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SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:

Hosea 1-3

1:1 This is the Lord’s message that came to Hosea son of Beeri during the time of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the time of Jeroboam son of Joash, king of Israel.

2 When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, he said to him, “Go marry a prostitute who will bear illegitimate children conceived through prostitution, because the nation continually commits spiritual prostitution by turning away from the Lord.” 3 So Hosea married Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim. Then she conceived and gave birth to a son for him. 4 Then the Lord said to Hosea, “Name him ‘Jezreel,’ because in a little while I will punish the dynasty of Jehu on account of the bloodshed in the valley of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel. 5 At that time, I will destroy the military power of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.”

6 She conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the Lord said to him, “Name her ‘No Pity’ (Lo-Ruhamah) because I will no longer have pity on the nation of Israel. For I will certainly not forgive their guilt. 7 But I will have pity on the nation of Judah. I will deliver them by the Lord their God; I will not deliver them by the warrior’s bow, by sword, by military victory, by chariot horses, or by chariots.”

8 When she had weaned ‘No Pity’ (Lo-Ruhamah) she conceived again and gave birth to another son. 9 Then the Lord said: “Name him ‘Not My People’ (Lo-Ammi), because you are not my people and I am not your God.”

10 (2:1) However, in the future the number of the people of Israel will be like the sand of the sea which can be neither measured nor numbered. Although it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it will be said to them, “You are children of the living God!” 11 Then the people of Judah and the people of Israel will be gathered together. They will appoint for themselves one leader, and will flourish in the land. Certainly, the day of Jezreel will be great! 2:1 Then you will call your brother, “My People” (Ammi)! You will call your sister, “Pity” (Ruhamah)!

2 Plead earnestly with your mother

(for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband),

so that she might put an end to her adulterous lifestyle,

and turn away from her sexually immoral behavior.

3 Otherwise, I will strip her naked,

and expose her like she was when she was born.

I will turn her land into a wilderness

and make her country a parched land,

so that I might kill her with thirst.

4 I will have no pity on her children,

because they are children conceived in adultery.

5 For their mother has committed adultery;

she who conceived them has acted shamefully.

For she said, “I will seek out my lovers;

they are the ones who give me my bread and my water,

my wool, my flax, my olive oil, and my wine.

6 Therefore, I will soon fence her in with thorns;

I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.

7 Then she will pursue her lovers, but she will not catch them;

she will seek them, but she will not find them.

Then she will say,

“I will go back to my husband,

because I was better off then than I am now.”

8 Yet until now she has refused to acknowledge that I was the one

who gave her the grain, the new wine, and the olive oil;

and that it was I who lavished on her the silver and gold –

which they used in worshiping Baal!

9 Therefore, I will take back my grain during the harvest time

and my new wine when it ripens;

I will take away my wool and my flax

which I had provided in order to clothe her.

10 Soon I will expose her lewd nakedness in front of her lovers,

and no one will be able to rescue her from me!

11 I will put an end to all her celebration:

her annual religious festivals,

monthly new moon celebrations,

and weekly Sabbath festivities –

all her appointed festivals.

12 I will destroy her vines and fig trees,

about which she said, “These are my wages for prostitution

that my lovers gave to me!”

I will turn her cultivated vines and fig trees into an uncultivated thicket,

so that wild animals will devour them.

13 “I will punish her for the festival days

when she burned incense to the Baal idols;

she adorned herself with earrings and jewelry,

and went after her lovers,

but she forgot me!” says the Lord.

14 However, in the future I will allure her;

I will lead her back into the wilderness,

and speak tenderly to her.

15 From there I will give back her vineyards to her,

and turn the “Valley of Trouble” into an “Opportunity for Hope.”

There she will sing as she did when she was young,

when she came up from the land of Egypt.

16 “At that time,” declares the Lord,

“you will call, ‘My husband’;

you will never again call me, ‘My master.’

17 For I will remove the names of the Baal idols from your lips,

so that you will never again utter their names!”

18 “At that time I will make a covenant for them with the wild animals,

the birds of the air, and the creatures that crawl on the ground.

I will abolish the warrior’s bow and sword

– that is, every weapon of warfare – from the land,

and I will allow them to live securely.”

19 I will commit myself to you forever;

I will commit myself to you in righteousness and justice,

in steadfast love and tender compassion.

20 I will commit myself to you in faithfulness;

then you will acknowledge the Lord.”

21 “At that time, I will willingly respond,” declares the Lord.

“I will respond to the sky,

and the sky will respond to the ground;

22 then the ground will respond to the grain, the new wine, and the olive oil;

and they will respond to ‘God Plants’ (Jezreel)!

23 Then I will plant her as my own in the land.

I will have pity on ‘No Pity’ (Lo-Ruhamah).

I will say to ‘Not My People’ (Lo-Ammi), ‘You are my people!’

And he will say, ‘You are my God!’”

3:1 The Lord said to me, “Go, show love to your wife again, even though she loves another man and continually commits adultery. Likewise, the Lord loves the Israelites although they turn to other gods and love to offer raisin cakes to idols.” 2 So I paid fifteen shekels of silver and about seven bushels of barley to purchase her. 3 Then I told her, “You must live with me many days; you must not commit adultery or become joined to another man, and I also will wait for you.” 4 For the Israelites must live many days without a king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred fertility pillar, without ephod or idols. 5 Afterward, the Israelites will turn and seek the Lord their God and their Davidic king. Then they will submit to the Lord in fear and receive his blessings in the future.