The purpose of life is not to be happy. The purpose of life is to matter, to be productive, to have it make some difference that you lived at all.
Archive for May, 2012
It is important to take time to see the beauty in the world that surrounds you. Watch a sunrise or sunset, observe the vibrant colors of nature’s changing seasons, or count the stars on a moonless night. Enjoy the gift you have been given of life on this earth and all it has to offer.
1. The son of Beeri and first of the so-called Minor Prophets (Hosea 1:1: – 1 The word of the Lord that came to Hosea son of Beeri during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahazand Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the reign of Jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel).
The Man with a Sorrowful Heart
Little is known of Hosea’s history beyond what we find in his writings. He has been called the first prophet of Grace and Israel’s earliest evangelist. He was a native of the Northern Kingdom, the iniquities and idolatries of which weighed heavily on his heart. He bore the same name as that of the last king of Israel (2 Kings 15:30: – 30 Then Hoshea son of Elah conspired against Pekah son of Remaliah. He attacked and assassinatedhim, and then succeeded him as king in the twentieth year of Jotham son of Uzziah). In Jewish tradition, he is identified with Beerah of Reuben (1 Chron. 5:6: – 6 and Beerah his son, whom Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria took into exile. Beerah was a leader of the Reubenites). Christian tradition, however, relates him to the Hosea of the tribe of Isaachar.
The home tragedy overtaking him earned him the title of “The Prophet of a Sorrowful Heart.” Through the wrongs he suffered he came to realize the sins committed by Israel against God, and the long history of unfaithfulness to Him. The accounts of Hosea’s marriage, the birth of his children and his wife’s unfaithfulness and restoration make sad reading. Hosea was called to express God’s message and to manifest His character.
Gomer, his wife, was immoral; hence the word of the Lord came to him amid much personal anguish; his home life was destroyed. Society was corrupt and God’s law spurned, and Hosea came to see in his own suffering a reflection of what the sorrow of God must be, when Israel proved utterly unfaithful.
Three children were born to Hosea and Gomer:
I. Jezreel, recalling the deed of blood, and by it a knell was rung in the ears of Jeroboam. The name of this child was an omen of coming judgment.
II. Lo-ruhamah, meaning, “one who never knew a father’s love.” This expressive name pointed to a time when, no more pitied by Jehovah, Israel would be given over to her enemies.
III. Lo-ammi, signifying “one not belonging to me.” Israel had turned from a father’s love and deserved not to belong to God. Thus this third child’s name prophesied the driving out of the children of Israel from their land to exile.
Gomer, the erring wife, is received back
Hos. 3:1: – 1 The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes. ”
Hos. 3:2: – 2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley.
the price of her redemption being paid by Hosea. So the prophet was not only God’s messenger of grace—he reflected God’s character and foreshadowed ultimate redemption through the Messiah and Israel’s reestablishment as a nation.
The four lessons we learn from the broken heart and the Book of Hosea have been fully expounded by Dr. Stuart Holden:
Anguish quickens apprehension.
Iniquity inspires moral indignation.
Suffering begets sympathy.
The divine character sanctifies human conduct.
2. Joshua’s earlier name — changed by Moses
Num. 13:8: – 8 from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea son of Nun.
Num. 13:16: – 16 These are the names of the men Moses sent to explore the land. (Moses gave Hoshea son of Nunthe name Joshua.)
Deuteronomy 32:44: – 44 Moses came with Joshua son of Nun and spoke all the words of this song in the hearing of the people.
3. The son of Azaziah and prince of Ephraim in David’s reign (1 Chron. 27:20: – 20 over the Ephraimites: Hoshea son of Azaziah; over half the tribe of Manasseh: Joel son of Pedaiah).
4. A son of Elah, the last king of the Northern Kingdom (2 Kings 15:30: – 30 Then Hoshea son of Elah conspired against Pekah son of Remaliah. He attacked and assassinatedhim, and then succeeded him as king in the twentieth year of Jotham son of Uzziah).
5. A chief under Nehemiah who with others signed the covenant (Neh. 10:23: – 23 Hoshea, Hananiah, Hasshub).
For the director of music. A psalm of David. How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’ and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me.
Long enough, God–you’ve ignored me long enough. I’ve looked at the back of your head long enough. Long enough I’ve carried this ton of trouble, lived with a stomach full of pain. Long enough my arrogant enemies have looked down their noses at me. – Take a good look at me, God, my God; I want to look life in the eye, So no enemy can get the best of me or laugh when I fall on my face. – I’ve thrown myself headlong into your arms–I am celebrating your rescue. I’m singing at the top of my lungs, I’m so full of answered prayers.
God allowed the Assyrians to carry the Israelites away to a strange land
THE PEOPLE OF Nineveh believed God’s prophet and were ready to ask God to forgive their sins. They repented, and they were not destroyed. But the people of Israel did not believe the faithful prophets whom God sent to them, one after another. Some of them, of course, believed; but many of them did not. Their kings refused to worship God in the right way, and kept the golden calves, which the first king of Israel had made.
Many years passed by, and God saw that the Israelites would never return to worship him as they had done in the days of David and Solomon. Nineteen kings had ruled in the land of Israel, and many times God had helped those kings out of trouble. Still they would not lead their people back to the true worship.
At last God allowed an enemy to carry them all away to a strange land. Hoshea was king in Israel when the great Assyrian army came down into the land and took possession of it.
For a while Hoshea and his people paid a large sum of money each year to the Assyrian nation, and they were allowed to live in their own land. But when Hoshea refused to pay the money and sent to the king of Egypt for help, the king of Assyria sent his army again, and the army took Hoshea and all his people away from their homes and led them into heathen cities to keep them for slaves.
This was the terrible punishment that their sins of idol-worship had brought upon them. And they were never again allowed to return to live in their homeland.
The Assyrian king now ruled over all of the country where the ten tribes of Israel used to live. He wanted to have some people in that land, so he took some heathen people from cities in the east country and brought them to live in the cities of Samaria. He told them to work the fields and keep the vineyards, and pay him money from the crops they raised in Israel.
The new people in Israel were idol-worshipers. They did not know about the true God at all. After they had been in the land for some time they became afraid of the God of that land, for lions would come out of the woods and kill some of them when they went out to their fields to work.
They believed that the God of Israel was sending the lions among them because they did not know how to worship him. So they sent messengers back to Nineveh to tell the king about their troubles. They asked him to send a priest of the Israelite slaves back to Israel, that he might teach them to worship the Israelites’ God.
The king sent a priests of the Israelites, and he went to live in Bethel. He told the strange people about the true God, and they, too, tried to worship him. But they continued to worship their own gods, and their religion became a mixture of right and wrong.
Even today some of the descendants of those people are living in Samaria, and their worship is a mixture of idolatry and the religion of the Jews.
In Jesus’ Name
No matter what weakness you think you may have, no matter what inadequacies or setbacks you’ve encountered, God wants to give you His divine strength! He wants to make up the difference and put you further ahead than you ever thought possible. One time in the Old Testament, God simply multiplied the sound of four men’s footsteps and caused them to sound like a mighty army. When their enemies heard them, they took off running. There were thousands of enemy troops running for their lives, scared to death, thinking they were being attacked by a massive army when, in fact, it was just four people! What happened? God made up the difference.
Friend, God can make you seem bigger than you really are. He can make you look more powerful. He knows how to multiply your influence, your strength, your talent and your income. You don’t have to figure it all out; all you have to do is put your trust in Him. If you will release your faith for a supernatural year and wake up every day expecting God’s far and beyond favor, then you’re going to see God show up and make the difference in every area of your life!