COMMENTARY ON HOSEA
“ 2:2 And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the LORD, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; 22 And the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel. 23 And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God. ” (Hosea 2:21-23)
We are in the midst God’s promise to restore Israel (2:14-23). After chastening her, He will allure her into the wilderness, speaking comfortably to her. The result will be that she will awaken to the blessedness of relation to the Lord, and desire to return to the Lord (2:7). She will sing with joy, as when she came out of Egypt (2:15). God would be known as “Ishi,” her husband, and no longer as “Baali,” a harsh taskmaster (2:16). The names of the idols she had served would no longer be remembered (2:17). The Lord would give her blessings back to her (2:15), and take the names of Baal out of her mouth (2:17). He would make a covenant with those who formerly destroyed her, forbidding them to do so again (2:18). A betrothal would be made between God and the people that would be “forever,” and it would be made in righteousness, judgment, lovingkindness, mercies, and faithfulness (2:19-20). This would be a day of Divine power, and the people would be totally willing within it (Psa 110:3).
No one could look at the circumstances in which Israel found themselves, or their moral and spiritual condition, and conclude that such wonderful things could ever happen. The ONLY thing that could possibly induce an expectation of these things was the word of the Lord. No other reason could be given for any anticipation of such things. This is precisely as it should be, for it is the manner of the Kingdom. Hope is not created by favorable circumstances, but by the promises of God! If men spend the burden of their time studying conditions and circumstances, they will tend to despair. However, if they will ponder the promises of God, hope will awaken and become strong.
“ 2:21 And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the LORD, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth.”
This is the language of restoration. It is lofty, and filled with holy symbolism. What will occur in this renewal is even greater than can be portrayed by language. That is why such broad and glorious terms are used. This is not a declaration of fantasy, for fantasy exceeds reality. In this case, the language actually understates the magnitude of the blessing. Yet, it will pull us up out of the quagmire of earth and assist us in thinking properly of the magnificent working of the Lord.
IN THAT DAY. This is the day of blessing – the day when Israel calls God “Ishi,” and not “Baali” (v 16). It is the day when she no longer remembers the false gods she has served (v 17). This is the time when God has subdued all of Israel’s enemies, and caused them to lie down safely (v 18). It is the day when God betroths Israel to Himself forever, in righteousness and faithfulness (vs 19-20).
This type of word is especially important. During a time of spiritual decline, it is exceedingly difficult for men to associate the working of the Lord with effectiveness. Men tend to rely upon worldly wisdom to accomplish change, because they cannot conceive of God working in an immediate and effective manner. That is why it is imperative that we subject our minds to the rich promises of God: “thou shalt call Me . . . they shall no more be remembered . . . I will make a covenant for them . . . I will break the bow . . . I will make them lie down safely . . . I will betroth thee to Me forever,”
I WILL HEAR. Because of the sin of Israel, God had ceased to hear them. God said through Isaiah, “when ye make many prayers, I will not hear” (Isa 1:15). Not only did He no longer hear the people, God even refused to hear one who prayed for them: “Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee” (Jer 7:16; 11:14). But now, things are turned around, and the Lord hears the cries and supplications of His people. That is, He will respond favorably to them, for that is what it means for the Lord to “hear.” Zechariah promised the same blessing, “they shall call on My name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is My people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God” (Zech 13:9).
I WILL HEAR THE HEAVENS. It is as though the heavens desired to pour their abundant water upon the earth, but had been shut up because of Israel’s sin. Prior to being led away into exile, Israel had experienced great famine. Before they ever entered the promised land, God told them the blessing of rain would be withheld from them if they chose to sin: “And then the LORD'S wrath be kindled against you, and He shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit” (Deut 11:17). Jeremiah and Ezekiel foretold the breaking of the staff of bread through famine (Jer 29:17; Ezek 4:16). Amos spoke of God closing the heavens, and even sending rain discriminatingly upon one city, while withholding it from another (Amos 4:7). Haggai spoke of the heavens withholding their dew (Hag 1:10), and of God calling “for a drought upon the land” (Hag 1:11).
But now, God will “hear the heavens,” and they will open their rich treasures to the earth, God giving “rain upon the earth, and sending waters upon the field” (Job 5:10). He would say to the great rain of His strength, “Be thou upon the earth” (Job 37:6).
