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Good news and bad news

Friday, November 16, 2012

Our Bible study group just finished the book of Hosea, we each said, "Wow!" I want to do God's will, but God, please, please don't command me to do something as unusual or strange as You did to Hosea.

This book must be understood in the theology of Deuteronomy which records the covenant relationship between God and Israel. Israel was to be loyal to God by worshiping Him only and obeying His commandments, if not they would be exiled from the land. However, they had failed big time and now, in the midst of their materialistic prosperity God was about to bring His judgment upon them.

Hosea's prophetic ministry extended through the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah and Jeroboam II, king of Israel -- thus dating his ministry within 790 BC and 725 BC.

After this brief introduction of himself as God's prophet, Hosea tells us about his unusual family situation. God commanded him to take a wife of harlotry. Hosea obeyed, taking a prostitute, named Gomer, as his wife. She born three children. Hosea gave them symbolic names -- Jezreel (God scatters), Lo Ruhamah (not pitied), and Lo Ammi (not my people). They were thus named to show that God was about to bring judgment upon His chosen people.

Eventually, the wayward Gomer ended up in the slave market. It was there that Hosea bought her back and restored her as his wife. His unusual and unhappy life was the lesson of harlotry of his people rejecting the one true God. (Chapters 1-3)

Chapters 4-14 contain the prophet's messages of judgment against His beloved people. But the book ends in a tender message of a restored people.

History reveals Israel did not heed Hosea's messages. God dispersed the nation just as He promised. However, today, He is bringing them back to the land, but in unbelief. Hallelujah! The glorious promise of restoration is moving rapidly forward.

What a timely book to read! Oh, if only everyone would just open it and ingest the messages -- what a change would transpire in hearts.

Our place in God's plan is not the same as Israel's. We're living in the church age and our guidance is found in the New Testament, but God's requirements are never altered. His message is the same -- sin brings judgment bu He is always faithful to restore the repentant soul and nation.

Our recent election has revealed America's spiritual condition. We are in the same plight Israel was in during days gone by. Our fate is not be exiled throughout the world, but looming over us is God's wrath -- the death of our nation. We've become a nation of freeloaders, so immoral and completely ignoring our Creator. Certainly, man has made such a mess that no man can correct our path over the cliff to utter destruction.

However, there is good news -- Jesus is coming to rescue those who love him (John 14:3), but there is bad news too, tribulation is coming upon nonbelievers (Matthew 24:4-26).

Christians, be joyful and busy serving Jesus. "Look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh." Luke 21:28)

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