THE MINOR PROPHETS

 

Bibliography

 

 

English Standard Version Bible

 

Douglas Stuart  Word Biblical Commentary Volume 31    Hosea-Jonah

 

Ralph L. Smith   Word Biblical Commentary Volume 32    Micah-Malachi

 

Samuel J. Schultz  The Old Testament Speaks   

 

January 22, 2018

 

 

Today we begin our study of the Minor Prophets.  There are 12 in all in the Hebrew canon and Christians have carried them over into our Bible.    They are not minor as far as their messages are concerned.  A better translation of the word ‘minor’ could be ‘shorter’.   They are shorter than Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel.  But each has a major message to his audience.  The writings range from around 900 BC to 400 BC.  They are not in chronological order, so it is important that we understand the times of the writings and thereby the context of the messages.  Some of the minor prophets were contemporary with the major prophets and some with each other.  The prophetic messages are consistent among all the prophets, major and minor, and it is important for us to understand their messages because they are completely relevant to the situation the church and we believers face in today’s world.

 

The story of the Bible is one of creation originally followed by the fall.  Adam and Eve were placed in a garden with instructions to care for it and to guard it.  The garden was a temple where Adam could have direct access to God.  Adam failed in his duty to guard the garden and keep it safe.  The two had to be removed from the garden and we now live with the consequences of that fall.  The Bible does not end there, however.  God was ready with plan two.

 

“God’s answer to all of this was a rescue operation, in the form of a holy people who would listen to his voice, learn to praise him correctly, and draw all the nations to right order through the splendor of their way of life. After creation, the Fall, and the consequences of the Fall as described in chapters 1 through 11, chapter 12 of Genesis introduces us to Abraham, the father of Israel, the father of faith. This new Adam figure is the progenitor of a priestly and a kingly people. He and his descendants, from Isaac and Jacob, to David and Solomon, through Isaiah and Ezekiel, would attempt, through the disciplines of Torah, Temple, prophetic speech, kingly rule, and sacred covenant, to restore a properly ordered humanity. The coming together of the priestly and kingly offices is perhaps nowhere better expressed than in the exuberant dance of King David, wearing the ephod of a priest, before the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the tablets of the Law. But the priests of Israel tended to fall into corruption and run after false gods, and the kings of Israel, time and again, betrayed their office. Even the greatest king, David, was an adulterer and murderer. Much of this dissolution is summed up in Ezekiel’s devastating vision, recounted in the tenth chapter of his prophetic book, of the Shekinah, the glory, of Yahweh leaving his Temple and moving toward the east. But the enduring hope of Israel is expressed in that same prophet’s prediction that one day the glory of the Lord would return to his Temple, and on that day water would flow forth from the side of the building for the renewal of creation.” 

(Evangelizing the Nones)

 

 

Below is a brief Old Testament timeline and especially the timeline of Israel. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We will begin our study of the national and religious context of the minor prophets with the kingship of David. The Jewish nation lived from the Exodus until the time of monarch without a king.  God was the king and his prophets guided the people.  The people wanted a king of their own like the other nations so Samuel anointed Saul, the Benjaminite as king.  Unfortunately Saul did not turn out to be the kind of king they had hoped for, so God instructed Samuel to anoint David as king in his place.  Saul reigned forty years from 1050 BC to 1010BC.  

 

 

2 Samuel 7:8-16 Thus says the LORD of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel.  And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth.  And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more.  And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel.  And I will give you rest from all your enemies.  Moreover, the LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house.  When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.  He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son.  When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you.  And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me.  Your throne shall be established forever.’”  In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David.

 

David was initially king over Judah alone, the southern kingdom, but after Saul and Jonathan were killed in battle with the Philistines, and a civil war in which the leaders of Israel were assassinated David became king of Judah and all Israel.    

 

2 Samuel 5:1-5  Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “Behold, we are your bone and flesh.  In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led out and brought in Israel.  And the LORD said to you, ‘You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.’”  So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the LORD, and they anointed David king over Israel.  David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.  At Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and at Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.

 

David began his reign in Hebron, but after 7 years he conquered the Jebusites  who lived in Jerusalem, and established Jerusalem as his capital city.  He reigned forty years from 1010 BC to 970 BC.  He found favor with the Lord and the land grew very rich.  It was located on the trade routes between Africa and the Middle East.  The surrounding nations honored him and Hiram, king of Tyre, built him a palace to live in.  David conquered all the surrounding countries, Edom, Moab, the Ammonites, the Philistines, Amalek and Syria.  David became a powerful king and Israel’s territory ultimately extended from the Euphrates to the Sinai desert.  (This region is now known as the Levant.  The last administration in our country called ISIS, ISIL, the Islamic State in the Levant.)   Its geography placed it on the trade routes between Africa and the middle east .  Because of David’s faithfulness to God the nation became very wealthy as well.  David reigned forty years from 1010 BC to 970 BC.

 

David was succeeded by his son Solomon, and Solomon reigned from 970 BC to 

930 BC.  Solomon reigned over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt.  They brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life (1 Kings 4:21). This was the pinnacle of Israel’s power.  

 

1 Kings 4:29-32 And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon's wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.  For he was wiser than all other men, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol, and his fame was in all the surrounding nations.  He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005.

 

1 Kings 10:23-25 Thus King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom.  And the whole earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put into his mind.  Every one of them brought his present, articles of silver and gold, garments, myrrh, spices, horses, and mules, so much year by year.   

 

2 Chronicles 9:3-4, 9, 10-11, 13-14  And when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, and their clothing, and his burnt offerings that he offered at the house of the LORD, there was no more breath in her.

 

She said: Blessed be the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and set you on his throne as king for the LORD your God! Because your God loved Israel and would establish them forever, he has made you king over them, that you may execute justice and righteousness.”

 

Moreover, the servants of Hiram and the servants of Solomon, who brought gold from Ophir, brought algum wood and precious stones.  And the king made from the algum wood supports for the house of the LORD and for the king's house, lyres also and harps for the singers. There never was seen the like of them before in the land of Judah.

 

Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold, besides that which the explorers and merchants brought. And all the kings of Arabia and the governors of the land brought gold and silver to Solomon.

 

 

 David had made preparations for a Temple to be built in Jerusalem, and Solomon built the Temple (1 Kings 5-7).  The temple was to be a representation of the Garden of Eden and the people were encouraged to return to the original state of Adam, a people who loved and worshiped God.  The Temple became the center of worship for all Israel, and continued to be, except for a brief 70 year period after the Babylonian invasion, until it was destroyed by Titus of Rome in 70 AD.   The Ark was placed in the holy of holies in the Temple.  The Israelites considered Jerusalem to be an indestructible city because the Temple and the Ark of the Lord were there.

