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Thursday, January 5, 2017
Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.
This short five-verse chapter in Hosea is basically the message of the entire book. Hosea, the prophet, had a wife named Gomer who was described as a "wife of whoredoms", Hosea 1:2. God had commanded the prophet to take Gomer for his wife, he did and she bare him a son, Hosea 1:3. However, Gomer goes chasing after her previous lovers - she goes whoring again.
Here in chapter 3, the Lord tells Hosea to go after his wife, find her, and restore her to himself. We see that played out in this prophetic book of Hosea. The Lord in this book uses the experiences of Hosea and Gomer to illustrate His relationship with Israel.
God is the "husband" of Israel and has down through the centuries watched His "wife" go whoring as well. As Hosea goes after Gomer, cleans her up, and restores her to himself, so the Lord continues to go after His "adulteress wife", Israel.
Here in our reading for today the Lord tells Israel, over 2,700 years ago, what they would go through before He would restore them to Himself. Starting in verse 4 Israel is told of the time, "many days" that they would be without a "king".
These "many days" have been defined by history to be almost 2,500 years since Judah went into the Babylonian captivity.
Hosea wrote also that the Jews would be without a "sacrifice" for these "many days". Here the "many days" would be determined as almost 2,000 years since the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by General Titus and the Roman Army in AD70.
Of course, without a temple and without a sacrifice, there is no way for the Jews to have their sins covered for a year, as was the case during the time of the "Day of Atonement", "Yom Kippur".
What the Jewish people do today, instead of offering sacrifices, is give money, do good works, and pray three times a day toward the Temple Mount, the location where the Temple once stood.
It goes without saying that no place in the Bible does it say this Jewish substitution for "temple sacrifice" will take away their sins. Only by the shedding of blood, the "blood of Jesus Christ", can sin be removed from us. That is, of course, the reason the Lord had the temple destroyed.
But notice after all this, the Jews will return and seek the Lord, verse 5. The truth be known, the Jews are in the process of returning to their land but are not yet seeking the Lord.
The Jews will "seek" the Lord during that "seven-year" Tribulation Period. Then Jesus Christ, in the line of King David and in fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant, will come to Earth to be the "king" of the Jewish people and they shall be His people.
What we see today among the Jewish people, especially in Israel, is at least the beginning of Hosea's prophecy, a prophecy that will indeed be fulfilled "in the latter days".
PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you, Lord, for giving me the illustration of the Jewish people and their present-day situation, to help me know the times in which we are living. Please help me live accordingly.