Background

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Hosea



Hosea
source: NIV Life Application Study Bible

Hosea highlights the parallels between his relationship with Gomer and God’s relationship with the nation of Israel. Although the people made a covenant with the one true God, they went after false gods. In the same way, Hosea married Gomer, knowing ahead of time that she would leave him. Hosea tenderly dealt with this wife ins spite of her sin. And God was merciful toward the people of Israel despite their sins. God has not changed: he is still merciful and forgiving.

Purpose: To illustrate God’s love for his sinful people
Setting: End of the prosperous but morally declining reign of Jeroboam II of Israel. Upper classes did well, but were oppressive to the poor.
Key Verse: “The Lord Said to me, ‘Go show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” 3:1
Special Features: Hosea employs many images form daily life: 
God is depicted as husband, lion, leopard, bear, dew, rain, moth, and others

Israel is pictured as wife sick person, vine, grapes, early fruit, olive tree, woman in childbirth, oven, morning mist chaff, and smoke etc.

 


MEGATHEMES 

THEME
EXPLANATION
IMPORTANCE
The Nation’s Sin
Just as Hosea’s wife, Gomer, was unfaithful to him, so the nation of Israel had been unfaithful to God. Israel’s idolatry was like adultery. They desired improper relationships with Assyria and Egypt in order to gain military power, and they mixed Baal worship with the worship of God.
Like Gomer, we can chase after other loves – love of power, pleasure, money, or recognition. The temptations in this world can be very seductive. Are we loyal to God, remaining completely faithful, or have other loves taken his rightful place?
God’s Judgment
Judah broke the covenant, turned away form God, and forgot her Maker, so she experienced a devastating invasion and exile.
The Lord is our only true refuge. If we harden our hearts against him, there is no safety or security anywhere else. We cannot escape God’s judgment.
God’s Love
Just as Hosea went after his unfaithful wife to bring her back, so the Lord pursues us with his love. His love is tender, loyal, unchanging, and undying. No matter what, God still loves us.
Have you forgotten God and become disloyal to him? Don’t let prosperity diminish your love for him or let success blind you to your need for his love.
Restoration
Although God will disciplines his people for sin, he encourages and restores those who have repented. True repentance opens the way to a new beginning. God forgives and restores.
Turn to the Lord while the offer is still good. No matter how far you have strayed, God is willing to forgive you.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Are You Helping to Unify the Body of Christ, the Church?



“Unity in Christ is not something to be achieved: it is something to be recognized.”
~A.W. Tozer


This morning I read John 17:20-23 where Jesus prayed for his disciples. He prayed not only for His disciples, but for those who would follow them in the future. He prayed for US. I love that! He prayed for our unity. Those of us who are lucky enough to experience a Church family with the love, fellowship, and support they provide, recognize this unity Christ prayed for. In looking at the Disciples, and thinking about their characteristics, we see different levels of education, various professions, and varying temperaments. Acts 4:32 tells us that after being filled with the Holy Spirit, they were “one in heart and mind.” So, what pulled them together? They didn’t have a common background. They had Him. His very real presence. This unity that we find unachievable due to our sinful nature, can only be recognized by our absolute dependence on HIM.
 
Unity with fellow Christians is imperative. We must fellowship with other believers. The NIV Study Bible notes on John 17:14 tells us that “the world hates Christians because Christians’ values differ from the world’s. Because Christ’s followers don’t cooperate with the world by joining in their sin, they are living accusations against the world’s immorality. The world follows Satan’s agenda, and Satan the avowed enemy of Jesus and his people.” This really struck a chord with me when I read it. I know that the world hates Christians, that is not a new thought to me, but that we are living accusations against the world’s immorality…. is one of those statements that when you hear it you kind of slap yourself upside the head, and say, “of course”!

I’m so grateful for the fellowship, support, and love that Sisters offers. This amazing group of women has had such an impact on my life. I can just picture the smile on Jesus' face as he looks down and feels the love and unity this group provides to one another.