Lesson 5 of 5
In Progress

Theological Themes in Hosea

God’s anger

Some people think that God’s anger is the opposite of God’s love. But God’s anger is a part of God’s love, not its opposite. Because God loves people, God is angry when they suffer. God’s commitment to all people, including the poor and oppressed, fuels God’s anger at oppressors. Without the concept of God’s anger, God’s love is an empty concept.

The inseparability of the two great commandments

In the New Testament, Jesus teaches that the two greatest commandments are to love the Lord and to love the neighbor. Hosea’s preaching is consistent with this, in that Hosea condemned the people of Israel for both violating the first great commandment (to love God and have no other gods than the Lord) and the second great commandment (to love the neighbor and to refrain from evil). But Hosea’s message asserts that there is an inseparable connection between these two commandments. Hosea taught that to love God is to love the neighbor and to refrain from doing evil. He also proclaimed that the love of gods other than the Lord led people to commit acts of injustice and oppression.

Judgment as a part of God’s covenant

Hosea proclaims that God’s judgment is not God’s repudiation of the covenant that God made with the chosen people, but a necessary part of that ongoing covenant. Because God is just, God will neither ignore the wickedness of the people nor will God end the covenant relationship with them. God’s judgment does not end the covenant. God’s judgment is an “instrumental” part of the covenant–that is, it is an instrument that God uses to instruct or teach.

Knowledge of God

Unlike the other eighth-century prophets, Hosea did not emphasize the word “justice” in his preaching as much as he did the “knowledge” or “understanding” of God (4:1-11). The term “knowledge” extends beyond merely a sense of intellectual acknowledgement to include the sense of “obedience” and even “lifestyle.” One cannot know God and disobey God’s laws. If one knows God, then one’s entire life and being are changed.