We now enter into the final stretch of the Old Testament, the 12 Minor Prophets. They’re not labeled “Minor” because they’re any less significanct, it’s primarily due to their brevity.
You’ll notice in the chart above that they’re not placed in chronological order, with Obadiah, Joel, Jonah, and Amos all taking place before Hosea – but the final three books, which are post-exilic, ARE in order, followed by 400 years of silence…before the New Testament.
Hosea’s ministry took place in the 8th century B.C., during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah – in the southern kingdom, and Jeroboam II in the northern kingdom. Hosea was writing primarily to Israel (the northern kingdom) warning them of their sin (spiritual adultery) and impending judgment, while simultaneously promising them that they’d be disciplined, but not destroyed.
In chapter 1 Hosea is commanded to marry a gal named Gomer. Some say she was already a harlot, others believe this was prophetic – that the day would come when she would leave Hosea for harlotry. Either way, God was communicating to Hosea that his marriage would be a picture of God’s marriage with Israel. Israel had been unfaithful to God, she’d given herself to Baal, the calf, and other gods. Their national situation is seen in the names of Hosea’s children, names given to them by God.
Jezreel – this points to God’s future vengeance on Israel
Lo-Ruhamah – this literally means, “no mercy,” for Israel
Lo-Ammi – literally means, “not My people”
God’s mercy would no longer shelter the people from the storm, the Assyrians would come in 722 B.C. and cary Israel away. They had drifted so far from God, that they did not know the Lord, they were NOT His people any longer. Israel had been living in idolatry for 200 years so God was about to judge Israel, but He would not forsake her. Isn’t it interesting that the end of chapter 1 speaks of the last days, when Israel will be restored (see Romans 9-11 for Israel’s past, present, and future). Below is a chart that provides an even bigger picture.
In Hosea 2:1-5 we see the charges against Israel. Just as a spouse can be unfaithful and fall into sexual sin, so Israel who had entered into this covenant and love relationship with God, had been unfaithful. It’s the equivalent of spiritual adultery.
Hosea 2:5a (NKJV) “For their mother has played the harlot; she who conceived them has behaved shamefully.”
In Hosea 2:6-13 we read of God’s chastening upon Israel. It was intended to correct them, so God would limit their freedom in order to bring them back to their first love (Hosea 2:7). It’s sad to read of the way this nation, this people went after the world and all the idols of the day, her lovers…and had forgotten God (Hosea 2:13).
In Hosea 2:14-23 we have God’s promise of restoration to the nation. In wrath He remembers mercy (Habakkuk 3:2). God would allure her and comfort her (Hosea 2:14). It wouldn’t merely be a master-servant relationship it would be reconciliation between husband and wife (Hosea 2:16). They would be His people once again. This won’t completely happen to Israel until midway through the Tribulation Period.
Just as a quick side-note, tragically many marriages can relate to the book of Hosea. Sadly unfaithfulness is a huge problem in the world today, and even in the church. God does allow the freedom to divorce if a spouse has committed adultery, but when there’s true repentance, there can also be true reconciliation.
Hosea 3 reveals the Nature of Love
1. Commanded (Hosea 3:1a)
2. Unconditional (Hosea 3:1b)
3. Supernatural (Hosea 3:1c)
4. Sacrificial (Hosea 3:2)
5. Covenantal (Hosea 3:3)
6. Fruitful/Beneficial (Hosea 3:4-5)
1 John 5:1-21
In this final chapter of 1 John, he uses the word “faith” once, and the word “believes” three times. This is how we’re saved! Whoever “believes” that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God (1 John 5:1). And this is the victory that has overcome the world, our faith, as we believe that Jesus is the Son of God (1nJohn 5:4-5). The moment we place our faith in Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit comes and lives within us as a witness that we’re saved (1 John 5:10; Romans 8:16). I’m so grateful that we’re saved by faith and not works, by believing and not by behaving, because although true Christians will always have works, and our lives will change, we will not be perfect on this side of time – by any means.
If you’ve read through the book of 1 John you definitely walk away with the message that true salvation means we show our love for God by keeping His commandments, which by the way, are not burdensome (1 John 5:3). The two most important “commandments” are to love God and to love others, we cannot say we love God if we don’t love others.
The water and blood in 1 John 5:6 are most likely a reference to the humanity of Jesus and contextually speaking, are emphasized because of the false teaching of Gnosticism, which denied that Jesus actually came in the flesh. Others believe it points to Jesus’ baptism (water) and death (blood). The latter view seems to fit well with 1 John 5:8 as a witness with the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is gathering a bride for Jesus, He’s drawing men, women, and children to the Lord. He’s telling us about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, given by the Father, and born to die in our place. The Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts that all we have to do is believe in Jesus as the Lord and Savior of our lives and there we will find freedom and forgiveness – it’s true, so amazing, so wonderful. The moment we believe, we can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we’re saved, and we have a future home in heaven. Some people don’t have that assurance, they wonder and wait, because they’re basing it upon their own good works or religion. Such people will never enter the Kingdom of God. John wrote this letter for this very purpose (1 John 5:13). to communicate the truth that if we believe in Jesus, and simply keep believing, we can KNOW we have eternal life.
I know I’m going to heaven, but it’s not because I’m a good person (because I’m not when I compare myself to God). I KNOW I’m going to heaven because I have placed my faith in Jesus Christ.
1 John 5:14 is such an important passage, because it teaches us that God is gracious to hear us and answer our prayers, when they are offered up according to His will. So the balance is, we won’t receive if we don’t ask, or if we’re asking with improper motives (James 4:2) and we won’t receive if the request is contrary to God’s will (thank You Lord), but God Himself will answer every prayer in His timing – when – it’s in accordance to His will. So part of the prayer “process” is learning to discover the will of God.
