Walking Thru The Bible

Old Testament -- Hoesa - Joel - Amos

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          Walking Thru The Bible
          HOSEA, JOEL, and AMOS
                 Hosea, from the northern Kingdom, was given a message for
               Israel to whom he characteristically referred by the name of its leading
               tribe, Ephraim (4;17; 5:3,5, etc).  He preached to his own people for
               half a century or more about 760-710 BC (1:1).  

                 Hosea's ministry is set against the background of a terrible tragic
               family life which God used as a lesson for the people (ch. 1-3).  His
               wife Gomer forsook him and committed adultery with many lovers. 
               Hosea continued to love her and eventually bought her back out of
               slavery.  His experiences with Gomer illustrated God's relationship
               with Israel.  He is remember as the Prophet who demonstrates God's

                 Hosea accused the whole nation of Israel of spiritual adultery 
               (4:1-19), and emphasized God's willingness to forgive them.
               Overview of the Book of Hosea

                 The book begins with an account of Gomer's unfaithfulness (1:1-11) 
               which symbolized Israel's unfaithfulness.  The names Hosea gave
               to Gomer's three children expressed God's judgment of the nation: 
               Jezreel = scattered by God; Loruhamah = not pitted; and Loammi =
               not my people.

                 Details of Gomer's adultery are given in 2:1-14, and her
               relationship to Hosea is described in 2:14 - 3:5.
                 The remainder of the book is a direct application of the Word of
               God to Israel.  The nation is indicted for its many sins (4:1 - 7:16)
               and told of the punishment which was to come (8:1 - 10:15).  There
               was still hope, however, for God's love for the nation was still real
               (11:1 - 14:9).
               Spiritual Adultery

                 God's relationship to Old Testament Israel was frequently
               symbolized as a husband-wife relationship (Isa. 62:5; Jer. 3:14). 
               Thus it was appropriate to represent the nation's sins-- especially
               idolatry-- as adultery (Hosea 4:13b-19).  

                 The New Testament warns us about sinning against God's love 
               (James 4:4; cf. Ephesians 5:22-33).

                 Joel is nowhere dated in terms of a king's reign or a historical
               event whose date is known to us.  The book belongings to about the
               9th century BC, a time when the enemies of the Jews were  Philistia,
               Edom, Egypt, and Phoenicia.  Its early place in the sequence of
               prophetic books also indicates an early date.

                 Joel was from Judah and prophesied to his own countrymen
               warning them of the coming "day of the Lord" ( 1:15; 2:1-2; 3:1; cf.
               2:15, 23, 32).  The book has been called a "literary gem" because of
               its fluent and polished style.

                 A terrible locust plague and drought gave the occasion for Joel's
               prophecy (1:2, 17-20).  We often remember Joel as the prophet of
               Pentecost because of 2:28-32 (cf. Acts 2:17-20).
               Overview of the Book of Joel
                 Joel describes the terror of a real locust plague suffered by Judah
               which foreshadowed the day of the Lord for that nation (2:1-11).  Joel
               pleads for repentance (2:12-17) and looked to the blessings of
               deliverance and prosperity which would follow if the people turned
               (2:18-27).  He closes with God's promise to bless mankind through
               the outpouring of His Spirit (2:28-32).  The great blessings to result
               from that event are described prophetically (3:1-21).
               The Day of the Lord
                 "The Day of the Lord" is an important these which runs through
               several prophetical books (Isa. 2:12f; Ezek. 13;5; Joel 1:15; Amos
               5:18-20; Zeph. 1:7,14; Zech. 14:1).

                 In both the Old Testament and the New Testament this
               expression relates to the Biblical doctrine of God's judgment.  In the
               O.T. it is that day when a nation receives its just due for sin.  There
               was no one specific day on which this would occur for all nations. 
               Each nation, as announced by different prophets, was judged at a time
               chosen by God.

