Friday, March 28, 2008

Hosea (condensed): God's Never-Failing Love

It's been over a month since I've posted, and I've finished my study of the minor prophets, neglecting to take time to share my study along the way.  Not all of the minor prophets are so "minor" in size or scope, so to keep this short I will make a few comments and then quote some of the verses I underlined in Hosea.

You may remember Hosea as the book about the prophet who married a prostitute.  Which is true but missing so much of the story.  First of all, God used Hosea as a living illustration of what He was doing to bring His people back to him.  Second, the book actually doesn't spend much time on that story, but does dwell on God's call to His people.  Some of the most memorable verses follow.  I hope these will inspire you to read the book and apply it to your life too:

"I will say to them which were not my people; 'You are my people'; and they will say, 'You are my God'" (2:23)

"The Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.  By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out and blood touches blood" (4:1-2)

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you, that you will be no priest to me: seeing you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children" (4:6)

"Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone" (4:17).  I'd hate to have God say that about me.

"I will go and return to my place till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early." (5:15)  God is doing everything he can to get our attention and turn us back to Him.  If he seems distant (returned to his place) perhaps it's because He's trying to get us to seek Him.

"Come and let us return unto the Lord: for he has torn, and he will heal us; he has smitten, and he will bind us up.  After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.  Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth" (6:1-3)

"Your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goes away." (6:4)

"I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings." (6:6)

"Though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against me." (7:14)

"They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind." (8:7)

"I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing." (8:12)

"Israel has forgotten his Maker..." (8:14)

"Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow (uncultivated, weedy) ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you." (10:12)

"How shall I give you up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver you, Israel?" (11:8)  Can you hear the pleading of God to repentance?  He does not want to destroy us.

"(Jacob) had power with God: Yes, he had power over the angel and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him:"  (12:3-4)  We need to wrestle with God, asking him to bless us as Jacob did.  We need to be that devoted to getting the answer to our prayer.  If we are, we will.

"I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction;" (13:14)

"I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely;" (14:4)


I have quoted only portions of verses, and only a selection of the verses of Hosea, but I hope you will be inspired to read with new eyes, and grasp the love of God and His desire to free you from the cords of your sin, and restore the relationship between you and Him.

God bless,

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thoughts on Jonah

To start out this series of Bible studies, I would like to catch up on some recent studying I've enjoyed. I began a side-trip from my usual method when I discovered some neat insights into Malachi 2:17-3:5 which I posted on Alaska4Jesus. This got me started on taking a deeper look into the "minor prophets" (Hosea-Malachi), and I've been skipping around in them a bit. So, to skip around a bit more, I thought I'd start with some light reading...

Jonah... The story of the man in the whale, right? Well, I encourage you to read the book again (which should only take a few minutes). The key point of the book, of course, is that God is more merciful than Jonah is. But there are some additional points I've realized:

  • In chapter 1:12, Jonah asks the mariners to throw him into the sea, to get God to calm the storm. Did God really require Jonah to do that? Or was Jonah hoping to commit suicide and avoid God's call to Ninevah? I think God would have calmed the storm just as well if Jonah had said "take me back to Joppa so I can go where God sent me". But Jonah's solution left a bad impression of God on the sailors. I suspect they never saw the fish which rescued Jonah's life, and they forever assumed God had taken him as a human sacrifice. "Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly..." (vs. 16) wasn't the result that God wanted. Respect, yes. Fear, no. How often do my words and actions leave a bad impression of God on others?
  • God is in control. "But the Lord sent out a great wind..." (1:4); "Now the Lord had prepared a great fish..." (1:17); "And the Lord God prepared a gourd..." (4:6); "But God prepared a worm..." (1:7); "...God prepared a vehement east wind..." (1:8). If I'm running into circumstances in my life, perhaps God is trying to tell me something. Maybe he's trying to show me that I'm not the only person he loves. Like Jonah, I need to develop the same kind of love God has for all humanity.
  • This isn't part of the book of Jonah, but the "rest of the story" is a few pages later, in the book of Nahum. You can understand better why Ninevah was in danger of destruction in the first place, if you read chapter 3:1-4. I'll cover Nahum in greater depth in a future post.