In our last class, we looked at several cities that Hosea would have been to and more than likely prophesied against at those very locations. None though were as important as Bethel and Samaria. These two places are the hallmarks of the problems with Israel. Bethel, or Bethaven as we shall see, was the religious problem of Israel, idolatry in all its ugly self-serving. Samaria was the political problem of Israel, in all its brash self-reliance. Their history will be important to understand, their current problems during Hosea’s times are highly relevant, but most important of all is re
At the University of Washington, where I went to school, the student newspaper always had these ads for participating in psychology experiments. I just recently read about one of these by a fellow named John Gottman. He would invite young newly married couples into his laboratory and film them in a 15-minute conversation while measuring several things like heart rate, temperature and how often they “jiggled” in their chair. They were instructed to discuss any topic from their marriage that had become a point of contention. It could be something as simple as their dog.
Let me ask you a question. What is the oldest living organism on the earth?
A tree would be the correct answer---specifically the Methuselah tree in California that is said to be 4,843 year old. Apparently, trees don’t die of old age like humans, that is, they would live an extremely long time if not subject to disease, drought or fire. This gives some meaning to Isaiah’s saying, “… as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands” (65:22).
I hope you don’t mind if I take some time to tell you a true story. I heard it on the radio and it deeply moved me. I have thought about it often afterward and even though it has nothing in it about Jesus, my mind could see some remarkable types of what he did in laying down his life for us. I feel my job in any exhortation is to draw you to the memorials with the right state of mind, realizing the importance and gravity of this situation. So, as I relate this story to you, maybe you can try and contemplate yourselves how this relates to the work of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Hosea presents a challenge for Bible students who like to put events in order and neatly put them in a box. There are no nice little milestones given to say what year or month a prophecy happened. Beyond the first verse, there are no indications to who was reigning. There are no common markers like, “thus sayeth the Lord.”
Israel, the northern tribes, had never had a righteous king. Not one who sought after God with all his heart. Yet God continued to work with them.
There are many women in the Bible whose words and details can be appreciated more because of the amount of scripture given to their account such as Deborah or Abigail. On the other hand, there are many lesser-known figures that are given cursory mentions in the Bible and it takes a little more digging to get their story. This study delves into such characters of the women working behind the scenes in the Gospel records who ministered unto Jesus and the Apostles.
Sanctification. What do you think about when you hear that word? It has the connotations of being washed and cleansed so that one may be pure, holy and blameless. In some ways, to me, it is a very mysterious word. Do you think of yourself as “holy” or one who is “sanctified”? The world we live in, the culture that surrounds us, is constantly trying to equalize and make common, but our God has called us to be separate. We fail but this is our calling. Paul said to the Ephesians,
Sometimes when you have to do an exhortation, it is difficult to pick a subject. It has to be meaningful, interesting and something that affects you. That is not always easy. Many times a spark of an idea will come at the most menial of daily tasks and other times it will flow from large world events. Often, something will catch hold just by reading and reading. For this exhortation, “nothing” came to me. I have “nothing” to offer you in words of exhortation this morning.
In Romans 15:1 Paul says,
“We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.”
Who are the strong and who are the weak? We might be in danger of misreading this verse by taking it out of context especially since there is a chapter break. Identifying the “weak” and “strong” comes from the previous chapter (14) in verses 1-3,