First Baptist Church
Des Moines, NM
This week on the Ministerial Alliance program, Iím going to look at some of the so-called minor prophets- Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, and Jonah. Weíll look at the message they brought to their immediate audience and pay particular attention to how that message reflects the truth and light manifested by Jesus Christ when He came into the world. May God bless this message and may it accurately reflect that truth, to His glory- Amen.
Weíll start with the book of Hosea. The first 3 chapters of Hosea tell the story of the relationship between Hosea and his wife Gomer, while the remaining 11 chapters are Godís charge against Israel. Weíll focus on the first part and then if we have time take a look at some of the charges. In chapter 1 of Hosea, we have God telling Hosea to take a prostitute as a wife. He says:
Hosea 1:2 When the LORD began to speak by Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea: "Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry And children of harlotry, For the land has committed great harlotry By departing from the LORD."
First, itís important to note that God is going to work an example thru Hosea in asking him to marry a "wife of harlotry". He says clearly "for the land has committed great harlotry in departing from the LORD." But secondly, I think itís very interesting that God even asks Hosea to do this. You might think, and itís commonly taught, that God only wants the very best for his children- the best spouses, the best marriages, the best children, the best jobs, and so forth. Again, itís commonly taught that if we donít have these things, itís our fault. Now, we know from the rest of the book that Hoseaís wife is going to cause him emotional stress and the very act of prostitution is not something that God encourages. Yet, here is God telling Hosea to take a wife of harlotry. Whatís the reason for this? Well, one reason is that God does things for one reason and that reason is show His glory. After all, he speaks in Isaiah:
Isaiah 42:8 I am the LORD, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images.
Isaiah 43:7 Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him."
Isaiah 48:11 For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it; For how should My name be profaned? And I will not give My glory to another.
God does things to show His glory and Heís about to use the example of Gomer and Hosea to reflect a certain aspect of himself. Weíll see this develop as we move thru the book of Hosea.
Gomer and Hosea have 3 children and God names them. Of the first He says:
Hosea 1:4 Then the LORD said to him: "Call his name Jezreel, For in a little while I will avenge the bloodshed of Jezreel on the house of Jehu, And bring an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel.
The name "Jezreel" means "scattered" and thatís exactly what God is getting ready to do with Israel. The passage says "I willÖbring an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel." Historically, we know that Israel was indeed scattered and today, the Jews are scattered all over the world.
Of the 2nd child, God says to Hosea:
Hosea 1:6 And she conceived again and bore a daughter. Then God said to him: "Call her name Lo-Ruhamah, For I will no longer have mercy on the house of Israel, But I will utterly take them away.
The name "Lo-Ruhamah" means "no mercy". Again, God relates this to the Israelites when he says "I will no longer have mercy on the house of Israel, but I will utterly take them away." The Israelites have pushed God to the point where He is going to withdraw His protection of them.
What I find very interesting, though, is the next passage which says:
Hosea 1:7 Yet I will have mercy on the house of Judah, Will save them by the LORD their God, And will not save them by bow, Nor by sword or battle, By horses or horsemen."
God says that He will have mercy on the house of Judah and that they will be saved by the Lord, not by bow, sword, or battle. Later on, we know that Jesus is born of the house of Judah and is called, in Revelation 5:5 the "Lion of the tribe of Judah." So, in this passage, I see a strong suggestion of the coming of Jesus Christ.
The 3rd child is named in:
Hosea 1:9 Then God said: "Call his name Lo-Ammi, For you are not My people, And I will not be your God.
Coming to the Israelites, the chosen people of God, this had to sting. But thereís another passage following this one that foreshadows a later time.
Hosea 1:10-11 "Yet the number of the children of Israel Shall be as the sand of the sea, Which cannot be measured or numbered. And it shall come to pass In the place where it was said to them, 'You are not My people,' There it shall be said to them, 'You are sons of the living God.' (11) Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel Shall be gathered together, And appoint for themselves one head; And they shall come up out of the land, For great will be the day of Jezreel!
