Jan 2nd 2012, 04:18 PM
Hosea, Joel, Amos (2)
Hosea 1 - 3
What does the text say? – Hosea was a prophet during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah of Judah and Jereboam in Israel. The Lord told Hezekiah to marry a prostitute, because His people had prostituted themselves with other gods. His son was to be named Jezreel, because the Lord would bring the kingdom of Israel to an end in the valley of Jezreel. Hosea’s next child was a daughter who the Lord named ‘no mercy’ because He would have no mercy on Israel, yet He would have mercy on Judah. Hosea’s next son indicated God’s alienation from Israel until He gathered them with the people of Judah. Although the Lord’s people were unfaithful to Him and disregarded the difficulties He put in their chosen way of adultery towards Him with idols, yet He would accept them when they returned to Him, and He would show them righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion; then they would recognise His faithfulness and accept His rule in their lives. At that time they will be His people and He will be their God. God told Hosea to buy his wife back from her prostitution and tell her she must stop her prostitution and have no intercourse with anyone, even him, for some time – because Israel would be without a king, or any form of worship, for a long time before they returned to the Lord their God.
Application? – Have I allowed anyone or anything to have more control of my life than Almighty God? Could the Lord have left me ‘in the wilderness’ to determine whether or not I am truly faithful to Him or not?
Jan 4th 2012, 04:24 PM
Hosea 4 - 6
What does the text say? – Hosea told the priests and leaders of the people there is no truth, mercy, or knowledge of God in the land and the people swear, lie, cheat, commit adultery and there is violence everywhere. So everyone and everything will waste away. Don’t try to put the blame on others, the Lord says His people are being destroyed through lack of knowledge – so because of that He will reject His people and punish the priests. Priests and people alike prostitute themselves with idols and the rituals the worship of them entails, and contaminate all they come in contact with. The priests have set a snare for the people, for they don’t turn to God to know Him – so they will seek God but not find Him for He has withdrawn from them because they worship other gods, which has removed all sense from them. They will not find the Lord until they seek Him earnestly. Hosea pleaded with the people to return to the Lord, for He was willing to Heal them if they repented, desiring to please Him in all things. The Lord God desires mercy not sacrifice and the knowledge of Him more than burnt offerings.
Application? – Do I ever swear? Do I ever lie? Do I ever cheat? Do I ever commit sexual Sin? Am I ever violent in word or deed? Do I ever blame others for my shortcomings? If other folk live as I do will they grow closer to God and know Him better? Do I seek the Lord earnestly? Is there anything I need to repent of? Do I desire to please the Lord in all I do?
Jan 5th 2012, 05:42 PM
Hosea 7 - 9
What does the text say? – Hosea said the Lord wanted to Heal Israel but it’s Sins were too great; the people didn’t realise the Lord watches them and sees all their Sin. No one asks the Lord for help, they mingle with Godless foreigners making themselves worthless with no strength, because they worship foreign gods. They go first to Egypt then to Assyria for help but they will be punished for deserting the Lord who wants to redeem them. Their prayers are not sincere because they worship other gods; they have broken the Covenant and revolted against the Lord, they have appointed kings without referring to Him and made idols of silver and gold and so brought about their own destruction. The people have sown to the wind and will harvest the whirlwind. The Lord will Judge His people; they love their rituals of worship but they are meaningless, so their harvests will be too small to give them sufficient to eat and drink. The people take no notice of the prophets the Lord sends, but He remembers all the Sins of generations of His people, so He will drive them from His land to wander among other nations.
Application? – The Lord sees every Sin I commit – have I repented of each one? Is my worship of the Lord genuine or just repetition of rituals? I will reap what I sow. Is money my god?
Quote:- (Henry H. Halley) “God had appointed David’s descendants to rule His people. The ten tribes had rebelled, and set up a different line of kings for themselves. ‘Hired lovers’ flirting with Assyria and paying tribute. Some 200 years before Hosea’s time (about 760-72 BC) the ten tribes had seceded and set up an independent kingdom, with the golden calf as it’s official national god. Meantime God had sent the prophets Elijah, Elisha, Jonah, Amos, and now Hosea.