 

Solomon ruled well for the first 20 years of his reign.  The nation prospered and became very wealthy.  The nation remained faithful to YHWH and the Temple services ran continually..  The original form of worship and sacrifice as taught in Exodus and Leviticus was finally reinstated after a long lapse.  There was peace in the land from all Israel’s enemies for all of Solomon’s reign.

 

Unfortunately Solomon turned from the Lord in his last 20 years.  He got involved with many foreign women and soon allowed their gods to infiltrate Israel.

 

1 Kings 11:1-8 Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women,  from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.”  Solomon clung to these in love.  He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart.  For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.  For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.  So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and did not wholly follow the LORD, as David his father had done.  Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem.  And so he did for all his foreign wives, who made offerings and sacrificed to their gods.

 

 

The Lord Raises Adversaries

 

1 Kings 11:9-13 And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice  and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods. But he did not keep what the LORD commanded.  Therefore the LORD said to Solomon, “Since this has been your practice and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant.  Yet for the sake of David your father I will not do it in your days, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son.  However, I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son, for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem that I have chosen.”

 

Once Solomon was weakened by his profligate ways, several foci of insurrection developed.  The Bible tells us that it was God himself who raised up the adversaries (1 Kings 11:14-43).  Even Jeroboam, his chief military officer, was told secretly by a prophet that when Solomon died he would become the ruler of the Northern Kingdom, and only Judah and Benjamin would remain in the hands Rehoboam, Solomon’s son.  

 

Solomon reigned from 970 BC-930 BC and he died.  His son, Rehoboam reigned in his stead. (930 BC-916 BC).  Rehoboam turned out to be a foolish young man and the people of the ten Northern Kingdom tribes rejected him as their king.  They proclaimed Jeroboam to be their king and they built Shechem, a city in the hill country of Ephraim, to be their capital city.  Jeroboam rejected the God of Israel and built an altar in Bethel where he made two calves of gold and instituted sacrifices to the pagan gods in the land.  The second golden calf was placed in Dan, the northern limit of the kingdom.        

 

1 Kings 12:12-20   So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king said, “Come to me again the third day.”  And the king answered the people harshly, and forsaking the counsel that the old men had given him,  he spoke to them according to the counsel of the young men, saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.”  So the king did not listen to the people, for it was a turn of affairs brought about by the LORD that he might fulfill his word, which the LORD spoke by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

 

And when all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, “What portion do we have in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, O Israel! Look now to your own house, David.” So Israel went to their tents.  But Rehoboam reigned over the people of Israel who lived in the cities of Judah.  Then King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was taskmaster over the forced labor, and all Israel stoned him to death with stones.  And King Rehoboam hurried to mount his chariot to flee to Jerusalem.  So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.  And when all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. There was none that followed the house of David but the tribe of Judah only.

 

 

 

For the next 200 years, 930 BC to 722 BC, the two kingdoms lived next to each other, but never reunited.  They fought each other and had to fight off  invasions by surrounding nations.  The land of Syria was lost to them and the Sinai peninsula and Negev was lost.  The northern kingdom owned most of the remaining territory and Judah became a small nation state around Jerusalem and extending southward to the Sinai desert.  Judah tended to remain faithful to YHWH for the most part because the Temple was in Jerusalem.  The northern kingdom paid a little lip service to YHWH, but remained mainly a pagan country with many idols and false gods.  Early on a number of Israelites who wanted to remain faithful to YHWH moved into Judah and settled there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kingdom Divided

 

 

The Northern Kingdom never had a king that worshiped Jehovah.  Jeroboam  was Davids commander-in-chief, but when he was selected to be king of the Northern Kingdom he repudiated YHWH and immediately set up golden calves for his people to worship.  Better known northern kings were Omri, Ahab, Jehu, Jehoahaz and Jeroboam II, Pekah and Hosea.  Omri did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did more evil than all who were before him.  He held that record until his son, Ahab, began to reign, and he beat his father’s record of evil doing.  Jehu killed Ahab and Jezebel and all their sons and daughters and all the household of Omri, and became king of Israel.  There was a fairly rapid succession of kings after Jehu leading up to the fall of the Northern Kingdom to an Assyrian invasion on 722BC that destroyed the Northern Kingdom.  The ten tribes of Israel were taken to Assyria as slaves and scattered throughout the middle east and even into India.  They are the ten lost tribes.  He repopulated the land with peoples from many lands (2 kings 17:24-34).  These people became known as Samaritans in New Testament times. 

 

As the division was happening in Israel, Assyria was growing into a world power.  In 733-732 BC Tiglath-Pilezer III invaded and conquered Syria.  He sent raiding parties into Israel and collected tribute from her.  Finally in 722 BC he invaded and conquered the Northern Kingdom.  

 

 

In 701 BC Sennacherib, his successor, invaded Judah.  Hezekiah was king and Isaiah was the prophet at that time.  Both were faithful to YHWH, and they prayed for deliverance.   The Lord answered by sending an angel into the Assyrian camp that killed 185,000 of the troops.  Sennacherib departs and went home and lived at Nineveh (2 Kings 19:35-36).  You can see on the map that Judah never became a part of the Assyrian empire that reached from the Persian Gulf to Egypt. 

  

By 615 BC the Assyrian kingdom was in decline and was conquered by the resurgent kingdom of Babylonia when Nebuchadnezzar II defeated Pharaoh Neco, who had come up from Egypt to assist the Assyrians, in the battle at Carchemish in 605 BC.  Nebuchadnezzar was now to become the most powerful ruler in the world.  He immediately turned his eyes on Egypt and in going there assaulted Judah. 

 

Judah, for the most part, remained faithful to YHWH.  The Temple worship in Jerusalem continued the whole time.  Some of the good kings in Judah, ones that drove out the pagan gods and restored true worship of YHWH, were Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joash, Hezekiah, Josiah, etc.   Several were evil and the temple fell into disrepair.  But none were as evil as Manasseh, who reigned for 52 years.  Judah was never able to recover from his evil reign, even with the reforms of Josiah.  Judah was doomed to fall to the Babylonian invasion in 586 BC. 

 

Josiah became king of Judah after Manasseh.  He brought about a total revival in the land.  The Torah was rediscovered in the neglected Temple and was read to all the people.  True worship and the Passover was started again.  Unfortunately Josiah died in battle with Pharaoh Neco when he tried to stop Egypt from going to the rescue of the Assyrians. 

