Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Obadiah Bible Study Notes Chapter 1


Obadiah 1

-This is the shortest book in the Old Testament and consists of only one chapter. There is scant knowledge about the prophet Obadiah and the actual time of this prophecy. Scholars, doing their best, can only place this prophecy vaguely in either the time of Jehoram of Judah, 855-840 B.C., or possibly during the time of Jeremiah’s ministry, 627-586 B.C. at the time of the Babylonian invasion. As you can see, this is a wide time gap, but there is no substantial evidence to determine when this book was delivered by the Spirit of God.

-The important thing to remember is that the LORD did pronounce justice for His people through Obadiah and would bring down the pride of the lofty living Edomites for the everlasting destruction of their nation because they had treated the chosen people of God with contempt and violence. They had rejoiced at the calamity of their brothers (Edom comes from Esau, Jacob’s brother and son of Isaac and Abraham, Genesis 25:19-26; 32:3) and felt secure in their mountainous dwelling (they lived south and east of the Dead Sea region in what is today modern Jordan, this is where Petra is, the famous stronghold mountain that could easily be defended from invaders). At the time of this prophecy Edom would more than likely have felt much more secure in their longevity and continuance as a nation than Judah. However, God foretells of their demise through His Word and will eventually bring them down for their pride and arrogance of heart (Obadiah 1:3-4). They will be ruined to never recover because of the violence they had perpetrated and allowed towards their brother, Jacob (Obadiah 1:10). They had gloated over the misfortune of their relatives, God’s people, and rejoiced in their day of destruction (Obadiah 1:12).

-Verse 15 moves into what I believe to be a futuristic prophecy with the familiar wording “the day of the LORD.” This, the prophet says, will be unto “all the nations” and has significance for the ramifications to any people group and their treatment of His people primarily referring to Israel, but also can refer to any of the believing people of God including Gentiles in His church. Their dealings will return on their head if they mistreat or stand aloof. Destruction is prophesied for those who go against the LORD’s anointed (Obadiah 1:16). Judgment is placed on the enemies of God “and the Kingdom will be the LORD’s (Obadiah 1:21).” *Application* It doesn’t matter how secure a country or nation feels about its economic prowess, natural abundance, or military might. The LORD God has ways of bringing a prideful nation down to its knees in humility and mercy and maybe even destruction when it turns its back on God and His people. The Sovereign LORD will always fight for His own. Our country, even the United States, will only survive as long as it blesses Israel and the people of God in His church. Eventually all nations who go against God’s Word will be judged and brought very low no matter how invincible they may appear. We cannot rely on our expertise, knowledge of ingenuity, or technology to sustain us forever. Only the LORD in His power is capable of that (Proverbs 3:5-6). As individuals and nations we cannot afford to allow ourselves to feel so comfortable and content with our wealth or security that we fail to look to the LORD for perpetuity and help God’s people. It is sin to stand by and do nothing when it is in our power to help (James 4:17). The theme of this book, Obadiah, reminds us of that undeniable fact.

Verses to Memorize: Obadiah 1:3, 15

Monday, July 30, 2012

Amos Bible Study Notes Chapter 9


Amos 9

-The LORD is seen standing beside the alter (more than likely referring to the Temple in Jerusalem, which was and is the center of His activity on this earth) pronouncing inescapable judgment and captivity for His people (Amos 9:1-4). *Application* Where can we go to hide from the LORD (Psalm 139:7-10)? Of course we know that answer is nowhere. He is omnipresent (everywhere) and omniscient (all-knowing), which leaves us completely at His mercy in all situations. Going against Him and His will should strike fear and even terror for the unrepentant and unbelieving.

-The LORD’s attributes are extolled again by the prophet with clarity, power, and authority (Amos 9:5-7). This is a stanza of praise for His wondrous works and majesty. The Name of the LORD is magnified and exalted as it should be.

-*Application* The phrase, “Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are on the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy them from the face of the earth;” should bring all to shutter at the prospects of living with a culture that has turned its back on God and His ordinances (Amos 9:8). He will not tolerate iniquity forever. He is just and will bring every unrepentant act into righteous account. His knowledge is, once again, supreme and exacting on the disobedient. His warnings are to be taken seriously. His purpose is for turning back to Him before destruction happens.

