsliding from Yahweh – 11:7 (“bent” comes from a word that describes hesitation because of mental dependence upon something – our backsliding is often the result of an unhealthy dependence upon something other than Yahweh – something completely different from the WAY He has outlined for us).

I have PASSED OVER gently upon her fair neck (“passed over” is from the root of the word “hebrew”, indicating that not only did a certain group of people “pass over” from darkness to light, to become Yahweh’s people; Yahweh, too, “passed over” or “hovered over” this stiff-necked people, in a gentle, loving and compassionate manner) – 10:11.
I loved him and CALLED him as my son (notice how Yahweh uses metaphors for his people, including both men and women – first: “I passed over HER fair neck”, and then: “I called HIM as my son” – none of us are excluded from Yahweh’s unexpected favour; the “men-only” label, which is rejected as offensive by many in our day, is turned completely upside down!) – 11:1.
I taught them to walk, taking them by their arms, but they did not know (recognize, acknowledge) that I HEALED them (How often do we disregard the deep healing we have already received from Yahweh’s hand, and silently blame Him for not taking seriously our needs?) – 11:3.
I drew them with CORDS of love (The word “cords” comes from a word that means a strong connection that started with a pledge), and I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck – notice the connection with softness around the “neck” in the previous chapter – 11:4.

I shall not GIVE UP on you! This means that I shall not let go of you; I shall never leave you; I shall not surrender my promises regarding you. I shall never go back on my word.
I shall not HAND YOU OVER, meaning: I shall not pass the responsibility to shield and protect you, on to someone else. You are my eternal possession.
I shall not allow you to become like ADMA AND TSEBOYIM! These two cities were associated with Sedom and Amorrah and deserved nothing more than my wrath and CONDEMNATION. But I have not destined you for condemnation. I shall now act in a way that goes beyond that which you deserve.
I shall not let the heat of my WRATH burn in your midst! You have given me enough reason to do so. But it is my aim to discipline you and preserve you, not to wipe you off the face of the earth.
I shall not TURN to destroy my own people! Should I decide to destroy you, it would constitute a “turn” within Myself – which is IMPOSSIBLE because I have already told you (in Numbers 23:19), and demonstrated to you on many occasions, that I am not a man that I would “turn” or “repent” or “change”. As I have declared through the prophet whose name means “my messenger”: “I am Yahweh, I do not change, and you, o sons of Yaakov, will not be consumed” (Malachi 3:6).
I shall not become your ENEMY because you opposed Me, because I am Yahweh, and not a man! It is indeed the pattern among human beings to oppose those who have opposed them. But also in this respect, I am truly SET-APART. I do not follow the patterns of the men and the women of this world.

I shall make you dwell in the safety of the houses that I have provided for you, not in the trembling and bondage of the houses of Mizrayim and Ashur! And although your own houses are like tents and temporary dwellings, in comparison with the house that I have prepared for you, I shall give you a foretaste of your eternal home of SHALOM, even while you are living on earth. You will find a glimpse and a small measure of experience of what it will be like in the home that I have prepared for you, not only within your own, humble homes, but especially within the homes and the houses and the meeting places that are set-apart for the earthly assemblies in My Name – when you will come together for my Sabbaths and my Appointed Times. That is why the prophets kept on prophesying about the house of Dawid, long after Dawid’s death. That is why the sending of my Son has been announced as the beginning of the restoration of the house of Dawid. And that is why Y’shua of Nazareth not only made it his habit to visit the house set-apart for my Name. He also stated that where two or three would come together in his name, it would be like a meeting in which he, himself, is present. And that is why he was presented to you as my Son, and why he revealed that in my house there were many dwellings and more than enough place to stay. That is why he said that he was going to prepare a place for you all. And this is how you know that I have kept my promise that my people would live in safety and would not be threatened by the trembling and the bondage of the houses of Mizrayim and Ashur. This is my promise that will never be undone!