                 The day of the Lord was not only for Israel and Judah but also
               Babylon (Isa.13:6), Egypt (Jer.46:10), and other nations (Joel 3:14). 
               The ultimate "day of the Lord," foreshadowed by all other times of
               judgment in history, is the final Judgment before Christ (cf. 2 Peter
               3:10-12, 2 Cor. 5:10).
                 Amos was a herdsman from the southern nation of Judah that
               was called by God to go up and preach against the sins of the northern
               kingdom, Israel.  Jeroboam, the first northern king, had established
               the worship of the golden calves at Dan and at Bethel.  Amos
               appeared at one of their services at Bethel and spoke out.
                 The herdsman-prophet went up to Bethel and by inspiration
               announced God's coming judgment upon the nations surrounding
               Israel for all their sins and crimes.  He got the ear of the people as
               they probably uttered "Amen" to his sermon, and "Preach on brother!" 
               But then the prophet stopped "preaching" and started "meddling"
               talking about the sins of Israel.

                 Israel was at the peak of its prosperity but had reached bottom
               spiritually, and was morally corrupt and decadent.
               Overview of the Book of Amos
                 Amos announced God's judgment against Israel's neighbors (1:1 -
               2:3).  He then turns to Judah (2:4-5) and Israel (2:6-16).  Details
               about Israel's specific sins and its impending judgment are related
               (3:1 - 6:14).

                 Amos was then given five visions of the coming judgment of
               Israel:  the locust plague, the devouring fire, the plumb line, a basket
               of summer fruit, and the altar (ch. 7-9).

                 In the course of the visions, a priest of the altar at Bethel,
               Amaziah, rises up in opposition to Amos (7:10-17).  The book ends
               with a glimpse of the splendor of the Messianic age (9:11-15).
               The Social Conscience of the People of God
                 Amos was a fiery prophet who evaluated people's religion
               through their conduct in society.  Surrounding nations were
               condemned because of their wickedness and cruelty to others
               (1:1-2:3).  The rulers of Israel were denounced as thieves, 
               and their wives as lazy, greedy, and oppressing the poor. (3:9-4:3).
                 In Amos' preaching the abuse of the poor is denounced severely
               (5:10-12).  The N.T. has similar warning for Christians (James 5:1-6).  
               In recent decades, liberal religious groups have abandoned the
               Bible for a social gospel, or social activism; while over the same
               period many conservative people have defended the Bible and
               neglected the poor, oppressed, and the helpless.  Abortion should not
               be abandoned to the Catholic Church as its social issue.  The plight
               of the elderly must not be left to federal agencies for solution.  Family
                              disintegration is a concern for every Christian.

- - - SERMON - - - 


               What Is Wrong With The Church?
               Hosea 1:1 - 14:9
                 In about 933 BC the kingdom of Israel was divided into two
               kingdoms.  The northern kingdom was usually called Israel but often
               it was designated by "Ephraim" bit most influential tribe.

                 In about 760 BC God sent His word by Hosea.  Very vividly the
               prophet describes God's people.  The picture is not beautiful; it looks
               too much like the church today for us to find enjoyment in looking at
               I.   Three Figures Describing Ephraim

                 1. A silly dove -- without understanding (7:11)

                    a.   They had forgotten the law of the Lord.
                    b.   They could not remember their own history.

                 2. A cake not turned --  (7:8)

                    a.   Tragedy strikes when no one is watching.

                 3. A taught heifer that loved to tread out the corn (10:11)
               II. Three Things These Conditions Had Done To Them

                 1. It made their love like a morning mist (6:4).
                    a.   Not lasting, easily burned away.

                 2. It caused them to hire lovers  (8:9).
                    a.   They courted the favor of their enemies.

                 3. It put them beyond help (4:17)
                    a.   Ephraim is joined to idols, wedded to them.
                    b.   Would not give them up.
               III. The Causes Which Brought About and Kept Alive These
                    Conditions with Ephraim

                 1. Ephraim feedeth on the winds (12:1)
                    a.   Speaking of their spiritual weakness.

                 2. Ephraim followeth the east wind.
                    a.   Their goals and aims were useless.

                 3. Bound up his iniquity and his sin (13:12).
                    a.   Tried to conceal it from self and God.
                    b.   Repentance and prayer called for.

                 Let us read the last verse of the book of Hosea, "Who is wise,
               that he may understand these thoughts? prudent, that he may know
               them? for the ways of the LORD are right and the just shall walk in
               them; but transgressors shall fall therein." 

-- Windell Gann -- Walking Thru the Bible --

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