By David J. Riggs

   A. Hosea prophesied to the ten northern tribes around the year 750
      B.C. during the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah,
      kings of Judah, and Jeroboam, king of Israel. Hosea. 1:1
      1. This Jeroboam was Jeroboam the II, not the Jeroboam the I,
         who set up his false religion along with the golden calves.
   B. Nothing is known of Hosea's family or occupation, only that he
      was the son of Beeri.
      1. He may have been one of the sons of the prophets.
   C. Like most of the prophets, Hosea's message was a message of
      1. He mentions a host of calamities which were about to come
         upon them because of their sins.
      2. Their only hope was a sincere, heartfelt repentance.
   D. Hosea said concerning the Israelites: "They have sown the wind,
      and they shall reap the whirlwind." Hosea 8:7
      1. The mistakes of the Israelites present valuable lessons for 
         us to learn.
      2. Truly, we, too, will reap what we sow. Gal. 1:7-8

   A. Neglecting to study is sowing the wind.
      1. Their lack of knowledge resulted in much wickedness.
      2. They had rejected the knowledge of God's will and, as a
         result, God was about to reject them.
      3. All of us need serious study of God's word.
         a. We need to stop promising ourselves, but get don't to
            business in truly studying the Bible.
      4. Many people think they know God's will, but, in reality,    
         they know only bits and pieces. Here is one's explanation of
         the parable of the good Samaritan: "There was a good        
         Samaritan going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell     
         among the thorns, and they sprang up and choked him and left
         him half-dead. So he said, `I will arise!' And he arose and 
         came to a tree and got hung in a limb of that tree for forty
         days and forty nights, and the ravens fed him. Then Delilah 
         came along with a pair of shears and cut off his hair, and  
         he fell on stony ground. He said again, `I will arise!' So  
         he came to a wall, and Jezebel was sitting on that wall; and
         he cried out, `Throw her down!' So they threw her down, and 
         a dumb donkey spoke with man's voice when he saw some of her
         blood being sprinkled on the wall, and when they came to
         pick up the fragments that remained, they picked up twelve
         baskets full, but whose wife shall she be in the            

   A. First, they were trusting in their idols. Hosea 4:17; 8:4-6
      1. Isaiah ridicules those who depend on a piece of wood for
         deliverance. Isa. 44:13
      2. If the tree cannot deliver itself from the fire, surely it  
         can't deliver those who carve it into an idol.
      3. The true God is more than able to deliver. Dan. 3:17
   B. Secondly, they went to Assyria for help. Hosea 5:13-15
      1. They had mixed themselves among the people and these
         people had devoured their strength. Hosea 7:8-10
      2. Christians "sow to the wind" when they trust in anything
         other than God - be it strong drink, prescriptions drugs, or
         worldly companions.
      3. Consider Psalm 55.
         a. David was in tremendous stress at this time. Verses 4-8
         b. This Psalm is thought to have been written when his son
            Absalom was trying to take over the kingdom.
         c. In verses 12-14, his "companion and acquaintance" is
            thought to be Joab or one of his chief officials.
         d. Where did David turn when these great difficulties came
            upon him? Verses 16-17, 22

   A. Thus, bloodshed and immorality were common in those days.
      1. All the while, these same evil people were still offering   
         their animal sacrifices. Hosea 9:4
      2. The other prophets spoke of this as well. Isa. 1:11-15
   B. As we consider this, it is similar to the Christian today who,
      although he continues to attend services regularly, lives an   
      evil, corrupt life.
      1. We need to beware of empty, meaningless ritual.
      2. We need sincerity in our worship, coupled with godly living
         in our everyday lives. Hosea 10:12; Amos 5:24; Micah 6:8

   A. The leaders were corrupt in our Lord's time. Mark 14:1
      1. Consider this example of hypocrisy. John 18:28
         a. They were so careful to observe the minute
            requirements of the law, all the while murdering the only
            begotten Son of God.
         b. Thus, they were truly great hypocrites. Matt. 23:25-28
         c. The Queen Mary was the largest ship to cross the
            oceans when it was launched in 1936. Through four
            decades and a world war she served until she was
            retired, anchored as a floating hotel and museum in
            Long Beach, California. During its conversion, the ship's
            three massive smokestacks were taken off to be scraped
            down and repainted. However, when they were placed
            on the dock, they crumbled. Nothing was left of the 3/4
            inch steel plate from which the stakes had been formed.
            All that remained was more than thirty coats of paint
            that had been applied over the years. The steel had
            rusted away. (From Illustrations for Preach and
            Teaching, p. 107).
         d. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees who were corrupt inwardly,
            but appeared righteous outwardly. Let us cleanse
            ourselves inwardly that we might also be clean

   A. Hosea's job was to convict them of their sin so that they might
      be humbled and lead back to God.
      1. God would have readily received and blessed them if they
         would have repented.
   B. All men everywhere are now commanded to repent. Acts 17:30;
      Luke 13:1-5
      1. God will abundantly pardon those who turn to him. Acts
         3:19; Isa. 55:6-7
      2. For years, the opening of "The Wide World of Sports"
         television program illustrated "the agony of defeat" with a
         painful ending to an attempted ski jump. The skier appeared
         in good form as he headed down the jump, but then, for no
         apparent reason, he tumbled head over heels off the side of
         the jump, bouncing off the supporting structure. 
         a. What viewers didn't know was that he chose to fall
            rather than finish the jump. Why? As he explained later,
            the jump surface had become too fast, and midway
            down the ramp, he realized if he completed the jump, he
            would land on the level ground, beyond the safe slope
            landing area, which could have been fatal. As it was, the
            skier suffered no more than a headache from the tumble.  
         b. To change one's course in life can be a dramatic and
            sometimes painful undertaking, but change is better than
            a fatal landing at the end. (From Illustrations for
            Preaching and Teaching, p. 21) 

   A. May God help us to not be like the people in Hosea's day.
   B. In spite of all their wickedness, God, through Hosea, makes a
      final appeal for them to return to Him.
      1. It is truly sad when people will not respond to such love   
         and concern.
      2. Let us have humble hearts and do our best to walk in accord
         with the will of our Father.