 

2 Kings 23:24-27 Moreover, Josiah put away the mediums and the necromancers and the household gods and the idols and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, that he might establish the words of the law that were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD.  Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the LORD with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him.

 Still the LORD did not turn from the burning of his great wrath, by which his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked him.  And the LORD said, “I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and I will cast off this city that I have chosen, Jerusalem, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there.”

 

In 586 BC Jerusalem fell to the Babylonia invasion and the people of Judah were taken captive to Babylon for the next 70 years.  Jeremiah was the prophet in Israel when it fell and Ezekiel was the prophet in Babylon to the exiles.  Daniel was in the Babylonian court while all this was happening. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Babylonian kingdom fell to the Persians in 539 BC.  Cyrus was the king of Persia.  The LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus to make this proclamation. 

 

Ezra 1:2-4 “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.  Whoever is among you of all his people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the LORD, the God of Israel—he is the God who is in Jerusalem.  And let each survivor, in whatever place he sojourns, be assisted by the men of his place with silver and gold, with goods and with beasts, besides freewill offerings for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.”

 

Many of the exiles returned.  Jerusalem was restored, the walls were rebuilt, the Temple was reconstructed and it remained intact until the Roman invasion of Jerusalem in 70 AD.  The Bible covers the history of Israel until about 400 BC.  The Minor Prophets also will cover the period until 400 BC.  There will be a four hundred year period without canonical literature until the coming of the promised Messiah at round 4 BC.

 

All of this—and I am but touching on highlights—is the necessary background for understanding the role and times of the minor prophets.  It is important to see how interactive God has been through this historical period.  He spoke to the kings of both kingdoms directly and through his prophets.  He blessed the nations when they were faithful in worship and obedience, and brought disaster when his ways were rejected.  As we study the minor prophet we should realize that God is as interested in us as he was in Israel in Biblical times.  He is still looking for everyone who will seek after him, worship him, love him and follow his teachings.   With the coming of Jesus he has defined a new kingdom, and we are invited to join him in it.

 

Next week we will begin the study of Hosea

HOSEA

 

 

Hosea, son of Beeri, was a prophet to the Northern Kingdom between 750 – 722 BC.  He lived in a time of rapid religious and moral decline, and political collapse.  In 722 BC the Northern Kingdom was invaded by Assyria, and the people were carried off as slaves and scattered throughout the mid-east, never to return again to the land.  They became the ten lost tribes.  His message was one of warning of their impending fate unless they repented and changed their ways.  There are significant parallels with our country today.

 

Last week we looked at the timeline of Israel from David to the fall of both Israel and Judah.  Hosea appears near the end of the Northern Kingdom, around 760 BC and will be ministering to both the northern Kingdom and to Judah until the fall of the Northern kingdom to the Assyrian invasion in 722 BC.

 

We know very little about Hosea outside of what we read in the book with his name.  He was the son of Beeri.  There is a town in the territory of Benjamin near Bethel called Beeroth.  It is possible that this was Hosea’s hometown.  It is near the border of Judah and the northern Kingdom.  Hosea would have access to both nations from this location.  We know almost nothing more about him or where he ministered.  He was ignored initially and resented later.  A small group of Northerners who remained faithful toYHWH probably appreciated his message.  

 

His message was an affirmation of the Mosaic covenant.  He did not have any other esoteric prophetic message.  Both nations knew, or should have known, the terms of the covenant.  The covenant contained blessings based on obedience to the covenant and curses for disobedience.  These are codified best in Deuteronomy 27-30.

 

27:1-3 Now Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, “Keep the whole commandment that I command you today.  And on the day you cross over the Jordan to the land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall set up large stones and plaster them with plaster.  And you shall write on them all the words of this law, when you cross over to enter the land that the LORD your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you. 

 

28:1-14 “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.  And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God.  Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field.  Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock.  Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.  Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.

 “The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.  The LORD will command the blessing on you in your barns and in all that you undertake. And he will bless you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.  The LORD will establish you as a people holy to himself, as he has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in his ways.  And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they shall be afraid of you.  And the LORD will make you abound in prosperity, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your livestock and in the fruit of your ground, within the land that the LORD swore to your fathers to give you.  The LORD will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.  And the LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall only go up and not down, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, being careful to do them, and if you do not turn aside from any of the words that I command you today, to the right hand or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

 

 

 

28:15-37 “But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you.  Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field.  Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.  Cursed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock.  Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out.

 “The LORD will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me.  The LORD will make the pestilence stick to you until he has consumed you off the land that you are entering to take possession of it.  The LORD will strike you with wasting disease and with fever, inflammation and fiery heat, and with drought and with blight and with mildew. They shall pursue you until you perish.  And the heavens over your head shall be bronze, and the earth under you shall be iron.  The LORD will make the rain of your land powder. From heaven dust shall come down on you until you are destroyed.

 “The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You shall go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them. And you shall be a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth.  And your dead body shall be food for all birds of the air and for the beasts of the earth, and there shall be no one to frighten them away.  The LORD will strike you with the boils of Egypt, and with tumors and scabs and itch, of which you cannot be healed.  The LORD will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of mind, and you shall grope at noonday, as the blind grope in darkness, and you shall not prosper in your ways. And you shall be only oppressed and robbed continually, and there shall be no one to help you.  You shall betroth a wife, but another man shall ravish her. You shall build a house, but you shall not dwell in it. You shall plant a vineyard, but you shall not enjoy its fruit.  Your ox shall be slaughtered before your eyes, but you shall not eat any of it. Your donkey shall be seized before your face, but shall not be restored to you. Your sheep shall be given to your enemies, but there shall be no one to help you.  Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, while your eyes look on and fail with longing for them all day long, but you shall be helpless.  A nation that you have not known shall eat up the fruit of your ground and of all your labors, and you shall be only oppressed and crushed continually,  so that you are driven mad by the sights that your eyes see.  The LORD will strike you on the knees and on the legs with grievous boils of which you cannot be healed, from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head.

 “The LORD will bring you and your king whom you set over you to a nation that neither you nor your fathers have known. And there you shall serve other gods of wood and stone.  And you shall become a horror, a proverb, and a byword among all the peoples where the LORD will lead you away. 

 

28:45-50 “All these curses shall come upon you and pursue you and overtake you till you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that he commanded you.  They shall be a sign and a wonder against you and your offspring forever.  Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, because of the abundance of all things,  therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the LORD will send against you, in hunger and thirst, in nakedness, and lacking everything. And he will put a yoke of iron on your neck until he has destroyed you.  The LORD will bring a nation against you from far away, from the end of the earth, swooping down like the eagle, a nation whose language you do not understand, a hard-faced nation who shall not respect the old or show mercy to the young.

