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.
The Millennium -The First Days of Forever: Lesson 5
No Old Testament book speaks more of the coming kingdom than Isaiah. In Isaiah, we also get what is probably the Old Testament’s most detailed look at the 1000 year reign of Christ in chapter 65.
In these familiar passages, we should look to see an intermediate state in which death and sin are still present, yet are minimized through the righteous rule of the Messiah. Blessings abound where sin and the curse once abounded.
The book of Hosea was written between 753-722 BC. This last year, 722, was the year of the exile of the northern 10 tribes of Israel by the kings of Assyria. The conquest of Israel actually took nearly 20 years, as the first captives were deported around 740 BC. Even in those dates, we see the tremendous mercy of God to an undeserving people, a major theme of the book. Hosea is the first of the twelve minor prophets. They’re called minor not because of their lesser importance but merely because of their shorter length. That’s an important point to make, as the minor prophets contain great wealth for Christians. The minor prophets are extensively quoted in the New Testament, and after Zechariah, Hosea is the most frequently quoted minor prophet by the apostles. Some of the most memorable sayings from God through the prophet include “I will have mercy rather than sacrifice” (6:7), “I will say to them who were not my people, You are my people, and they shall say, You are the LORD my God” (2:23), “O death, where is your victory? O grave, where is your sting?” (13:14), and “Out of Egypt, I called my son” (11:1). So this should be somewhat familiar to us already.
This is our last message in our study of Abraham. Over the last couple of stories, we have seen the blessings of God upon Abraham’s life. We saw him walk by faith and not by sight. His faith in his God has grown. He has learned that God is the God of blessings, he is Yahweh El Olam, the Everlasting God, and he is Jehovah Jireh, the Provider. We find the death of Abraham in chapter 25, but after the death of Sarah, which is at the heart of the text we are looking at, the focus of the narrative turns to Isaac. God has tested Abraham’s faith, strengthening it and making it shine and now he is ready to run the last leg of his race.
In the story today we find some things that are familiar to us and some things that might cause us to scratch our heads. We know the familiar scene of a loved one mourning at the side of the beloved. We know from experience or we can sympathize with those that have the tough job of making funeral arrangements and preparing for the burial of their loved one. Some of us have experienced that this past year and know all too well what Abraham is going through. This story is a reminder that, if the Lord does not return in our lifetime, death comes for us all. As Spurgeon once said, “The young may die. The old must die.”
This story is also one of promises and perseverance. One of the main themes that I have tried to emphasize to you as we started in Genesis is the promises of God. It started in Genesis chapter 3 and will continue unbroken until the book of Revelation. The promises have been given and now we watch them unfold. But more than just watching them in the word we must strive to make them our own. AW Pink once said, “The bee would not extract honey from the flowers as long as he only gazed upon them.” This is perseverance. Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Jacob are given to us as those that persevered to the end. They heard the promises of God, they saw them but greeted them from afar. Yet, this did not stop them from finishing the race in faith.
Today’s passage divides nicely into five parts. Verses one through two describe the death of Sarah and we will consider the passing of an example. In verses three through six we find Abraham, a man who has lived decades in the land still a sojourner and a foreigner. In verses seven through eleven we see the Hittites willing to give Abraham a cave for burial but in verses 12 through 16 Abraham insists on weighing out the silver (he buys the land). And finally, in verses 17-20 we’ll consider Abraham’s possession and what that means.
The Millennium The First Days of Forever Lesson 4
This lesson is entitled The 1000-year Sabbath.
Today, we finish looking at Genesis chapter 22. Remember what we looked at last time. We had the monumental event of Abraham’s life. God asked him to sacrifice his son Isaac on the altar as a burnt offering. This whole situation was not for God, as if he needs anything, but it was planned for Abraham and us. We needed to learn about the great doctrine of substitution.
The doctrine of substitution says that Jesus Christ stood in our place, he took the punishment for us that we deserved. He became sin who knew no sin. James Smith said about this idea, “The scene on Mount Moriah, as typical of the greater scene on Mount Calvary, could scarcely have been perfect without the thought of substitution being made prominent. The figure now changes. The ram becomes the burnt-offering, and the submissive one goes free. You observe this sacrifice was provided by God. We have still Jesus before us, not as the Son now, but as the Substitute of one condemned to die. Man found a Cross for Christ, but it was God who found the Ransom…Ask Isaac, as he gazes on the ram burning in his stead if he believes in substitution.”
We also saw in that passage a picture of resurrection. Hebrews 11 explains. “[Abraham] considered that God was able even to raise [Isaac] from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.” Abraham knew what the promise was and he knew what God had also said. He did not consider that God contradicted himself. To the eyes of the flesh and the world, the commands of God seem to oppose each other, to the eyes of faith, there is beautiful harmony. Abraham knew that if he did kill Isaac, Isaac must rise from the dead to fulfill God’s promise. And so, figuratively speaking, Isaac was a good as dead but God’s substitution brought him back from the dead.
So, after learning some amazing truths about God’s plan of salvation or how the seed of the woman would bruise the serpent’s head, we are now ready to hear the conclusion to this story.
The text we have before us naturally breaks down into two main parts. Verses 15-19 explain what happened immediately after Abraham sacrifices the ram that God provided in place of Isaac. The second section is verses 20-24 we are told of someone we haven’t talked about in a long time, Abraham’s brother Nahor.
Early Shadows of the Kingdom
Israel was always intended to be a kingdom that ruled over the entire earth and whose king was God himself. This has never been fulfilled on this old Earth and must and will be fulfilled.