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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources
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"The Word of the Lord that Came to Hosea" -- Hosea 1:1-9

Sermons on the Minor Prophets:  Hosea (1)

Now for something completely different–the Prophecy of Hosea.  Hosea has been described as the “death-bed prophet of Israel.”  This is because he is the last of YHWH’s prophets sent to the Northern Kingdom of Israel, before that kingdom was conquered by Assyria in 722 B.C.  Hosea was present throughout the tumultuous and tragic days of Israel’s fall.  His prophecy opens with YHWH’s command to marry a prostitute because this act mirrors YHWH’s covenantal relationship to his people, Israel.  Hosea will play the role to this woman that YHWH has played to Israel–a faithful husband to an unfaithful spouse.  Israel’s apostasy–seen in the idol worship rampant throughout the land–is like that of promiscuous wife who repeatedly breaks her martial vows by cheating on her husband and bearing the children of her lovers.  Hosea’s wife Gomer, is a graphic and tragic mirror image of Israel’s chief institutions–the kings, the priests, and the religious life of the nation.  Despite Israel’s on-going and deepening apostasy, repeatedly, Hosea pushes us to see that even Israel’s sin cannot nullify YHWH’s gracious covenant promises.  Right up to the end (in fact, even beyond), YHWH always stands willing to forgive and restore a repentant people who heed his call to return to him in faith and obedience.

We have completed our study of Amos–a prophet from Judah called to proclaim YHWH’s covenant lawsuit to Israel, the breakaway and short-lived Northen Kingdom.  We have also completed our study of the Book of Jonah, who was a loyal Israelite, called by God to preach the word of YHWH to the city of Nineveh, in the very heart of Assyria, Israel’s mighty enemy to the north.  This morning we begin our study of the prophet Hosea, who unlike Amos was an Israelite, and whose prophetic ministry overlaps that of Amos.  But the Book of Hosea is very different than the Book of Amos.  Hosea is the first book found in the Hebrew Minor Prophets–the Twelve–and takes on a form unique to the Minor Prophets.  A book without a clear outline, Hosea’s prophecy opens with an enacted parable (chapters 1-3), before giving the reader a series of warnings, laments, poems, and sermons (chapters 4-14).  Hosea is, as one commentator tells us, “a difficult book, [yet] also a great book.”  He adds:

    [Hosea] is like a tree whose roots go down deep into the Torah and whose branches bear the fruit of a discourse that became the grammar of biblical prophecy. Many of the themes, and much of the vocabulary, of the great literary prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel originate in Hosea.  It also is a book that jolts the reader; it refuses to be domesticated and made conventional.  It does comfort the afflicted, but it most surely afflicts the comfortable.  It is as startling in its presentation of sin as it is surprising in its stubborn certainty of grace.  It is as blunt as it is enigmatic. It is a book to be experienced, and the experience is with God.

We are in for a difficult but rewarding study in the weeks ahead.

As we have seen throughout our time in the Minor Prophets, whenever we take up the various books included in The Twelve, it is vital that we ask and answer a series of questions, “Who?” “When?” “Why?” and “What?” so as to consider the Minor Prophets in their historical context.  It is necessary that we understand their message to their original audience, so that we can draw proper application.  That context is distinctively covenantal.  That is, these were prophecies given to people living under the covenant God made with Israel at Mount Sinai through the mediation of Moses.  It is wrong–and unfortunately, an all too common error–to ignore that context and lift passages from these prophets and apply them directly to specific contemporary cultural or political situations.

To read the rest of this sermon:  Click Here

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