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"Old Testament Survey"

Hosea through Jonah


Steve Bader in this session continued his Old Testament Scriptures in adult Sunday School class with the books of Hosea through Jonah. This article provides a brief summary of the content. I recommend you either download the audio in it's entirety from sermons page or order the CD's.


Hosea asks the question; does God still love the nation of Israel? God has chosen to love. However, God as the betrayed husband to an idolatrous nation would divorce Israel. So Israel would then be cast out of the house and would feel the betrayal of her foreign lovers but finally be restored. Hosea's life and marriage to Gomer was a mirror of this truth. The unfaithfulness of Gomer reflected Israel's idolatry to foreign gods. Despite this Hosea, like God, forgave them and Gomer was restored. This was to signify that one day Israel would be restored unto the Lord. God pleaded with Israel, the unfaithful wife, to return to Him and be reconciled. The focus in this book is one of longing and love. Hosea shows us that only certain aspects of God's relationship with us can only be expressed in passion, and most expressly, in his unfailing love.


With the privilege of being God's people comes the responsibility of acting like God's people. One day both the people and God and the ungodly will give an account in the Day of the Lord as recorded in Joel. The plague of locusts in the opening section is most likely the coming armies of Babylon, something of which they had not seen the likes of before. It was time for trembling and fear for this was a great judgment, which is similarly reflected by Christ in Matthew. He also spoke against the mere lip service the people gave God. He sought the truly repentant and contrite heart. Eventually restoration would come. The God of the book of Joel is quite contrary to that of the modern sentimental God we here of. So we must ask, is the sentimental God we talk about today really the God "Who Is"? The purpose of God's anger was to turn His people away from their sin. If He did not display His anger, He would have simply forsaken them. If God forsakes, then he does not love. Israel would have been without hope.


The theme of Amos is that of justice, particularly social justice. Israel had received mercy but showed no mercy. Amos was a rural tradesman, mostly known as a shepherd, whose message was directed towards the lavish and pampered northern kingdom of Israel. The poor were afflicted and sold into slavery. As a Judean, he was a prophet to Samaria and Bethel, which was the religious center of the north. They had created an idol in the form of a golden calf and called it Jehovah. Amos' message was one of judgment for the north even though judgments were pronounced against Judea as well. Also, it was a judgment against several nations which committed vile acts against humanity. Offenses of oppression of the poor and disgusting sexual sins were revealed. God told Israel to pack up their impotent idols and go into exile. The love of God and the love of neighbor are interwoven. One cannot separate the two. God then declared no matter where they hid His judgment would find them. He would utterly destroy the northern kingdom and spare Judah. The reason that God would annihilate them completely is because the northern kingdom instituted their own priests dictating how they would worship.


Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament containing only 21 verses. Obadiah means Servant of the Lord. The book was written as a prophecy of judgment against the nation of Edom. The Edomites after the fall of Jerusalem, either by the Philistines during the reign of King Jehoram or by the Babylonians in 586 B.C., took the areas of land that belonged to Israel. They also captured the fleeing Israelites and turned them over to their plunderers (either the Philistines or Babylonians depending on the date). The judgment came because not only did they take advantage of Israel in their time of distress, but also gloated in their calamity. The Edomites were the direct descendants of Esau and therefore were considered by Israel their brothers even though the Edomites did not feel the same way. Israel was also called to love them even though Edom did not return the favor. They were apostates as their father Esau. This was best displayed in their actions against their Israelite brothers. Edom took the land of Hebron after the exile. However, the Jewish Maccabees over took them and made them practice Judaism. In 70 AD, the nation of Idumea (The nation of Edom) was ultimately destroyed with Jerusalem fulfilling the prophecy in Obadiah fully. It was if they had never existed.


The story of Jonah is more than a fable or allegory as often portrayed by liberals to disprove the miraculous. The level of detail in the text suggests this is a historic narrative. The reluctant prophet was commanded by God to travel to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, which is now in the heart of modern Iraq. The prophet is to pronounce coming judgment. However, Jonah rebelled and fled to Joppa where he boarded a boat to Tarsus, the opposite direction of Nineveh. It was considered the end of the known world. He fled because he knew God was offering Nineveh mercy and he did not think they deserved it. He tried to get as far away from God and Nineveh as possible. On the boat storms arose and Jonah was reluctantly throw overboard that the ship and crew be spared. In the deep Jonah was swallowed by a large sea creature prepared by God. Jonah cried out for mercy and God delivered him. Jonah may have likely died and been raised to life again for Jesus declared this event to be a sign of His own death and resurrection. Jonah obeys God and proclaims the message to Nineveh. Just as Jonah suspected, the Ninevites repented and God spared the city. Still, Jonah was not pleased. God used a vine to rebuke Jonah's lack of compassion and show him his wrongheaded and misplaced priorities.

- Jordan McGehee

You can listen to this series here.