No, I am not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet as Amos famously said. (Do you see the pun?) However, it cannot be denied that God spoke through the prophets in many ways (Heb.1:1). This series of articles is taken from one book of prophecy named Hosea after its author. The phraseology will be based on The New Living Bible, though other translation may be used to give a more complete and accurate meaning to the text. The reason for my pursuing this project is to show that the kinds of messages Hosea presented to ancient Israel, though for their day and only occasionally foretelling the future, reveal the nature of God and His view of one nation that had strayed away from Him. Since God has not changed and since modern nations often mirror ancient ones, we can most certainly find insights into how God likely views us today. This does not mean that Hosea was written to give us some end-time tip off as to an eminent destruction like what Israel experienced at the hands of the Assyrians. But this does mean that our obligation to God surely must be to heed warnings regarding similar behaviors today. As Paul said, “Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. They give hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises.” (Rom.15:4)
I am not sure if there is some technical distinction between ordinary preaching and prophetic preaching, but I believe a distinction can be made between teaching and prophetic speech. When I say “prophetic” I do not mean primarily foretelling of future events, though the prophets surely did this. What I mean is forthtelling, speaking a word on behalf of God, a word of correction and reminder to bring a nation or nations back to adherence to God’s word and to again enjoy His favor. I am not going to give you any predictions for the future. You will not learn anything from me about the rapture or the great tribulation or the antichrist. This is not another “Left Behind” thriller. It is a series of articles that attempts to pluck some rather illustrative phrases from the book of Hosea, show how they were used in the context of Hosea’s day, and then make some application to our own day. The Old Testament prophets were wonderful preachers. Though you will find their language often much different from modern day preachers, a trip back in time to a different day when God directly communicated with His people through such men will surely be startling and enlightening. You might find yourself saying, “Did God really tell Hosea to say or do that?” The inspired prophet can be outrageous at times in his language. He tells his audience the truth in stark terms. The prophets in general do not sugar-coat their message. Since the wounds of the people are serious (Jer.6:14), as spiritual physicians they don’t have time for niceties. The cancer is spreading, and the patient is bleeding out.
There is also a personal need for writing this series of articles. Most preachers will identify with this need. Believe it or not, many of us preachers walk on eggshells in our preaching. To use another metaphor, we try to avoid certain landmines at the expense of revealing the real landmines within people’s lives. There is something within us that wants to “tell it like it is.” We often pull our punches lest the blows inflict too much damage. Perhaps wisdom demands the “grace seasoned with salt” approach. However sometimes we just want unseasoned truth. That being said, I do not approach this series with an agenda. I am not getting my licks in now that I am retired. I intend to present the truths of the text as they come. Hosea will be driving this bus. He has provided the outline I will use. My part will only be to apply these truths to a modern context. The power will not be in the application, but in the truths as expressed by Hosea under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
The pace of the articles will be daily at times, and at other times intermittent.