Jan 6th 2012, 04:27 PM
Hosea 10 - 14
What does the text say? – Hosea said the richer the people get the more pagan altars they build, or beautify those they already have, so the Lord will smash each one. The people make promises they don’t intend to keep, so injustice grows like weeds. God says His people have sinned so He will chastise them. If you sow righteousness you will harvest mercy. Now is the time to seek the Lord for if you have sown wickedness you will harvest a crop of Sins. You have believed your army would make your nation safe but all your fortifications will fail. When Israel was a young nation God loved His people; the more they were loved the more they moved from Him, He taught His people the way of love and prosperity but as they have turned away from Him they will suffer – destroyed by their own selfish plans. The people call the Lord ‘the Most High’ but don’t truly honour Him, so He will punish, but not destroy them. The people chase the wind and will reap a whirlwind, they pile up lies and violence, make a pact with Assyria and buy support from Egypt; come back to God, act with love and justice and always rely on Him. The people love to cheat, but the Lord knows. He sent His prophets to warn them but they took no notice and continued worshipping idols – the people must bear the consequences of their rebellion against the Lord God by worshipping idols. Hosea pleaded with the people to return to the Lord and repent of going to Assyria for help and for worshipping idols, then the Lord will heal them of their faithlessness and forget His Anger, and Israel will grow strong again. It is the Lord who is able to answer prayers for He is Righteous and Holy. Only the righteous find Peace with Him.
Application? – Does how much I rely on the Lord depend on my financial situation? Do I make promises then not keep them, or worse make promises I know I will not keep? If I commit one ‘small’ Sin it will make it easier to commit a ‘big’ one in future. Do I take God’s Forgiveness too much for granted? Do I expect Him to continue to put up with all my Sin and disregard how He wants me to live? Does my life honour God? Do I do His Will or my own? I will bear the consequences of my Sin against God. Do I experience the Peace that passes all understanding?
Jan 7th 2012, 06:03 PM
Joel 1 – 3
What does the text say? – Joel said locusts had eaten every green thing in Judah at the Lord’s command, so return to Him while there is still time, give Him your heart, don’t tear your garments in your grief but tear your hearts instead. Return to the Lord for He is merciful and compassionate, He wants to Bless you in place of this curse. Announce a time of fasting, then the Lord may pity His people, He has done great things in the past and He will restore what the locusts have eaten. Afterwards the Lord will pour out His Spirit on all people and whoever calls on the Name of the Lord will be Saved. At that time the Lord will gather all nations in the valley of Jehoshaphat (valley of Decision/Kidron valley) and Judge them for the way they have treated His people, the descendants of Israel, He will shelter His people and everyone will know He is the Lord. Jerusalem will be Holy and no foreigner will conquer it again.
Quote:- (Henry H. Halley)”an appalling famine, caused by an unprecedented plague of locusts, followed by prolonged drought, had devastated the land. . . . brought the people to their knees. God heard their cry, removed the locusts and promised an era of prosperity. (may be typical of those in Rev. 9:1-11). In Acts 2:17-21 Peter quotes Joel 2:28-32 as a prediction of ‘the day’ God was inaugurating. This meant that God intended the passage to be a forecast of the Gospel era. . . . . As a whole the passage seems to be a picture of the Christian age, in which God’s Word, embodied in the Gospel of Christ and bourn by the gracious influences of the Holy Spirit to all mankind, would be the sickle, in a grand harvest of souls.”
Jan 8th 2012, 04:39 PM
Amos 1 - 4
What does the text say? Amos prophecied in the time of Uzziah, king of Judah and Jereboam of Israel. He prophesied that the Lord would punish the people of Damascus, Syria, Gaza, Ashod, Ashkelon, Ekron, and kill the Philistines; also the people of Tyre would be punished and also Edom, Ammon, Moab, Judah and Israel. All the descendants of those the Lord had rescued form slavery in Egypt must be punished because He has been intimately involved with them. Two people cannot walk together unless they agree which direction to go. The Lord never does anything without telling His prophets first, and they cannot refuse to tell the people His message. The Lord said His people have forgotten how to do what is right, so He will scatter their defences , He will destroy their pagan altars. The Lord had sent difficulties to encourage His people to return to Him, but they had ignored Him so they must prepare to meet Him in Judgement – even those that had sacrificed regularly to Him and been punctilious about giving tithes and free-will offerings.
Application? – If I am not going the Lord’s Way and doing His Will I am going away from Him – even if I go regularly to church meetings and give 10% of my income to Christian work.
