Dave Burnette's Commentary

Hosea Chapter 4

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Hosea
Date Penned: BC 715 (Covering Events BC 753-715)
Overview: God's Wayward People (c 4-14)
Theme: Israel's Sinfulness (c 4-5)
Message: God Charges Israel with Sins (v 1-5) 

Hosea: Chapter 4 Commentary    

(4:1) In this chapter, God brings a charge of disobedience against Israel. The religious leaders had failed to turn the people to God, andritual prostitution had replaced right worship. The nation had declined spiritually and morally, breaking the laws God had given them. The people found it easy to condemn Hosea's wife for her adultery. They were not so quick to see that they were faithless to God. God explains the reasons for Israel
s suffering. Their lawless behavior had brought the twin judgments of increased violence and ecological crisis. There is not always a direct cause & effect relationship between our actions and the problems we face. Nevertheless, when we are surrounded with difficulties, we should seriously ask, "Have I done anything sinful or irresponsible that has caused my suffering?" If we discover we are at fault, even partially, we must change our ways before God will help us. 

(4:2) This verse may allude to the assassinations of kings during Hosea's lifetime. Shallum killed Zaschariah and took the throne. Then Menahem killed Shallum and destroyed an entire city because it refused to accept him as king found in 2 Kings chapter 15. God pointed out that even murder was being taken casually in Israel.

(4:4) We often blame others if we fear punishment for wrongdoing. Hosea warned the priests not to blame anyone else. The Nation's sins were largely their fault. Israel's priests pointed out the people's sins, but God would not allow them to overlook their own irresponsible actions. Instead of instructing the nation in religion and morality., they had led the way toward idolatry and immorality. Their Failure to lead the people in God's ways placed most of the blame for Israel's destruction on them. Knowing that God will not allow us to blame others for our mistakes should cause us to deal with our sins head on. We are responsible for our own sinful actions. Beware of the tendency to blame others because it can keep you from feeling the need to repent.

(4:5) Hosea leveled his charges against the religious leaders. Who were these religious leaders? When Jeroboam I rebelled against Solomon's son Rehoboam and set up a rival kingdom in the north, he also set up his own religious system as noted in 1 Kings chapter 12. In violation of God's Law he made 2 gold calf idols and told the people to worship them. He also appointed his own priests, who were not descendants of Aaron. At first the residents of the Northern Kingdom continued to worship God, even though they were doing it in the wrong way. But very soon they also began to worship Canaanite gods. Before long they substituted Baal for God and no longer worshiped God at all. It is not surprising that Jeroboam's false priests were unable to preserve the true worship of God.

(4:6,7) God accused the religious leaders of keeping the people from knowing him. They were supposed to be spiritual leaders , but they had become leaders in wrongdoing. The people may have said to one another. "It must be OK if the priests do it" Spiritual leadership is a heavy responsibility. Surrender yourself to the Lord according to your service to the Lord.

(4:8) The priests relished the people's sins. Every time a person brought a sin offering, the priest received a portion of it. The more the people sinned the more the priests received. Since they couldn't eat all of the offerings themselves, they sold some and gave some to their relatives. The priests profited from the continuation of sin. It gave them power and position in the community. So instead of trying to lead the people out of sin, It gave them power and position in the community. So instead of trying to lead the people out of sin, they encouraged it to increase their profits.

(4:10) What was ritual prostitution? The chief Canaanite gods, Baal and Ashtaroth, represented the power of fertility and sexual reproduction. Not surprisingly, their worship included rituals with vile sexual practices. Male worshippers had sex with female temple protitutes, or priestesses, and young women wishing to bear childer had sex with male priests. 

(4:11) God created wine to make man glad as seen in Psalm chapter 104 and tells man to "rejoice with the wife of thy youth" But all of God's good gifts can be misused. Be sure to acknowledge the Gift and Giver as not to abuse the gifts of the Lord.

(4:13,14) By divorcing themselves from God's authoritative religion centered in Jerusalem, inhabitants of the Northern Kingdom had effectively cut themselves off from his Word and from his way of forgiveness. The Drive to be free and independent from all restrictions can move us completely out of God's will.

(4:15) God sent a warning to the Southern Kingdom of Judah and its priests not to become like Israel. Israel's priests who remained in the north had forgotten their spiritual heritage and sold out to Baal. They now promoted idol worship and ritual prostitution Isreal would not excape punishment, but Judah could if it refused to follow Israel's example.

(4:17) Ephraim is another name for Israel, the Northern Kingdom, because Ephraim was the most powerful of 10 tribes in the north. In the same way, the Southern Kingdom was called Judah after its most powerful of the 10 tribes in the north. In the same way, the southern Kingdom was called Judah after its most powerful tribe. 

(4:19) The wind that would sweep Israel away refers to assyrian invasion that destroyed the nation about 20 years later. 


Dave Burnette's Life Application



Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the Book of Hosea with Chapter 4 In our text today we see Israel's sinfulness as God rebukes them, the religious leaders, and sin in the house of God. The sinful nation was quick to point out the sin in Hosea's life but was not as quick to see the sin in their own. In making application it is easy to judge others while overlooking the sin in our lives. Today many are quick to judge to give them a sense of self-righteousness which makes them feel better about their sin. The truth is God is the judge and judges on sin on His standard of holiness. How about you? Do you judge your sin on how bad other live? Let us learn from our text today and the truth that God judges your sin on His standard of Holiness not on the behavior of others so let us not be deceived in being self-righteous for God is the judge. 


Hosea 4

Hosea 4

 1Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.

 2By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood.

 3Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.

 4Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another: for thy people are as they that strive with the priest.

 5Therefore shalt thou fall in the day, and the prophet also shall fall with thee in the night, and I will destroy thy mother.

 6My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

 7As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame.

 8They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity.

 9And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings.

 10For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase: because they have left off to take heed to the LORD.

 11Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart.

 12My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God.

 13They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills, under oaks and poplars and elms, because the shadow thereof is good: therefore your daughters shall commit whoredom, and your spouses shall commit adultery.

 14I will not punish your daughters when they commit whoredom, nor your spouses when they commit adultery: for themselves are separated with whores, and they sacrifice with harlots: therefore the people that doth not understand shall fall.

 15Though thou, Israel, play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend; and come not ye unto Gilgal, neither go ye up to Bethaven, nor swear, The LORD liveth.

 16For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer: now the LORD will feed them as a lamb in a large place.

 17Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.

 18Their drink is sour: they have committed whoredom continually: her rulers with shame do love, Give ye.

 19The wind hath bound her up in her wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.