 

28:58-65 “If you are not careful to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, the LORD your God, then the LORD will bring on you and your offspring extraordinary afflictions, afflictions severe and lasting, and sicknesses grievous and lasting.  And he will bring upon you again all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you.  Every sickness also and every affliction that is not recorded in the book of this law, the LORD will bring upon you, until you are destroyed.  Whereas you were as numerous as the stars of heaven, you shall be left few in number, because you did not obey the voice of the LORD your God.  And as the LORD took delight in doing you good and multiplying you, so the LORD will take delight in bringing ruin upon you and destroying you. And you shall be plucked off the land that you are entering to take possession of it.

 “And the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known.  And among these nations you shall find no respite, and there shall be no resting place for the sole of your foot, but the LORD will give you there a trembling heart and failing eyes and a languishing soul. 

 

 

 

 

30:11-20 “For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off.  It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’  Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’  But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.

“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil.  If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.  But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them,  I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess.  I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,  loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”

 

I am spending all this time on God’s Covenant with Israel, because the same rules apply to all peoples and ought to be appropriated by our country now as they were at our founding.

 

 

Historical setting   

Hosea’s commission was to bring very bad news to the Northern Kingdom.  Jeroboam II was the king (793BC-753BC).  The Jehu dynasty began in 842 BC when Ahab and all the members of the Omri clan were killed by Jehu, who then became king of Israel.  Unfortunately the Jehu family did not return to the Lord.  Soon Jeroboam II will be killed (953 BC), and the Jehu dynasty will come to an end.  It was the longest dynasty in the Northern Kingdom.  There will be no other.  There will be a series of six kings of the North, all of whom die by assassination.  Hosea will be pastor and prophet to all of them.  He was greeted with complacency at first, but when Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria appeared in 745 BC in his conquest of Syria, the complacency turned to desperation domestically and in foreign affairs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hos. 1:1 The word of the LORD that came to 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. 

 

Uzziah was King in Judah when Hosea began his ministry.  We know that Isaiah was prophet at that time as well, as we read in Isaiah 6: In the year King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of his robe filled the Temple.  Hosea’s ministry continued into the reign of Hezekiah.   Hezekiah was King of Judah when Assyria invaded again under Sennacherib on 702 BC.   Isaiah was the prophet to Judah and Hosea was primarily speaking to the Northern Kingdom.

 

 

Hos. 1:2-3 When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD.” 

So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. 

 

Many teach that God commanded Hosea to marry a prostitute.  That is probably a wrong interpretation.  To take a wife of whoredom probably means to marry a woman of the Northern Kingdom, the apostate Israel.  God’s relationship to his people in the OT is one of husband and wife.  In the NT the church is being prepared to be the bride of Christ.  Here prostitution is scandalous unfaithfulness to God’s covenant.  Prostitution is Hosea’s most common metaphor for covenant infidelity.

 

 

Hos. 1:4-5  And the LORD said to him, “Call his name Jezreel, for in just a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel.  And on that day I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel.”

 

The name Jezreel means ‘God sows’.  In this case God sows judgment, not blessing.

 Jezreel is also a place name of a valley between the Samaria highlands and the Galilee highlands where Jehu slaughtered the family of Ahab and the Omni dynasty in 842 BC, 100 years earlier.  The Jezreel valley is also the valley of Megiddo where Israel was finally defeated by the Assyrian army.  It is also the valley in prophesy known to us as Armageddon (Revelation 16:16).

 

Hos. 1:6-9  She conceived again and bore a daughter. And the LORD said to him, “Call her name No Mercy [Lo-ruhama], for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all.  But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the LORD their God. I will not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen.”   When she had weaned No Mercy, she conceived and bore a son.  And the LORD said, “Call his name Not My People [Lo-ammi], for you are not my people, and I am not your God.”

 

The fate of Israel is set.  There will be no more chance for redemption.  The course in inexorably headed to 722 BC.  The nation will be no more.

 

Interestingly  verse 7 addresses Judah in the middle of this judgment of Israel.  Judah will be spared.  Assyria will not conquer Judah.  But Judah’s salvation will not come through her military prowess, but entirely by the intervention of God.  We discussed this last week.  As a reminder, this is how it happened.  (See 2 Kings 18:13-19:37)

 

2 Kings 19:35-37 And that night the angel of the LORD went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies.  Then Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went home and lived at Nineveh.  And as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, Adrammelech and Sharezer, his sons, struck him down with the sword and escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his place.

 

Hos. 1:10-11  Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children of the living God.”  And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head. And they shall go up from the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel. 

 

The might God of all creation is also a ‘softie’.  He must bring judgment because he is a righteous and just God, but he cannot forget the people of his covenant.  Therefore, Hosea follows his message of judgment with this gentle and loving message from God, that the people will be restored and Israel and Judah will be reunited and returned to the Promised Land.  Today we know that this will happen in the new kingdom under the Messiah, Jesus, the Christ.

 

Some  teach that God is finished with the Jews and the church is the new Israel.  Hosea, Isaiah, Ezekiel and many other prophets refute this, as does Paul in 

Romans 9

 

 Interestingly, President Trump affirmed this when he said the United States will move its embassy to Jerusalem by the end of 2019, and Vice President Pence, in his message to the Knesset last week, affirmed the American expectation of the physical restoration of Israel in the Holy Land.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hosea’s Poem  

 

Hos. 2:1-15 Say to your brothers, “You are my people,” and to your sisters, “You have received mercy.” 

“Plead with your mother, plead—

for she is not my wife,

and I am not her husband—

that she put away her whoring from her face,

and her adultery from between her breasts; 

lest I strip her naked

and make her as in the day she was born,

and make her like a wilderness,

and make her like a parched land,

and kill her with thirst. 

Upon her children also I will have no mercy,

because they are children of whoredom. 

For their mother has played the whore;

she who conceived them has acted shamefully.

For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers,

who give me my bread and my water,

my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’ 

Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns,

and I will build a wall against her,

so that she cannot find her paths. 

She shall pursue her lovers

but not overtake them,

and she shall seek them

but shall not find them.

Then she shall say, ‘I will go and return to my first husband,

for it was better for me then than now.’ 

And she did not know

that it was I who gave her

the grain, the wine, and the oil,

and who lavished on her silver and gold,

which they used for Baal. 

Therefore I will take back

my grain in its time,

and my wine in its season,

and I will take away my wool and my flax,

which were to cover her nakedness. 

Now I will uncover her lewdness

in the sight of her lovers,

and no one shall rescue her out of my hand. 

And I will put an end to all her mirth,

her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths,

and all her appointed feasts. 

