1. Why did the Lord have a controversy with the inhabitants of the land of Israel?
“(1) Hear 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. (2) By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood” (Hosea 4:1-2).
- Were they willing to hear (Matthew 11:15, Matthew 13:9, Matthew 13:43, Mark 4:9, Mark 4:23, Mark 7:16, Luke 8:8, Luke 14:35, Romans 10:14-17, Revelation 2:7; 2:11; 2:17; 2:29; 3:6; 3:13; 3:22)?
- The state of Israel at this time and forward was that they were NOT willing to hear (Isaiah 1:1-20 and Jeremiah 25:1-12).
- The Lord had a “controversy” [cause; quarrel; dispute] with them (Micah 6:1-16).
- Truth had perished (Jeremiah 7:28).
- Mercy was gone (Isaiah 10:1-4 and Hosea 6:4-7).
- Truth had fallen (Isaiah 59:13-15).
- Knowledge was missing (Jeremiah 4:22 and Hosea 4:6; cf. Proverbs 19:2).
- Swearing, lying, killing, blood, etc. (Isaiah 59:1-15, Jeremiah 23:10-14, and Micah 7:2 [Micah is an exaggerated statement; cf. Isaiah 1:9 and Romans 11:1-5).
2. During their time of mourning, why were they told not to reprove another?
“(3) Therefore 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. (4) Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another: for thy people are as they that strive with the priest” (Hosea 4:3-4).
- Punishment even on the land and creatures therein (Jeremiah 4:27-31).
- They were not adhering to the priests, and therefore would have been put to death (Deuteronomy 17:12). How can those worthy of death for rejecting the authority given to the priests turn and correct others?
- The principle here is familiar. How can anyone correct someone when they themselves are erring (Matthew 7:1-5 and Romans 2:1-29)?
3. What was going to happen to the prophet?
Fall with the people: “Therefore shalt thou fall in the day, and the prophet also shall fall with thee in the night, and I will destroy thy mother” (Hosea 4:5).
- The prophet fell for a reason (Isaiah 9:13-16, Jeremiah 5:31, Jeremiah 23:25-27, and Hosea 9:7-8).
- The mother reference (Ezekiel 16:44-45).
4. What was lacking in the land and what were their hearts set on?
“(6) My 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. (7) As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame. (8) They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity” (Hosea 4:6-8).
- For a lack of knowledge (Isaiah 5:13, Isaiah 44:18-19, Jeremiah 10:14, and Hosea 6:6).
- The lack of knowledge was due to their rejecting it (Jeremiah 8:8-9).
- Their children would not be blessed by their unfaithfulness. Remember, the children of Israel were a physical nation with God’s physical providence (Numbers 33:54; 34:2).
- As they were increased (Deuteronomy 32:15-18 and Hosea 13:6).
- Hearts set on iniquity (Psalms 66:18, Isaiah 32:6, and Ezekiel 14:3).
5. When the Lord rewarded them for their doings, were they going to prosper carnally?
No: “(9) And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings. (10) For 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” (Hosea 4:9-10).
- The people and the priests were going to be punished (Jeremiah 23:11-12).
- Punishment for their actions (Job 4:8, Job 34:11, Proverbs 1:31, Proverbs 12:14, Proverbs 14:14, Proverbs 24:12, Isaiah 3:10-11, Jeremiah 2:19, Jeremiah 4:16-18, Jeremiah 32:19, Ezekiel 22:31, Hosea 7:2, Hosea 8:7, John 5:28-29, Romans 2:4-11, II Corinthians 5:10, and Galatians 6:7-9).
- Eat, but not have enough (Micah 6:14).
- Whoredoms without increase as their lovers would not help them (Lamentations 1:2; 1:19).
- Ultimately, did their gods give them what the GOD had in the past (Jeremiah 2:25-28)?
© 2020 This study was prepared for a Bible class with the Sunrise Acres church of Christ in El Paso, TX by Brian A. Yeager.