At some time, "the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together and appoint for themselves one headÖ" To me, as a Christian, this again seems to foretell the coming of the Christ in which all are reconciled. We covered Romans for a couple of years here on KLMX and Paul discussed the fate of Israel in Romans 11. Iíll reach into that section and pull out this passage:
Romans 11:25-27 Ö. blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. (26) And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "THE DELIVERER WILL COME OUT OF ZION, AND HE WILL TURN AWAY UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB; (27) FOR THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS."
The Hosea passage that says "the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together", while the passage from Romans that says "all Israel will be saved". When taken together the two seem to indicate that the Israelites will eventually see Christ as Messiah. In like manner, although God in Hosea is telling them "you are not my people, and I will not be your God", the story isnít over yet.
In Hosea, Gomer eventually leaves Hosea and goes back to her life of prostitution. She thinks that her lovers are providing her with the things of the world, when actually it is Hosea who does that.
Hosea 2:5 Ö For she said, 'I will go after my lovers, Who give me my bread and my water, My wool and my linen, My oil and my drink.'
Hosea 2:8 For she did not know That I gave her grain, new wine, and oil, And multiplied her silver and gold Which they prepared for Baal.
We see Godís mercy in action here. Even while Gomer was prostituting herself, her true love, Hosea was providing for her needs. This is so much like God in that while we chase after the things of the world and ignore God, He still provides for our needs. We credit ourselves, or our jobs, or our government for providing, when actually it is God who provides for us thru those things, and not the things themselves providing.
In the meantime, Gomer has several lovers and ends up lower and lower, until she eventually finds herself on the slave market. In chapter 3 of Hosea:
Hosea 3:1-3 Then the LORD said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the LORD for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans." (2) So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver, and one and one-half homers of barley. (3) And I said to her, "You shall stay with me many days; you shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man- so, too, will I be toward you."
Hosea goes out into the market and buys Gomer for the price of 15 shekels. Thatís roughly $1500-1700 in todayís money. The main point here, though, is that Hosea bought back or redeemed something that was already his. In those days, wives were legally property and Hosea had every right to cast his adulterous wife off or have her stoned to death. The law, in fact, condemned her. But Hosea, thru the grace of God, saw it another way and extended mercy.
Weíre the same way. As I already mentioned, our natural inclination is to pursue anyone but God. We give credit for our existence to evolution, we think that weíre going to fix our problems by applying our own minds to the issue, and spend a lot more time watching TV than we do reading our Bibles or in prayer. In spite of this, God continues to love us and has redeemed us through the payment made by Jesus Christ. Christ didnít die for those who where deserving- he died for those who were enemies of God.
Romans 5:6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
Romans 5:10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
Furthermore, we know that we were previously slaves to sin.
Romans 6:17-18 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. (18) And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
Thatís the picture that we see in Hosea. The straying, wandering, prostitute Gomer is purchased on the slave market. She is delivered from slavery, set free, and becomes a willing slave to her redeemer. Jesus Christ did the same for us, on a much larger scale at an infinitely higher price. And that, folks, is the gospel message in a nutshell. Note that Gomer did not seek redemption herself. It was Hosea who sought her out and Hosea who redeemed her. Perhaps when she was finally on the slave block Gomer recognized her condition, but she certainly gave no indication of it before that point; to the contrary, she embraced her harlotry. Likewise, we were redeemed long before we acknowledge it. Itís that moment of acknowledgment, though, that makes us useful servants to God. When we see what weíve been saved from, when we repent of our former lives of spiritual adultery, and when we decide to live willingly with our Savior is when we have truly turned.
The rest of Hosea contains Godís charges toward the Israelites and some of my favorite passages are therein. Unfortunately, weíre out of time today, so Iíll have to save them for another day. Join us again tomorrow on KLMX at 9:45 am.
Forward to Joel