Hosea chapter 3 is the end of the narrative that we find in Hosea. As we have seen, the story of the prophet Hosea and his wife Gomer was a situation specifically created by God to teach a lesson. After all, a normal man would not choose to enter into such a relationship knowing what he was getting into unless a). he was very foolish, b). he hated himself, or c). he was directed to do it by God. There might be other reasons, but I dare say that none of them would be that Hosea really wanted a relationship like what he was going into. As I began to study chapter 3, I thought it would be easy to study just by looking at the length. However, as I looked at various commentaries, I noticed that many of the details were contested. Thankfully, for my sake, the overall meaning of the text, the main point, was strongly agreed upon. As we look at this short chapter, I will try to help you navigate through the details as we arrive at the goal: what is God’s main point in all this? I want to look at this chapter in three sections. In verses 1-2 we find God’s purchase, in verse 3 we find God’s prescript and in the second half of verses three through five we find God’s promise.
Three weeks ago we started to look at the story of Isaac with the servant searching for Isaac’s wife. The servant found success through the Lord’s leading and Isaac and Rebekah were married. Then came the passing of Abraham, the hero of the faith. The two brothers, Isaac and Ishmael, were brought together again by the death of their father and could have very well been the last time that they met. Isaac, the chosen son, the one that had received the promises of God, and Ishmael, the wild donkey of a man. Two nations separated by the actions of God. That leads us to the text we have before us. The passage falls easily into three parts. In the first, we find the Generations of Ishmael in verses 12-18. This is the account of the family of Ishmael. Moses writes this here as he just mentioned Ishmael being present at Abraham’s burial. It closes the book of Ishmael and opens the book of Isaac in verse 19. The book of Isaac opens with Isaac and Rebekah having the same struggles with infertility that Abraham and Sarah had. Again, we find the intervention of God and then the birth of twins which will become Two Peoples Divided. Finally, in verses 27-34 we get a little sneak peek at what is to come in the stories ahead. We get a short story of Jacob and Esau before the story returns to Isaac. In this story, we find a description of Jacob and Esau and it is not a pretty picture of either of them. We find that the twins though very different are very similar in one way; they’re both sinners.
The Millennium: The First Days of Forever – Lesson 8 The final chapters of Ezekiel describe a mysterious prince who will lead sacrifices and have authority in the land. We also see the geographic restructuring of the land for the building of a massive 640-acre temple. This temple has a river flowing out of it that replenishes the Dead Sea and the entire land with it. Finally, we see the reconstituted tribes of Israel living in the land. Not one of them is lost.
Hosea Chapter 2
Over the last couple of weeks, as we studied Genesis chapter 24, we saw a clear display of the providence of God. We also witnessed the rock-solid faith of Abraham and his servant in the providence and provision of God. God is sovereign and has a plan and so we should not be surprised when everything works out. Someone once told my wife that things always have an uncanny way of working out for our family. For us it is no surprise. I often stand amazed and am humbled by the blessings of God’s providence, but I am no longer surprised. God’s plan will unfold according to his will and nothing can thwart him. He has covenanted with his people and it will come to pass. Case closed. In the text before us, we have the closing of Abraham’s earthly life. And though it is the closing of this chapter, the story continues on. The thread of redemption and salvation will continue to be woven through the fabric of history. Consider what we have seen already. We have seen the beauty of God’s creation and his ultimate creation, humans. The humans rebelled against God, bringing corruption and death into the creation. But God promised to send one that would destroy the works of evil. Then came Abel. Would he be the one to crush the serpent’s head? We see the answer quickly as Cain kills Abel. Then another is born, Seth, who worshipped the Lord. Seth grew up and had children of his own. And then another generation came and another. Finally, sin had fully corrupted the hearts of most people. But God preserved Noah and his sons and so, the line to Salvation was preserved. Yet, sin was still in the hearts of the people and many gathered to defy God once again. But God confused the languages of the people and began scattering them across the earth. Generations pass and the line is preserved by God as it passes to Abraham’s generation. God shows to the world that the path to salvation remains as he chooses Abraham from all other’s of his generation to be the family through which the line would continue. There are some missteps by Abraham and some outside forces threaten the promises, but this is all in the plan. As Abraham’s life closes the torch is passed to Isaac who will have the privilege to pass it on to the next generation. As we say goodbye to Father Abraham, I want to point out three main things from the text. First, in verses 1-4 we see the promise gets closer. Remember, Abraham greets the promise from afar but yet with each step the promise gets closer and more clearly seen. Verses 5-6 should cause us to meditate on the free grace of God. And finally, we will consider Abraham’s race the that was well run.
