Today marks the beginning of a journey that will take us through each of the minor prophets this summer (Hosea through Malachi). The truth that the “minor” prophets brought forth was anything but minor. The only reason they are called minor is that they are much shorter than the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, which are sometimes called the “major” prophets.
As we move through this study, we’ll have opportunities to hear from the voices of the prophets of old, and we’ll also have opportunities to hear testimony from voices of today and we’ll see in both how the truth of God’s word continues to challenge and transform lives. This week we are beginning with the book of Hosea. Approximately three days a week throughout the summer there will be blog posts that will help guide our reading and study together. On Sunday mornings’s at The VINE, after our week of reading and studying, we’ll engage together as a group in getting to the heart of the message of each book.
Recognizing the power of God’s work among his people, this study is a collaborative, effort and your participation is key. If you’re interested in signing up to research and write one of the weekly study entries as we go along, you’ll be able to do so at The VINE beginning this Sunday morning, and help will always be available along the way.
I’m so looking forward to the transforming power of the truth of God’s word shaping our lives together as we journey together this summer.
Introduction to Hosea:
Hosea was a prophet that lived and prophesied to the northern part of God’s divided kingdom of Israel (sometimes referred to as Ephraim), around the time just before they were defeated by the Assyrian Empire (755-715 BC).
Hosea is in essence about a painful love story. It begins with a personal illustration of Hosea own marriage relationship that involves his adulterous wife, who acted like a prostitute despite Hosea’s continual loyal faithfulness, passionate provision and continual pursuit.
At the time of Hosea’s prophecy, Israel had become pretty distracted from the heart of God. They had become greedy in the midst of prosperity, committed all kinds of injustices against the poor, and had turned to foreign idol worship, which Hosea referred to as adultery against the Lord their God. Throughout Hosea’s prophecy, we see very vividly the painful suffering love of the Lord for his people, even in the midst of their unfaithfulness. God’s fury, His jealousy, and His own passion for His people, are on display through Hosea’s words and through his life.
Hosea shows us that God’s concern for His people in the midst of their idolatry, sin, and rebellion are not just about some vague religious matter, but about something deeply personal. God doesn’t want to be involved in the lives of people in a distant impersonal way, but uses this incredibly powerful illustration of the love of a husband toward his wife to show how much He loves them.
Reading for Monday & Tuesday:
Read chapters 1-3 of Hosea which compare Hosea’s marriage to Israel’s relationship with God. Pay special attention to 3:1 which says, “The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress…” As you read, think about your own relationship with the Lord and how His grace, love and faithfulness are constant even in the midst of our wanderings.