The Minor Prophets - Part 3

Hosea: The Prophet of the Broken Heart

The Command to the Prophet

He was one of the greatest lovers in the OT, for even his adulterous wife could not kill his love for her.

Ch 1 opens with a command for him to marry a known prostitute.
Hosea 1:1-2 1  The word of the LORD that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.
2  The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD. 
God tells him that this would serve as a sign.  As Hosea will feel the heartbreak of being married to an unfaithful wife, so God feels toward his unfaithful bride, Isarel. In spite of their sins, God still loved them, a picture of His redeeming grace.
Romans 5:8  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Hosea obeyed, and subjected himself to the shame and disgrace of her character.
 

The Children of the Prophet Three children were born. Their names are also symbolic.
 

The Nation Defeated: Jezreel

Hosea 1:4  And the LORD said unto him, Call his name God Sows or Scatters Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel. Hosea 1:5  And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.  Jehu, a king of Israel that destroyed Baal worship in Israel, but was overzealous in killing all the family of Ahab in the Valley of Jezreel. 2 Kings 10:11  So Jehu slew all that remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his great men, and his kinsfolks, and his priests, until he left him none remaining.  God would avenge the deaths of innocent people at the hand of Jehu, and the kingdom would be scattered among the nations.
 

The Nation Deported: Lo-ruhamah

Hosea 1:6-7 6  And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name not pitited Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away. 7  But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen. God would no longer pity Israel, but allow them to be taken by the Assyrians, while showing mercy to Judah. The army of Assyria that destroyed Israel also attacked Judah, but they did not conquer them.  Instead, God miraculously fought on behalf of Judah against Assyria when the angel of the LORD killed 185,000 soldiers in the camp of Assyria in one night.
God’s expression of love is unconditional, but the enjoyment is conditional upon obedience.
1 Peter 2:10  Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
Hosea prophesied during the decline and ultimate destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel in the 8th century. This was when Rome was founded. After the death of Jereboam II, it was anarchy or misrule; kings made their way to the throne through the murder of their predecessors:  Shallum killed Zechariah; Menahem killed Shallum; Pekah killed the son of Menahem; Hoshea killed Pekah. But, after the death of Jereboam II, two of his successors were assassinated, and Assyria would invade and take them into captivity.
 

The Nation Disowned: Lo-Ammi

Hosea 1:8-9 8  Now when she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son. 9  Then said God, Call his name not my people Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God. From his name, this son may not have been Hosea’s. In the same way that Hosea denied being Lo-ammi’s father, God announced His determination to deny having any relationship to apostate Israel. The nation so greatly loved by God had repaid Him with indifference and contempt. She had shown her scorn by embracing the vile religions of the surrounding nations and cleaving to pagan gods with a devotion she never gave to Him.
 

The Nation United

The coming Kingdom will usher in peace and unity. The two houses of Israel, though scattered and rejected, will be reunited under their Messiah. Instead of Jezreel being a place of slaughter, it will be where God’s people will be sowed and restored to their land. Zechariah 10:9  And I will sow them among the people: and they shall remember me in far countries; and they shall live with their children, and turn again.
Hosea 1:10-11 10  Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; as promised to Abraham…Genesis 22:17  

That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
…and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Lo-Ammi Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are Ammi: My people  the sons of the living God.
11  Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.
Hosea 2:1  Say ye unto your brethren, My people Ammi; and to your sisters, My beloved Ruhamah.

Contributed by Pastor Travis Bridgeman
 

Hosea 2.jpg

While the three children teach of God’s graciousness, Gomer teaches of God’s holines.
 

Hosea 2:1-23 1  Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah.

The Minor Prophets - Part 2

Hosea: The Prophet of the Broken Heart

He shows that sin not only breaks God’s law, but also breaks His Heart. Hosea is “Salvation”. Heb. for Joshua – Jesus.

He is the only prophet that lived in the northern kingdom of Israel. He lived during the reign of Jereboam II, who ruled for 40 years. It was a time of military success, but moral failure. The boundaries of Israel were extended. Surrounding nations were fighting each other. Relative peace. With the extended borders came more economic prosperity. This time of peace and prosperity was believed to be a sign of God’s favor. 

Hosea prophesied during the decline and ultimate destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel in the 8th century. This was when Rome was founded.

After the death of Jereboam II, it was anarchy or misrule; kings made their way to the throne through the murder of their predecessors: 

  • Shallum killed Zechariah;
  • Menahem killed Shallum;
  • Pekah killed the son of Menahem;
  • Hoshea killed Pekah.

But, after the death of Jereboam II, two of his successors were assassinated, and Assyria would invade and take them into captivity. Hosea warned of the coming captivity even at a time of prosperity. He lived to see prophecy fulfilled as Israel was carried into captivity by Assyria. Hosea’s message begins with a symbolic marriage.

hosea-and-gomer.jpg

Since the people had refused to hear the words of God,

Hosea was commanded to preach an “action sermon” to show them how they had treated God.