And I will lay waste her vines and her fig trees,

of which she said,

‘These are my wages,

which my lovers have given me.’

I will make them a forest,

and the beasts of the field shall devour them. 

And I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals

when she burned offerings to them

and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry,

and went after her lovers

and forgot me, declares the LORD. 

 

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,

and bring her into the wilderness,

and speak tenderly to her. 

And there I will give her her vineyards

and make the Valley of Achor* a door of hope.

And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth,

as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt. 

*Valley of tears, trouble

 

Hos. 2:16-20 “And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’  For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more.  And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety.  And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy.  I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD. 

 

Hos. 2:21-23  “And in that day I will answer, declares the LORD, 

I will answer the heavens,

and they shall answer the earth, 

and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil,

and they shall answer Jezreel, 

and I will sow her for myself in the land.

And I will have mercy on No Mercy,

and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’;

and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’ ” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eight Theses on Sex        

First Things, February 2018, Hans Boersma

J. I. Packer Professor of Theology at Regent College

 

  1. Sex is searching for God

Sexual union is a symbol or a sacrament of union with Christ.  Ephesians 5:32

 

2.  God invents sex

God said to Adam and Eve be fruitful and multiply.  Genesis 1:28

He invented weddings.  Our relationship with God is as bride and bridegroom.  Human love is patterned by God’s love for us.

 

3.  Sex is not God

Sex should not be our god.  It should not be ultimate in our lives.  It is an important aspect of human life, but our union with Christ is the ultimate relationship goal of life.  Self denial is an important element of the Christian life.

 

4.  God is chastity

The way we treat sex says a great deal about how we think about God.  Jesus says only the pure in heart can see God.  Matthew 5:8

 

5.  Sex is temporary

Sex and marriage are institutions for this life only.  Jesus aid those raised from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Luke 20:35  Marriage is sacramental, and sacraments are a means to a greater end, that is an eternal union with Christ.  

 

6.  Disordered desire makes for disordered sex

Problems related to sex are primarily problems of the mind.    It is our disordered desires that lead us astray.  Erotic pictures misdirect our minds from our relationship with Christ.

 

7.  Fallen bodies make for fallen sex

Our equality is disordered because of the fall.  Today’s gender issues, homosexuality, pornography, etc are distortions brought about because our minds are distorted.  Our fallen bodies will be sown into the ground after death, and we will be raised with new spiritual bodies. 1 Cor. 15:42-2-44

 

8.  Sex leads to kids

The primary purpose of sex is to make children.  This is obvious in nature.  Animals do not appear to have disordered sex.  It is a disorder of man, made in the image of God, but distorted by the fall.  Sex as an expression of love bears fruit, and the fruit is our children.  Children are a blessing throughout the Bible, and the Psalmist says it is a joy to have a quiver full of them (Psalm 127:5), or like olive shots around your table (Psalm 28:3).

HOSEA 3:1-6:11         Israel is Taken Court February 5, 2018

 

 

Last week we saw that God asked Hosea to marry a women of whoredom.  She probably was not a prostitute, but was a citizen of the Northern Kingdom that the Lord declared to be an adulterous nation.  We discussed the extensive use of marriage, husband and wife, suitor and bride throughout the whole Bible.  We  suggested that our disordered sexuality is a product of our disordered minds brought about by the fall.  God had planned a perfect union of Adam and Eve in a holy temple called the Garden of Eden.  

 

When that plan failed he went to plan two, to create a holy nation through a righteous man named Abraham.  It was a difficult task with many ups and downs, but worked out fairly well through the reign of David in the Promised Land.  This land was to be the new temple.  It was a good idea for a while, but finally fell apart during the reign of Solomon.  The prime cause of the failure of the nation was Solomon’s sexual appetite.  This is very interesting in light of the sexualization of our nation today.  

 

Today’s lesson begins with Hosea redeeming a wayward woman.  She could be Gomer, but we do not have documentation of that.  Hosea is a living, physical parable, much like Ezekiel did when he lay mute and on his left side in his house in Babylon by the Chebar canal for 390 days, as a sign of the punishment Judah will be experiencing soon.

 

After this brief interlude, Hosea begins to explain God’s legal case against the land.  We will see accusations in the court room.  There will be witnesses and there will be a judge.  At the end sentence will be pronounced.

 

Hos. 3:1-5 And the LORD said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.”  So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley. 

And I said to her, “You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.” 

For the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or household gods. 

Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the LORD and to his goodness in the latter days.

We do not hear of Gomer again.  This probably is another woman, and one who is definitely an outwardly immoral person.  Her adultery is real.  Hosea is a type of God in that he is asked to love a wayward woman even as God continues to love his wayward children.  The woman must remain chaste all the while she is with Homer even as all her physical means of support are taken away.  In the end she shall return and seek the Lord.  Note the use of ‘love’ four times in the first verse.  It includes divine love, agape, parental love, storge, general human or brotherly love, philos, and ‘eros’, romantic love.  The adulteress has distorted the four loves, and instead loves her adultery and Baal worship (raisin cakes) (Jeremiah 44:15-19).  Her love is selfish, self-indulgent and pleasure oriented.

God’s love is noble, unselfish, long-suffering, generous, and protective.  There will be a day when God’s wayward people will return to him under the rule of David their king.  This David will be Jesus, the Messiah.

 

 

God’s Legal Case against his Chosen People

 

 

The accusation against the land

 

Hos. 4:1-3 Hear the word of the LORD, O children of Israel,

for the LORD has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land.

There is no faithfulness or steadfast love,

and no knowledge of God in the land; 

there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery;

they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. 

Therefore the land mourns,

and all who dwell in it languish,

and also the beasts of the field

and the birds of the heavens,

and even the fish of the sea are taken away. 

 

Israel is taken to court and God registers his complaint.  Israel’s sin not only affects the people, but affects the land as well.  Each section will contain an accusation, evidence to support the accusation, and a judgment.

 

Jeremiah 9:23-26 Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches,  but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”

 

 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will punish all those who are circumcised merely in the flesh—  Egypt, Judah, Edom, the sons of Ammon, Moab, and all who dwell in the desert who cut the corners of their hair, for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in heart.”

 

    

 

 

The accusation against  the priesthood

 

Hos. 4:4-9 Yet let no one contend,

and let none accuse,

for with you is my contention, O priest. 

You shall stumble by day;

the prophet also shall stumble with you by night;

and I will destroy your mother. 

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;

because you have rejected knowledge,

I reject you from being a priest to me.

And since you have forgotten the law of your God,

I also will forget your children. 