The Millennium – The First Days of Forever: Lesson 7 Ezekiel’s Temple, Part 1
We can assume here that Hosea was a younger man, as the beginning of the book would have been around 753 BC. Hosea continued prophesying until 722, the year of the exile, and so we can safely assume that he was somewhere between 20 and 40 here at his marriage. It was not uncommon for prophets to be married, as we know Isaiah and Ezekiel had wives, although Elijah and Elisha probably did not, and Jeremiah was forbidden from marrying by God. Regardless, one thing that would never fall in the realm of acceptability was for a godly man to marry a prostitute. Such an act would all but guarantee that the man’s wife was not a believer, and especially for a prophet of God, this would be an act of treason on the man’s part. After all, Paul tells us that teachers of the word are to be held to higher standards, that we should not be unequally yoked in marriage, and that the wives of elders should be respectable and “faithful in all things” (1 Timothy 3:11). Yet God commands Hosea to do this, and Hosea simply obeys (much like Abraham does when asked to sacrifice Isaac—”So he went.”) One wonders how he chose Gomer. Did he put a lot of thought into it? Was attraction involved? Was she looking to escape her life and live more godly? Did she even want to go with him? There are a million questions we have that won’t be answered here, but keep in mind, it’s not really about Gomer and Hosea. They are pictures of a deeper truth.
This week we are going to continue looking at the story of the search for a wife for Isaac. We are in the closing years of Abraham and his death is quickly approaching. We have already seen that this final story in the life of Abraham is centered upon his son. The question that is looming is what will happen to the chosen line? How will the promise continue? In Genesis 24:1-9, we saw Abraham giving the command to his servant to go and find a wife for his son. We already know who this woman is because Moses clued us in back in chapter 22 when he told us that Bethuel fathered Rebekah, but of course, Abraham and his servant, did not know that yet. In verses 10 through 27 we saw the description of the servant’s trip to find that wife. We heard the prayers of the faithful servant and we saw the providence of God. Rebekah “just happened” to be the first young woman to arrive at the well when the servant arrived. If you stop and think about how many events that transpired over the length of the servant’s journey, even just the day of their meeting, that had to align, it staggers the mind. This week we have three more sections to study. In verses 28-53 we find the servant’s interaction with Rebekah’s family as he recounts everything that has just happened. The response from everyone is: This is from the Lord. The second part in 54-58 the servant asks to return home with Rebekah immediately. Her response is: I will go. Finally, in verses 59-67 we find the description of Isaac and Rebekah’s meeting and marriage. The blessing of Rebekah’s family is: May you become thousands of ten thousands. As we continue through this story, there are several things that we need to keep in mind. First, this is not just a story about some Middle Eastern man looking to arrange a marriage for his bachelor son. Ultimately, this is a story of how the promise of God to send an offspring of the woman to crush the serpent’s head would come about. This is about the providence of God and how everything is under the governance of the King of Kings. And it is about saving faith, which is a gift of God, so that no one, including Abraham, could boast in himself. God has used trials, tests, important decisions, and pagan kings as tools to grow the faith of Abraham, and not only Abraham’s faith but his servant’s as well.
The Millennium – The First Days of Forever: Lesson 6 In the final chapter of Isaiah, we get a glimpse at both the New Earth and the Millennium. Prophecies of the two are interwoven, as the Millennium is a time of expanding righteousness and peace that leads seamlessly into the New Earth, yet the distinguishing factor is the presence of sin and death in the Millennium.
Steadfast Love: Genesis 24:1-27
This week we begin a new study. Yes, we are still in Genesis but the main character that the Bible points us to is changing. Abraham is still alive and still has a role to play in the remaining years of his life. Abraham remains a background character for the rest of Scripture. He never completely leaves the story of the Bible. But the focus of God’s word does shift from Abraham to follow his descendants. Abraham is an old man now and his life is drawing to an end. The question remains: What will happen to the promise of God concerning the multitudes of descendants after Abraham is dead and gone? Will the covenant that God made with Abraham stand? We’ve seen threats made against the covenant. How will God see this through? Will God see this through?
Many months ago we saw the beginning of the promise that developed into the covenant that God made with Abraham. In Genesis 3:15 we heard it. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head.” That’s the promise and the forerunner of the covenant of Abraham. We’ve seen the promise work its way through history. We saw how God ordered history and protected his promise. This is what we call divine providence.
I’ve mentioned it before and will continue to do so as we go through Genesis. Divine providence is a key theme throughout this book. What is this great doctrine of Divine Providence? People used to know and believe it. The signers of the Declaration of Independence said they were relying upon the protection of divine Providence as they defied the tyrant king. What is this great doctrine of providence? Charles Spurgeon said, “Blessed is that man who is done with chance, who never speaks of luck—but believes that from the least, even to the greatest, all things are ordained by the Lord. We dare not leave out the least event! The creeping of an aphid upon a rosebud is as surely arranged by the decree of Providence—as the march of a pestilence through a nation! Believe this, for if the least thing is omitted from the supreme government, so may the next be, and the next—until nothing is left in the divine hands. There is no place for chance, since God fills all things.” Matthew Henry said, “God who feeds the sparrows—will not starve His saints! God controls all the concerns of His people, even of those that are most minute, and least regarded. This is an encouragement to live in a continual dependence upon God’s providential care!”
The story we have before us is one of providence, the fulfilling of a promise, and steadfast love. We are going to look at the story over two weeks. This week we find Abraham commissioning his servant and declares his faith in Providence in verses 1-9 and then we’ll see the journey of this servant as he obeys his master and trust in the Lord and his steadfast love and faithfulness toward Abraham in verses 10-27.