THE HEAVENS WILL HEAR THE EARTH. The picture is of parched ground crying out for water. During the judgment of the Lord, its cries were rejected by the heavens. In “that day,” however, the heavens would respond to the “thirsty ground.” Unlike the idols Israel had served, God would “cause rain,” and the heavens would “give showers” (Jer 14:22). No more would the heavens be steeled to the cries of the earth. In fulfillment of God’s word, when Israel sinned, the heaven over their head became “brass” (Deut 28:23). But when they see the Lord as He is, the cry of a thirsty land will be heard by a heaven that is plenteous with refreshing water.
OBSERVATION. Behold the glorious harmony that accompanies a proper relationship to the Lord. People call to the Lord, and He hears and answers. The heavens who wait to pour forth both spiritual and natural blessings upon the earth are heard, and released by God to do so. There is also a unanimity between the heavens and the earth – a glorious harmony that is effective and refreshing.
This picture is not to be confined to natural benefits. It is a marvelously detailed picture of spiritual blessings. It is possible for such blessings to be withheld from people because of their sin . Those blessings are renewed when the Lord is loved and known.
SENSITIVITY UPON THE EARTH
“ 22 And the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel.”
In this section we are seeing the effect of Divine will. Until God speaks the word, everything remains in a state of deprivation and chaos. If He does not speak to the heavens, they will not yield their blessings. If He does not speak to the rain, it will not fall. If He does not speak to the earth, it will not yield its produce. As it is written, “He watereth the hills from His chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of Thy works. He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; and wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart” (Psa 104:13-15).
The extent of Divine rule is often challenged by the theologies of men, but it is never questioned or diminished by word of the Lord. He is “above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph 4:6). “All things are of God” (2 Cor 5:18), and “of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things” (Rom 11:36). If this was not so, it would not be possible to give Him “thanks for all things” (Eph 5:20). David, the man after God’s own heart, articulated this with remarkable thoroughness. “Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is Thine; Thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and Thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come of Thee, and Thou reignest over all; and in Thine hand is power and might; and in Thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all” (1 Chron 29:11-12). In teaching us “how to pray,” Jesus taught us to speak with the same words (Matt 6:13).
What we are seeing in this text is God orchestrating all the elements of creation for blessing. He is working everything together for the good of His people (Rom 8:28).
THE EARTH SHALL HEAR. Here the earth is said to respond to the grain, vineyards, and oliveyard: “the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine, and to the oil.” NASB All of nature was created with man in mind – to be serviceable to him. Without man, there is no reason for “the earth and the fulness thereof.” Thus, there is some form of inclination in the natural order to be fruitful for humanity. This is no doubt involved in the whole creation waiting for “the manifestation of the sons of God” (Rom 8:19).
Not only was man intended to have “dominion over the works” of God’s hands (Psa 8:6), there is an agreement with this arrangement that is inherent in nature. However, that agreement cannot be exercised apart from the word of the Lord. In this text, the earth listens to the cry of Israel’s crops to be abundant in its harvest – and it answers with an abundance of corn, wine, and oil.
THEY SHALL HEAR JEZREEL. Other versions read, “They shall answer Jezreel,” NKJV and “And they will respond to Jezeel.” NASB “Jezreel” was formerly a name of reproach for Israel. Hosea was commanded to name his second child through Gomer “Jezreel,” for He was going to cause the kingdom of Israel to cease (1:4). During the time of their judgment, the Lord withdrew the corn, wine, and oil (2:9). The earth refused to yield fruit to Israel. But now, that curse would be reversed, and “Jezreel” – the very people from whom fruitage had been withheld – would receive the fruit of the earth in abundance.
Behold the harmony that is created by the Lord. This is a concord that follows spiritual perception and restoration. God hears the heavens. The heavens hear the earth. The earth hears the corn, wine, and oil. The corn, wine, and oil hears the people who know their God. At all levels, whether in the heavens, or among men, the Lord maintains the strictest control. There can be no effective response without His word. Men can seek a harvest, but it will not come independently of the Lord. The fruit of the earth can call out for the earth to yield, but it is not effective without the Lord. The earth may thirst for the heavens to drop down dew and rain, but will wait for a word from the Lord.
There is a parallel between this passage and the circumstances that attend life in Christ Jesus. In order for the blessings of the Lord to be experienced by men, a harmony must exist among the heavenly realms, the angelic hosts, the Holy Spirit, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the people of God. Ultimately, that harmony is brought about through “the knowledge of God,” when the people perceive and embrace the Lord as He really is. Where this knowledge is not found, blessing is aborted.