 

  The more they increased,

the more they sinned against me;

I will change their glory into shame. 

They feed on the sin of my people;

they are greedy for their iniquity. 

And it shall be like people, like priest;

I will punish them for their ways

and repay them for their deeds. 

 

The people have gone astray, but the priesthood bears much of the responsibility.  The priests are singled out for special punishment.  This is repeated for the leadership of the church in the New Testament: Luke 12:48,  Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much they will demand more.

 

Deut. 32:15-18 “But Jeshurun grew fat, and kicked;

you grew fat, stout, and sleek;

then he forsook God who made him

and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation.

They stirred him to jealousy with strange gods;

with abominations they provoked him to anger.

 

They sacrificed to demons that were no gods,

to gods they had never known,

to new gods that had come recently,

whom your fathers had never dreaded.

You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you,

and you forgot the God who gave you birth.

(See Leviticus 4:1-12)

 

 

 

 

 

The accusation against the false cult

 

Hos. 4:10-14 They shall eat, but not be satisfied;

they shall play the whore, but not multiply,

because they have forsaken the LORD

to cherish whoredom, wine, and new wine,

which take away the understanding. 

My people inquire of a piece of wood,

and their walking staff gives them oracles.

For a spirit of whoredom has led them astray,

and they have left their God to play the whore. 

They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains

and burn offerings on the hills,

under oak, poplar, and terebinth,

because their shade is good.

Therefore your daughters play the whore,

and your brides commit adultery. 

I will not punish your daughters when they play the whore,

nor your brides when they commit adultery;

for the men themselves go aside with prostitutes

and sacrifice with cult prostitutes,

and a people without understanding shall come to ruin. 

 

Hunger and infertility are listed among the punishments in Deuteronomy 28:17-18.  Israel finds God’s strict morality oppressive, and prefers the moral freedom provided by the pagan cults.  Many of the cults practiced ritualistic prostitution in the places of worship, including male prostitutes (1 Kings 14:22-24).  In light of this, it is interesting to watch the rise of homosexuality  and the aggressive demand of approval for multiple genders in our land today.

 

The fall of the false cult                             

 

Hos. 4:15-19  Though you play the whore, O Israel,

let not Judah become guilty.

Enter not into Gilgal,

nor go up to Beth-aven,

and swear not, “As the LORD lives.” 

Like a stubborn heifer,

Israel is stubborn;

can the LORD now feed them

like a lamb in a broad pasture? 

 

  Ephraim is joined to idols;

leave him alone. 

When their drink is gone, they give themselves to whoring;

their rulers dearly love shame. 

A wind has wrapped them in its wings,

and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices. 

 

Beth-aven is a derogatory nickname for Bethel, which means the house of God (See Genesis 28:10-22).

 

1  Kings 12:25-33 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there. And he went out from there and built Penuel. And Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom will turn back to the house of David. If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the temple of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn again to their lord, to Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.” So the king took counsel and made two calves of gold. And he said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.” And he set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. Then this thing became a sin, for the people went as far as Dan to be before one. He also made temples on high places and appointed priests from among all the people, who were not of the Levites. And Jeroboam appointed a feast on the fifteenth day of the eighth month like the feast that was in Judah, and he offered sacrifices on the altar. So he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he made. And he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places that he had made. He went up to the altar that he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, in the month that he had devised from his own heart. And he instituted a feast for the people of Israel and went up to the altar to make offerings.

 

God’s covenant people are called to court and found in violation of the Covenant.  They are sentenced to destruction.  The sentence is based on the stipulations of blessings and curses we read last week in Deuteronomy 28-33.  The people had drifted so far away from knowledge of the Covenant they no longer knew God at all.

 

Summons to Israel’s leadership

 

Hos. 5:1-2 Hear this, O priests! Pay attention, O house of Israel!

Give ear, O house of the king!

For the judgment is for you;

for you have been a snare at Mizpah

and a net spread upon Tabor. 

 

And the revolters have gone deep into slaughter,

but I will discipline all of them. 

 

The priests, the people themselves, and the King are all being told that judgment is on the way.  There is no escape, whether in the city or in the country.

The nation’s government and religion were established by God to protect and benefit the people, but instead, they have preyed upon the people, and the leadership is corrupting the people.

 

Evidence against Israel

 

Hos. 5:3-4  I know Ephraim,

and Israel is not hidden from me;

for now, O Ephraim, you have played the whore;

Israel is defiled. 

Their deeds do not permit them

to return to their God.

For the spirit of whoredom is within them,

and they know not the LORD. 

 

 The spirit of whoredom is the orientation of the people,not the actions of individuals.  It is this orientation that keeps the people from knowing God.  How foolish the nation is to think that somehow what it does could escape YHWH’s attention.

 

Judgment against Israel and Ephraim

 

Hos. 5:5-7 The pride of Israel testifies to his face;

Israel and Ephraim shall stumble in his guilt;

Judah also shall stumble with them. 

With their flocks and herds they shall go

to seek the LORD,

but they will not find him;

he has withdrawn from them. 

They have dealt faithlessly with the LORD;

for they have borne alien children.

Now the new moon shall devour them with their fields. 

 

To seek the Lord with flocks and herds means to bring sacrifices to God.  But he will not acknowledge such sacrifices.  This is a  perennial issue.  Samuel reprimanded Saul for the same thing.

 

1 Samuel 15:22-23 And Samuel said,

“Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,

as in obeying the voice of the LORD?

Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.

 

For rebellion is as the sin of divination,

and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.

Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,

he has also rejected you from being king.”

The watchman sounds the alarm

 

Hos. 5:8-11  Blow the horn in Gibeah,

the trumpet in Ramah.

Sound the alarm at Beth-aven;

we follow you, O Benjamin! 

Ephraim shall become a desolation

in the day of punishment;

among the tribes of Israel

I make known what is sure. 

The princes of Judah have become

like those who move the landmark;

upon them I will pour out

my wrath like water. 

Ephraim is oppressed, crushed in judgment,

because he was determined to go after filth. 

 

Interestingly, after Samuel met with Saul for the last time, Saul went to Gibeah and Samuel to Ramah.  They never saw each other again.

 

1 Samuel 15:35 Then Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul.  And Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the LORD regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel.

 

The message alarm is to be sounded throughout the land.  The end is near.  Even Judah is warned by Hosea, even though he is a prophet to Israel.

 

God will harm Ephraim and Judah

 

Hos. 5:12-15 But I am like a moth to Ephraim,

and like dry rot to the house of Judah. 

When Ephraim saw his sickness,

and Judah his wound,

then Ephraim went to Assyria,

and sent to the great king.