Jan 9th 2012, 05:43 PM
Amos 5 + 6
What does the text say? – Amos prophesied that the Israelites would fall and never rise again; the Lord pleaded with His people to stop worshiping at pagan altars and return to Him, or He would make an end of them – for His Power Created the universe and can crush all their defences. The Lord knows all their Sins, the depths of their rebellion and depriving the poor of justice. If you hate what is evil and love what is good and just, the Lord of Heaven’s armies may have mercy on you. Only sorrow awaits those who don’t realise the Day of the Lord will bring darkness and hopelessness. The Lord hates the pretence and hypocrisy of their religious festivals and assemblies, He won’t accept offerings, He hates their noisy hymns; all He wants is a flood of justice and an endless river of righteousness. The people don’t worship the Lord but their idols. They may push away all thought of disaster but their actions bring the day of Judgement closer. They sing trivial songs and fancy they are great musicians like David, they drink much wine and are not grieved about the ruin of their your nation, therefore they will be captured and their parties will end because they turn justice into poison and righteousness into bitterness, and boast of thier ability.
Application? – Do I hate what is Evil and love what is good? Do I truly worship the Lord by obeying Him in all things, or do I just do what others expect a Christian to do while giving my time and energy to a god of my own making? Are justice and righteousness more important to me than singing trivial and noisy songs? Does the spiritual state of my nation concern me? What am I doing about it? Do I boast(only to myself of course) of ‘my’ ability?
Jan 10th 2012, 04:30 PM
Amos 7 - 9
What does the text say? – Amos prayed that the Vision he had of locusts clearing the land would not take place, and that the Lord would forgive his people. Then he had a Vision of a great fire consuming the territory, and prayed earnestly – the Lord promised that wouldn’t happen either. Then he had a Vision of the Lord standing with a plumb-line that He had tested His people with, and would no longer ignore their Sins. The pagan altars would be destroyed and the dynasty of Jereboam ended. The king was told what Amos was saying, and told Amos to return to Judah, but he prophesied that Jereboam’s wife would become a prostitute, his children killed, and he would die in a foreign land. Then the Lord told Amos He would not delay the punishment of the people any longer because of their dishonesty; He would turn their celebrations to mourning. Some people would want to hear from the Lord, but would not; but those who swore by the idols of Samaria, Dan and Beersheba would fall and never rise again. Then Amos had a Vision of the Lord standing by the altar commanding the temple to be destroyed and the people killed wherever they may try to hide. At that time the Lord would restore the dynasty of David and all the Gentiles who are His. The days are coming when the land will be populated with the Lord’s people, and produce an abundance of good things.
Application? – Do I pray for the Lord to be Merciful to Sinners known to me? Am I totally honest in every way? Are the difficulties I encounter just the Lord pushing me to match His plumb-line so I won’t have to be destroyed?
Jan 11th 2012, 05:35 PM
(Quote: NKJV book heading)”A struggle that began in the womb between twin brothers Esau and Jacob, eventuates in a struggle between their respective descendants, the Edomites and the Israelites. For the Edomites’ stubborn refusal to aid Israel, first during the time of wilderness wanderings (Num. 20:14-21) and later during a time of invasion, they are roundly condemned by Obadiah. The little known prophet describes their crimes, tries their case, and pronounces their judgement: total destruction.”
Quote:- (Henry H. Halley)”This prophecy is usually assigned to the reign of Zedekiah, when Jerusalem was burnt by the Babylonians (586 BC). Obadiah predicted that the Edomites would be ‘cut off forever’ . . . and that a remnant of Judah would be saved, and that the kingdom of Judah’s God would yet prevail. Within 4 years after Jerusalem was burnt, Edom was raided and desolated (582 BC) by the same Babylonians they had aided against Jerusalem, Nabatheans took over Edom (whose capital was Sela/Petra – the rock). The few Edomites that were left were confined to a region in south Judea, where for 4 centuries they continued to exist, as active enemies of the Jews. . . When the land was conquered by the Romans (63 BC) the Herods, an Edomite (Idumean) family, were placed in control of Judah.”
Application – Have I inherited antagonism towards any person or nation? Would I be wise to replace that antagonism with friendship before it results in the destruction of myself and/or my descendants? Have I ever refused to help anyone in need? Petra is a city carved out of solid rock, reminding me of the way Jesus compared Petros (which means a pebble) with His Church that was/is built on the Petra (the Rock/God).