Hosea reviewed how God had delivered the Israelites/Ephraim from Egypt and how they had ignored Him and had followed the gods of the lands. The Lord is depicted as a loving Father teaching His child to walk; grieving as He gives His child up as lost; a loving Savior desiring to save His people. However, the prophet stated that they would not return to Egypt, but would have Assyria as their king. Even as Israel was forever lost as a nation, Judah would eventually return to God.
The prophet continued his discourse to Israel by reminding them of the life and deeds of their father, Jacob. Many of his possessions had been obtained through deceitful dealings with others. Under King Jeroboam II, Israel had enjoyed a period of prosperity. Much of their prosperity had also been received through deceit. They would soon learn that their riches were emptiness.
Hosea further reminded Israel that during times of repentance, God was pleased. However, they had fallen so deeply into sin that God had turned His back upon them. They must suffer the consequences.
The prophet concluded his message to Israel by pleading with them to, “Return to the Lord your God…” He even tried to put the proper words of a prayer of repentance into their mouths. Hosea ended his plea to Israel with a final exhortation, “Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right; The righteous walk in them, But transgressors stumble in them.”