But he is not able to cure you

or heal your wound. 

For I will be like a lion to Ephraim,

and like a young lion to the house of Judah.

I, even I, will tear and go away;

I will carry off, and no one shall rescue. 

I will return again to my place,

until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face,

and in their distress earnestly seek me. 

 

The northern Kingdom went through a series of kings after Jeroboam II died.  Zechariah reigned 6 months.  Shallum assassinated him and reigned one month.  Menahem killed Shallum and reigned for 10 years.  Assyria sent envoys to Israel during his reign and Menahem confiscated the wealth of all the rich men in the country to pay off the king of Assyria to keep him from invading.  Apparently he died a natural death and his son Pekahiah ascended to the throne.  He only lasted 2 years before he was assassinated by the son of his commander-in-chief named Pekah.  Pekah reigned 20 years, 752 BC - 732 BC.  In 10 more years the country would no longer exist.

 

He decided to invade Judah in an alliance with Rezin, the king of Syria, to try to force Ahaz, king of Judah to join their alliance against Assyria.  Ahaz called to Assyria to protect Judah from Rezin and Pekah.  This led to Assyrian conquest of Syria and Assyrian invasion and conquest of much territory in Israel.  This history is found in 

2 Kings 15-16.

 

 

Eight Theses on Sex        

First Things, February 2018, Hans Boersma

J. I. Packer Professor of Theology at Regent College

 

  1. Sex is searching for God

Sexual union is a symbol or a sacrament of union with Christ.  Ephesians 5:32

 

2.  God invents sex

God said to Adam and Eve be fruitful and multiply.  Genesis 1:28

He invented weddings.  Our relationship with God is as bride and bridegroom.  Human love is patterned by God’s love for us.

 

3.  Sex is not God

Sex should not be our god.  It should not be ultimate in our lives.  It is an important aspect of human life, but our union with Christ is the ultimate relationship goal of life.  Self denial is an important element of the Christian life.

 

4.  God is chastity

The way we treat sex says a great deal about how we think about God.  Jesus says only the pure in heart can see God.  Matthew 5:8

 

5.  Sex is temporary

Sex and marriage are institutions for this life only.  Jesus aid those raised from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Luke 20:35  Marriage is sacramental, and sacraments are a means to a greater end, that is an eternal union with Christ.  

 

6.  Disordered desire makes for disordered sex

Problems related to sex are primarily problems of the mind.    It is our disordered desires that lead us astray.  Erotic pictures misdirect our minds from our relationship with Christ.

 

7.  Fallen bodies make for fallen sex

Our equality is disordered because of the fall.  Today’s gender issues, homosexuality, pornography, etc are distortions brought about because our minds are distorted.  Our fallen bodies will be sown into the ground after death, and we will be raised with new spiritual bodies. 1 Cor. 15:42-2-44

 

8.  Sex leads to kids

The primary purpose of sex is to make children.  This is obvious in nature.  Animals do not appear to have disordered sex.  It is a disorder of man, made in the image of God, but distorted by the fall.  Sex as an expression of love bears fruit, and the fruit is our children.  Children are a blessing throughout the Bible, and the Psalmist says it is a joy to have a quiver full of them (Psalm 127:5), or like olive shots around your table (Psalm 28:3).

 

 

 

Our study ends here today.  We could go further, but it is 10 o'clock on Saturday night and it is time for bed.

Hosea 6:1-8:14              The Trial Continues February 12, 2018

 

 

We are still in the courtroom.  The people of Israel thought they could please God with their ritualistic and formal religion, regardless of the condition of their hearts.  They could pay some lip-service to YHWH, but their real love was the Baals.  We find this same attitude in Judah in the time of Jeremiah.

 

Jeremiah 44:15-19 Then all the men who knew that their wives had made offerings to other gods, and all the women who stood by, a great assembly, all the people who lived in Pathros in the land of Egypt, answered Jeremiah: “As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the LORD, we will not listen to you.  But we will do everything that we have vowed, make offerings to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we did, both we and our fathers, our kings and our officials, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem.  For then we had plenty of food, and prospered, and saw no disaster.  But since we left off making offerings to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine.”  And the women said, “When we made offerings to the queen of heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, was it without our husbands' approval that we made cakes for her bearing her image and poured out drink offerings to her?”

 

But they could not fool YHWH, so they are sitting in the courtroom now before the righteous judge.  The case is being presented and judgment is still to come.

 

Restoration promised

 

Hos. 6:1-3  “Come, let us return to the LORD;

for he has torn us, that he may heal us;

he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. 

  After two days he will revive us;

on the third day he will raise us up,

that we may live before him. 

Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD;

his going out is sure as the dawn;

he will come to us as the showers,

as the spring rains that water the earth.”

 

There are some faithful orthodox believers in the courtroom.  They hear the words of Hosea and are responding to him in faith.  In every age God has a faithful remnant.  Remember Elijah complaint that he was the only faithful believer left in the land.

 

1 kings 19:13-18 And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.  And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”  He said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts.  For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”  And the LORD said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus.  And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria.  And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place.  And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death.  Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

 

The disloyalty of Ephraim and Judah

 

Hos. 6:4-10  What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?

What shall I do with you, O Judah?

Your love is like a morning cloud,

like the dew that goes early away. 

Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets;

I have slain them by the words of my mouth,

and my judgment goes forth as the light. 

For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,

the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. 

  But like Adam they transgressed the covenant;

there they dealt faithlessly with me. 

Gilead is a city of evildoers,

tracked with blood. 

As robbers lie in wait for a man,

so the priests band together;

they murder on the way to Shechem;

they commit villainy. 

In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing;

Ephraim’s whoredom is there; Israel is defiled. 

 

There is no continuing loyalty in Israel or in Judah.  Their faithfulness is like the morning fog.  The draw away from YHWH is too great, but the consequences are very severe.

 

Here is a good memory verse for us.  It is repeated throughout the Bible.

 

Hosea 6:6   For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,

the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

 

Jesus quotes it to the Pharisees in Matthew 9:12-13.

But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

 

Gilead is in the Transjordan, in the area of East Manasseh.  It includes the Golan Heights of today.   We know it from Jeremiah 8:22 when he asks;

Is there no balm in Gilead?

Is there no physician there?

Why then has the health of the daughter of my people

not been restored?

Shechem was a major religious and political center.  This may refer to the robbing and murder of pilgrims on the roads to Shechem.  We hear of a similar attack on the road to Jericho in the story of the Good Samaritan.  These are examples of what is happening throughout the land.

 

 

Restoration is promised to Judah

 

Hos. 6:11 For you also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed,

when I restore the fortunes of my people. 