Contributed By Pastor Travis Bridgeman

The Minor Prophets (Part 1)

The Old Testament is divided into three sections:

  • The Law
  • The Prophets  
  • The Writings (which contain the books of wisdom) 

The twelve minor prophets fall into the second division. They are sometimes referred to as “the book of the twelve”.  They were bound together as one book to prevent them from being lost as individual scrolls. They were only minor in terms of their length, not the strength of their message.

  • In the Old Testament, God usually communicated through the priest and the kings, but when they failed he would raise up prophets to call the nation to repentance.
  • These men were drawn from the all ranks and regions of the country. They spoke with divine authority and addressed the moral depravities, social injustices and spiritual apostasies.
  • They were both forth tellers and foretellers. To understand the role of the prophet, we must understand the calling of the nation of Israel.
  • It was the only nation that God ever made a covenant with.
  • They were to be his ambassadors to the world. All other nations would be blessed through contact with them.
  • To highlight this, they were placed at the geographic center of the earth, and were to occupy all of the Middle East. The modern nation of Israel is about the size of New Jersey.

The era of prophecy began with Elijah and ended with John the Baptist.

Matthew 11:13  For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.

The two major divisions are the pre-exilic and postexilic prophets. The prophets warned the nations of Israel and Judah of the coming captivities for their disobedience, recorded the prophecies in written form so they could carry them with them through their captivities and encourage them to rebuild the city and the Temple upon their return from captivity. There were prophets like Elijah and Elisha who performed miracles to back up their words and warnings. No miracles are associated with the twelve minor prophets, other than fulfilled prophecies. The Twelve are not in chronological order. The first was Joel, the last, Malachi. But Biblically we begin with Hosea.

If and Then

There is a principle called cause and effect. Two events or occurrences are linked together. The first is the process or the cause, and is responsible for the second, the results or the effect. The effect is dependent upon the cause.  It is often expressed in terms of “if” and “then”.  

It states the cause or condition to achieve the results or effect. Many of God’s promises are unconditional…based on His love for us and purposes for us…Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
 

But others are conditional, and require something on our part. Revival is one. If we want to see revival, then there are some things we must do.

1 Kings 18:38  Then the fire of the LORD fell, … We want to reverse the process and begin with the effect. We see in our text that the effect here is that the fire of God fell. There was an awareness of and awakening to the Presence of God. That is an apt description of revival. 

We need the fire of God to fall upon us. What produced or caused the effect? Let’s look at the context of our text to find out the cause, or conditions that produced the effect.

During the reign of king Ahab, whom R.G.Lee called "a vile human toad who squatted upon the throne of his nation and his wife Jezebel, the nation of Israel had fallen into idolatry, immorality, deception and despondency."  He was surrounded by 850 false prophets that assured him of God’s approval. But Elijah the prophet appears and announces there will be no rain in the land. 

1 Kings 17:1  And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. 3 ½ years drought follow. Ahab sends Obadiah to seek grass for the livestock. It was then that Obadiah meets the prophet, Elijah.
 

1 Kings 18:1  And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth. As Elijah goes to meet Ahab, he is met by Obadiah.
 

1 Kings 18:7-8 7  And as Obadiah was in the way, behold, Elijah met him: and he knew him, and fell on his face, and said, Art thou that my lord Elijah? 8  And he answered him, I am: go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here.  

Obadiah takes Elijah to Ahab… and here are the three things we see:


1. Elijah Shows Up 1 Kings 18:17-18 17  And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that stir up; disturb troubleth Israel? 18  And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.
 

  • Elijah confronted the government of his day with the truth.
  • He didn’t sugar-coat his words, but called sin, sin. We need some Elijah’s to stand up to ungodly leaders. Today, good is called evil, and evil called good…truth is fallen in the streets.
  •  If we want the fire to fall today we must recognize sin for what it is. 

 2. Elijah’s Show Down Prophets of Baal challenged to call on their gods to show up. Although outnumbered, vs.25 He fearlessly confronted the false prophets. We may feel we are outnumbered, but  if God be for us, who can be against us? Since Baal was the “fire god”, let him answer by fire.  1 Kings 18:26  And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made.

  • No answer because no Baal. 
  • v. 30…repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. Before the fire would fall, there had to be some repairing and rebuilding.
  • The altar had fallen down over time through neglect.
     

3. God Shows Up…Prayer…v.36,37…obedience at thy word…repentence..Thou hast turned their heart back again.

  • v.38..Then the fire of the Lord fell…all was consumed to prevent shrines.
  • v.39 God receives the glory
  • v.40 The people respond…
  • 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 13  If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; 14  If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Contributed By Pastor Travis Bridgeman  

6 Ways to Get Children to Stay Christ Centered

 

In a world that is anything but Christ Centered, it is hard to keep children focused. All of the distractions keep them torn between the physical life and their spiritual life. Here are some tips from Patrica Huffman (A mother of 3 grown children and a veteran AWANA worker) on how to keep children Christ Centered. 

  1. Get them involved in praying for each other
  2. Ask them what they are struggling with
  3. Show them ways to find help in Gods word so they can know the truth
  4. Accountability
  5. Try to love them and see them how Christ does. See them as His wonderful creation made after His likeness.
  6. Stay blessed by their youth