"Prophetability - lessons of strength and power in the minor prophets!"
There are so many lessons of strength and power found inside the twelve minor prophets of the Bible. Each of them served a special and specific purpose during Israel’s history and continue to provide strength, encouragement, correction, and direction for the children of God. The first of the minor prophecies in the Old Testament is the book of Hosea.
The Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon points out that Hosea revealed little about his background, though his book of prophecy offers a few glimpses into his life. The prophet’s name means “salvation,” likely a reference to Hosea’s position in Israel as a beacon of hope to those who would repent and turn to God because of his message. After the command of God, Hosea married Gomer, a bride God described as “a wife of harlotry” (Hosea 1:2) and a woman who bore Hosea three children, two sons and a daughter. God used the names of Hosea’s children, along with his wife’s unfaithfulness, to send specific messages to the people of Israel.
In Hosea 1:1, the prophet identified the kings that ruled during his prophetic ministry. The first four—Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah—reigned over the southern kingdom of Judah from 790 BC to 686 BC, while Jeroboam II ruled the northern kingdom of Israel from 782 BC to 753 BC. This means that Hosea lived in the middle to late eighth century BC
(755–715 BC), making him a contemporary of the prophets Isaiah and Micah.
Hosea directed the early portion of his prophetic warnings to Jeroboam II, a descendant of the house of Jehu whose son, Zechariah, would soon come to ruin (Hosea 1:4; 2 Kings 15:8–12). Because this prophecy against the descendants of Jeroboam involved the birth of Hosea’s children, we can conclude that he lived in the northern kingdom, where the names of his children would have had the greatest impact.
More than any other prophet, Hosea linked his message closely with his personal life. By marrying a woman, he knew would eventually betray his trust and by giving his children names that sent messages of judgment on Israel, Hosea’s prophetic word flowed out of the life of his family.
Structured around five cycles of judgment and restoration, the book of Hosea makes clear its repetitious theme: though God will bring judgment on sin, He will always bring His people back to Himself. God’s love for Israel, a nation of people more interested in themselves than in God’s direction for their lives, shines through clearly against the darkness of their idolatry and injustice (Hosea 14:4).
Throughout the book, Hosea pictured the people turning away from the Lord and turning toward other gods (4:12–3; 8:5–6). This propensity for idolatry meant that the Israelites lived as if they were not God’s people. And though God told them as much through the birth of Hosea’s third child, Lo-ammi, He also reminded them that He would ultimately restore their relationship with Him, using the intimate and personal language of “sons” to describe His wayward people (1:9–10; 11:1).
There is a very valuable statement made in Hosea 6:3 which can empower and strengthen every believer. “Let us strive to know the Lord. His appearance is as sure as the dawn. He will come to us like the rain, like the spring showers that water the land (CSB). The phrase; “Let us strive to know the Lord,” is powerful!
Strive means “to make great efforts to achieve or obtain something.” It also means “to fight vigorously.”
Although this passage is in the Old Testament the need remains for believers to strive to know God.
The New Covenant established grace as the means of our salvation opposed to adherence to ceremonial laws but our connection with God involves more than just being saved. You cannot improve on salvation but we should strive for excellence in discipleship, evangelism, kingdom building, missions, spiritual warfare tactics, healing, deliverance, miracles, and prophecy. The Bible teaches us to strive for the best gifts.
Using the 6 letters of the word STRIVE let’s look at some strategies you can use to strive to know the Lord better.
The source from which you receive teaching of the Word of God must be protected, preserved, and praised.
Striving to know the Lord involves valuing the sources from which you receive information and experience. Jesus taught His disciples about the demonic attacks on the WORD of God in your life. Luke 8: 11-15 reads; “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. The seed along the path are those who have heard and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. But the seed in the good ground—these are the ones who, having heard the word with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, produce fruit. The effort in striving to know the Lord includes the struggle to prioritize and protect it. Hosea 4: 6 says; “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”
One of the best ways to know the Lord is to go through things with him.
Hosea 8 4 says; “they have installed kings, but not through me. They have appointed leaders but without my approval.” Wendy and I were traveling the other day and the most ominous storm cloud were up ahead and our daughters were behind us about 30 minutes. We thought about going around the storm instead of going through it but the alternate route was out of the way and would have added about an hour to our trip. We decided to go through it. There was some fierce wind and terrible rain but we got through it.
Several things happened as a result of us going through the storm instead of trying to go around it. Firstly, we were exposed to exactly what was in the storm. When you go through anything with God you are able to experience it with the comfort and confidence provided by God’s presence. Secondly, we were able to tell our daughters what to expect. That is a wonderful benefit of striving to do everything you do THROUGH Christ. You can encourage others about the strength provided by God’s presence. The Bible assures me; “I can do all things THROUGH Christ who strengthens me.”
Hosea 10:12 says; “Sow righteous for yourselves and reap faithful love; break up your unplowed ground. It is time to seek the Lord until He comes and sends righteousness on you like rain.”
Righteousness in your lifestyle demonstrates you understand God’s expectation.
Righteous acts work for the Christian similar to the way Saint John describes how Love works. Those who do not love do now know God because God is love. Those who are righteous are so because they do the right thing.
Part of the problem during this time in Israel’s history was that they continued to install kings who would do what they wanted and not reprimand them for their sins instead of seeking God’s approval for their leaders.
Who have you installed in positions in your life who are giving you a distorted perspective of God, telling you what you want to hear but who God has not appointed to your life?
Hosea 10:3 says; “Now we have no King.” Those around us who only tell us what we want to hear or who are insincere will not last. They will come and go. Strive to know the Lord by Installing in your life those who have been faithful to you and to God, those who are happy to help you by being honest with you and who are willing to love you unconditionally.
Visit Him in Prayer
The prophecy of Hosea was given to Israel about their imminent doom as a result of their whoreish behavior. One of the things they had stopped doing was praying. It may not have been that Gomer was always a promiscuous woman. Perhaps she was in a monogamous relationship at one time and communication with her spouse began to breakdown.
Your relationship with God will begin to suffer as communication with him is reduced.
Strive to know God through Prayer! Finally, to know the Lord better you should learn to enjoy your time with him.
Enjoy Your Time With God
Like Hosea’s marriage with a promiscuous woman, God’s connection with an adulterous nation grieved him. It grieves God’s heart when we no longer find joy in our relationship with Him. Joy is the byproduct of Obedience.
Visit Him in Prayer
Enjoy Your Time With God
"Strive to know God and you will find new joy every day!" - Dr. Wiley Hughes
Rev. Wiley Hughes
D.Min., Psy.D., FBPPC, LPCA, NCC
Apostolic Leader of Destiny Now