 

This seems to be a parenthetical note, but also a word of grace.

 

The indictment of Israel continues

 

Crime is widespread  

 

Hos. 7:1-2 When I would heal Israel, the iniquity of Ephraim is revealed,

and the evil deeds of Samaria;

for they deal falsely;

the thief breaks in,

and the bandits raid outside. 

But they do not consider

that I remember all their evil.

Now their deeds surround them;

they are before my face. 

 

The political situation in Israel is falling apart. Jeroboam II was the king 

of the last stable dynasty.  Now king after king is being murdered, as we noted last week.  The time is around 740-730 BC.  The kingdom will be no more on 722 BC.  The rule of law is faltering, and as a consequence crime is on the rise.  When God’s law is rejected, men become a law into themselves.   Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel.  Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

 

We see this in our own country today.  Biblical law is ignored.  Even the Constitution has become malleable.

 

 

 

There is corruption in the government

 

Hos. 7:3-7 By their evil they make the king glad,

and the princes by their treachery. 

They are all adulterers;

they are like a heated oven

whose baker ceases to stir the fire,

from the kneading of the dough

until it is leavened. 

On the day of four king, the princes

became sick with the heat of wine;

he stretched out his hand with mockers. 

For with hearts like an oven they approach their intrigue;

all night their anger smolders;

in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire. 

All of them are hot as an oven,

and they devour their rulers.

All their kings have fallen,

and none of them calls upon me. 

 

The regicide is confirmedThe royalty has lost its authority because of its own corruption.  I suspect the ovens were like our beehive ovens.  The kings came to power by the heat of treachery and violent usurpation.

 

Israel’s diplomacy is in disarray

 

Hos. 7:8-12 Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples;

Ephraim is a cake not turned. 

Strangers devour his strength,

and he knows it not;

gray hairs are sprinkled upon him,

and he knows it not. 

The pride of Israel testifies to his face;

yet they do not return to the LORD their God,

nor seek him, for all this. 

 

  Ephraim is like a dove,

silly and without sense,

calling to Egypt, going to Assyria. 

As they go, I will spread over them my net;

I will bring them down like birds of the heavens;

I will discipline them according to the report made to their congregation. 

 

The last king will be Hoshea (732-723).  He does not know how weak he is.  He is flailing around looking for help.  He first appeals to Assyria, but the Assyrians come and take over much of his territory.  Also they demand payment of tribute.  He turns to Egypt, but the Egyptians only mock him.  He fails to turn to YHWH who would have been most willing and able to help, if there was repentance and revival in the leaders and the land.

 

Punishment is inevitable

 

Hos. 7:13-16 Woe to them, for they have strayed from me!

Destruction to them, for they have rebelled against me!

I would redeem them,

but they speak lies against me. 

They do not cry to me from the heart,

but they wail upon their beds;

for grain and wine they gash themselves;

they rebel against me. 

Although I trained and strengthened their arms,

yet they devise evil against me. 

They return, but not upward;

they are like a treacherous bow;

their princes shall fall by the sword

because of the insolence of their tongue.

This shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.

 

God would like to redeem them.  Jesus is our redeemer.  The only road to salvation is through God’s redemption, in the OT and NT.

Unfortunately the people have so completely forgotten YHWH that they are unable to turn back to him.  The children, for many generations, have not been taught the Torah, so they do not know who the true God is.  God has said, My spirit will not always strive with man. 

 

Hebrews 10:26-13—31 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.  Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses.  How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?  For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.”  And again, “The Lord will judge his people.”  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

 

 

Israel rejects her God

 

Hos. 8:1-3 Set the trumpet to your lips! One like a vulture is over

    the house of the LORD,

because they have transgressed my covenant

and rebelled against my law. 

To me they cry,

My God, we—Israel—know you. 

Israel has spurned the good;

the enemy shall pursue him.

 

Assyria is the active agent in Israel’s demise, but God is the true destroyer.  Assyria is only a tool in his hand by which he carries out his judgment.  God does not need miraculous means to carry out his will.  He uses ordinary forces of nature including politics.

 

God rejects their Golden Calves

 

Hos. 8:4-8 They made kings, but not through me.

They set  princes, but I knew it not.

With their silver and gold they made idols

for their own destruction. 

I have spurned your calf, O Samaria.

My anger burns against them

How long will they be incapable of innocence? 

For it is from Israel;

a craftsman made it;

it is not God.

The calf of Samaria

shall be broken to pieces.

 

  For they sow the wind,

and they shall reap the whirlwind.

The standing grain has no heads;

it shall yield no flour;

if it were to yield,

strangers would devour it. 

Israel is swallowed up;

already they are among the nations

as a useless vessel. 

 

Jeroboam I created two golden calves for the people in his new kingdom to worship.  He wanted to keep his citizens from going to Jerusalem to worship, lest they turn from him (1 Kings 12:25-33).

 

Here we find two more memory verses for our benefit. 

 

Hos. 8:4 With their silver and gold they made idols

for their own destruction.

 

Hos. 8:7 For they sow the wind,

and they shall reap the whirlwind.

Israel seeks allies in the wrong places

 

Hos. 8:9-10 For they have gone up to Assyria,

a wild donkey wandering alone;

Ephraim has hired lovers. 

Though they hire allies among the nations,

I will soon gather them up.

And the king and princes shall soon writhe

because of the tribute. 

 

Israel is going to all the wrong places for help.  The curses of Deuteronomy 28:20 are descending on her.

“The LORD will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me.

 

Israel has forgotten her Maker

 

Hos. 8:11-14 Because Ephraim has multiplied altars for sinning,

they have become to him altars for sinning. 

Were I to write for him my laws by the ten thousands,

they would be regarded as a strange thing. 

As for my sacrificial offerings,

they sacrifice meat and eat it,

but the LORD does not accept them.

Now he will remember their iniquity

and punish their sins;

they shall return to Egypt. 

For Israel has forgotten his Maker

and built palaces,

and Judah has multiplied fortified cities;

so I will send a fire upon his cities,

and it shall devour her strongholds

 

There was only one altar where proper sacrifices could be offered to YHWH.  That altar was at the Temple in Jerusalem.  All other places for sacrifice were forbidden and useless.  Each pagan god did have its altars and systems of sacrifice, but they were all only an insult to the true God.  Israel built many fortified cities in an attempt to find political and military security, but they were vulnerable to attack and defeat if God did not protect them.

 

Psalm 127:1 Unless the LORD builds the house,

those who build it labor in vain.

Unless the LORD watches over the city,

    the watchman stays awake in vain.