1 John 5:16-17 are tough verses to interpret. If you see a brother or sister doing something that may lead to their physical death, don’t simply pray, act immediately, intervene. Other situations may find us praying for a while, praying from a distance but not necessarily intervening with the same urgency.
As we close this chapter and letter we’re encouraged to live holy lives. God’s children, who have God’s seed (1 John 3:9), shouldn’t continue in persistent, consistent, and insistent sin. When we keep ourselves in the love of God (Jude 21) we do our part in abiding and staying close to Christ. It’s a battle because we’re not only going against the grain of who we are, we’re going against the flow of the world system (which lies under the sway of the wicked one).
“Little children” – John the Beloved now in his 90’s is able to say that. You can sense his love, care, and concern for us children, in his closing words, “…keep yourselves from idols.” Don’t let anything or anyone come before or between you and the Lord.
Before we leave this chapter I’d like to share in a little more detail – a bit about “The Comma Johanneum,” also known as the Johannine Comma, which is a textual variant in respect to 1 John 5:7.
There are different opinions on this, but it is highly unlikely that the Comma Johanneum was originally a part of 1 John. None of the oldest Greek manuscripts of 1 John contain it, and none of the very early church fathers include it when quoting or referencing 1 John 5:7-8. The presence of the Comma Johanneum in Greek manuscripts is actually quite rare until the 15th century A.D. It is primarily found in Latin manuscripts. While some of the Latin manuscripts containing the Comma Johanneum are ancient, the Comma Johanneum did not appear in the original Latin Vulgate written by Jerome.
In the 16th century, when Desiderius Erasmus was compiling what became known as the Textus Receptus, he did not include the Comma Johanneum in the 1st or 2nd editions. Due to intense pressure from the Catholic Church and others who wanted it included because of its support for trinitarianism, Erasmus included the Comma Johanneum in later editions of the Textus Receptus. His decision resulted in the Comma Johanneum being included in the King James Version of the Bible and later in the New King James Version. None of the modern Greek texts (UBS 4, Nestle-Aland 27, Majority Text) contain the Comma Johanneum. Of all the modern English translations, only the New King James Version includes the Comma Johanneum.
While it would be convenient for there to be an explicit statement confirming the Trinity in the Bible, it is highly unlikely that the Comma Johanneum was originally a part of 1 John. What the Comma Johanneum says is true, and I am a firm believer in the essential doctrine of the Trinity, we must rely on the many other passages of the Bible where this truth is clearly and emphatically taught, as the basis for our proof texts.
If you’re a believer you should say it…go ahead and say it (out loud) – “If it had not been the LORD who was on our side…then they would have swallowed us alive.”
Sometimes I’m struck with the fact that if it weren’t for God’s constant protection, the enemy would have killed and consumed me from day one. The Bible says that Satan is roaming about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).
But God has protected us from our enemies, God has protected us from spiritual Tsunamis, God has protected us from their traps and all of their teeth.
It’s good to sing that Psalm, that song, regarding the fact that the Lord is on our side, He’s our helper in life, who happens to be the same One who made heaven and earth!
Does that comfort you? I hope it does.
Proverbs 29:5 (NKJV) “A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet.”
Spreads a net for whose feet? Probably both, they’re both trapped, but especially the flattered.
“The word “flatters” literally means to make (a person) smooth.” In Proverbs 2:16 and Proverbs 7:5 the word is rendered “seductive.” This flattery in Proverbs 29:5 is smooth talk that deceives because it intends to harm. A flatterer, however, suffers for it (Proverbs 26:28). He is caught in the very net he set for others (Proverbs 29:6; 1:18; 28:10).” – Bible Knowledge Commentary
Flattery can be battery; it’s intentional harm, it’s lure to lust. The damage can happen overnight or overtime.
Flattery can be an insincere compliment. It’s okay to be kind and encouraging, to look for the good in others, but it’s not okay to say things you don’t mean in order to get what you want.
Proverbs 29:6 (NKJV) “By transgression an evil man is snared, but the righteous sings and rejoices.”
Transgression carries the idea of “crossing the line.” When the evil man crosses those lines in certain sins, his soul is snared. Contrast that with the righteous man – not snared by sin, but singing; unlike the evil man who is living in lamentation, the righteous man is lifting up his voice in celebration.
Proverbs 29:7 (NKJV) “The righteous considers the cause of the poor, but the wicked does not understand such knowledge.”
“One’s relationship to God shows up in his attitude toward the needy.” – Bible Knowledge Commentary
The wicked don’t truly care, or consider the poor, but the righteous does both. God begins to put people on our hearts, He shows us those in need, and we start thinking, praying, pondering, “Lord, how can I help the ‘poor?’”
Job 29:16 (NKJV) “I was a father to the poor, and I searched out the case that I did not know.”
Psalm 41:1 (NKJV) “Blessed is he who considers the poor; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.”
I’m always amazed how some look down on, or are mean to the poor.
Proverbs 29:8 (NKJV) “Scoffers set a city aflame, but wise men turn away wrath.”
There are a couple of views on this. One speaks of violent and rebellious marches:
“These troublemakers get others angry and incite rebellion. (Cf. “anger” and “angry” in Proverbs 29:11, 22.) The wise, however, help calm a city by averting anger and its rebellious results.” – Bible Knowledge Commentary
While some see it as scoffers inviting and inciting God’s judgment upon a city, contrasted to wise and repentant people who turn it away. This was the case for a season in Nineveh (Jonah 3:5-10).