-“Nevertheless” is a sharp contrast word here in the middle of verse 8 that takes the message of the Word of God in a new direction for the rest of the book. God’s reveals His plans to preserve and not completely destroy (or wipe out) a remnant of the house of Jacob. This refers to the entire nation of the Jews. He will “shake” them out as grain “among the nations” and eventually have the kernels that are not sieved return to repopulate and raise the country back up to its glory (Amos 9:9-14). At this point, which I believe we are now witnessing in our modern age, they will not be uprooted again from their land which the LORD has given them (Amos 9:15). There is also reference to the spiritual Kingdom set up by the Messiah (the time of Jesus Christ), which is the fallen booth of David raised up (Amos 9:11). *Application* God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is still intact (Genesis 12:3; 27:29). The blessings of the LORD are on those who bless His people and conform to His image through faith. Do not lose sight of what is going on in the land of biblical prophecy. Our modern newspapers tell of the glory of our Great King as Israel develops and prospers. All of these prophecies are currently being fulfilled in our time! How exciting is that?!

Verses to Memorize: Amos 9:8, 15

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Amos Bible Study Notes Chapter 8


Amos 8

-The LORD shows the prophet Amos a basket of summer fruit indicating the end for His people Israel (Amos 8:1). The phrase, “I will spare them no longer” is reiterated from Amos 7:8 as a final word on the matter of their rebellion and following after other gods, their greed, pride, and insensitivity to the needy and humble (Amos 8:2-6). The summer fruit analogy is thought provoking and interesting. When we think of it, the summer fruit represents the harvest, the growing season, the best of the fruit. The LORD was telling them, I believe, that they were now ripe for destruction (Joel 3:13, Revelation 14:15-18). The fullness of their depravity had come before Him. He had cultivated all of His warnings and they had turned out to be futile for the turning back to His truth and mercy. Israel (the northern kingdom) had shunned their King and there was no other recourse but to destroy them as a nation. This was an irrevocable word from the LORD and would be carried out in the near future even though they were at ease with their current circumstances. *Application* We should hasten to consider the implications of this in our own personal lives as well as that of our own nation. We are only useful to the LORD’s purposes and plans as we are obedient to Him. Don’t ever become ripe where you have no room for spiritual growth and extension of your sanctification. We as believers never arrive at perfection on this earth. We should continue to exert every effort with all diligence to add to our faith and become more and more like Christ Jesus in His image (2 Peter 1:5-9; 3:18). Don’t become short-sighted and blinded and unproductive for the Kingdom for temporary satisfactions and folly.

-We see that God is not fooled by Israel’s fake religious exercises (Amos 8:10). He understands their hearts and the wickedness that resides within them. Therefore, lamentation, mourning, and bitterness are prophesied over them. They have no desire for the Word of God and therefore it will become scarce for them to find. In fact it will become a spiritual famine with no place to go for the wisdom of God (Amos 8:11-12). They that have sought after other gods will fall and not rise again (Amos 8:14). *Application* “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life (Galatians 6:7-8).” If we want to reap a continual harvest of increasing spiritual fruit and not let our basket become ripe where the next step is over-ripe and rotten, we must take care of our walk with Christ Jesus and mature in Him by His Spirit. Seek hard after His Word and grow in your understanding of it. It is like layers of an onion as you peel it back. It goes deeper and further than you could ever think or imagine. God’s riches and treasures are to be examined and meditated on and then applied for productive and continual increase. Don’t starve yourself spiritually. Seek God and stay fresh forever!

Verse to Memorize: Amos 8:11

Friday, July 27, 2012

Amos Bible Study Notes Chapter 7


Amos 7

-The LORD shows Amos what He intended to do with the Northern Kingdom under the wicked king Jeroboam. The first two things, a locust-swarm and fire from the deep, were dismissed on account of the prophet’s pleading with God on behalf of the smallness of Jacob. The LORD did relent of these judgments, but He showed Amos a plumb line (a tool to measure and ensure straightness especially for walls, a crooked wall will mean instability to the building and eventual collapse). God was about to put a plumb line on His people and spare them no longer (Amos 7:8). Sin had so infected this people that the LORD could not and would not stand for it any longer. With the sword the Almighty will rise up against the house of Jeroboam (Amos 7:9). *Application* First, we should understand the heart of Amos in pleading for his countrymen before the LORD. As righteous individuals it is our duty and responsibility to pray for and intercede for the leadership and well-being of our respective nations (1 Timothy 2:1-4). We, like Amos, at times will be called to stand up and point out unrighteousness as well as things that go against the sovereign will of God. It is in those times that we must be courageous but loving as we stand for the principles of the Heavenly Kingdom that we as Christians would and should pray for by command from Jesus Himself (Matthew 6:10). If any nation truly could follow the LORD’s righteous commands it would be perfect and for this we pray knowing that one day King Jesus will return and install His righteous reign (Revelation 19:6). Second, the plumb line for us is a reminder that the LORD is perfect and wants us to be holy as well (Leviticus 19:2). Sin makes our path crooked and it is the LORD’s desire for us all to come clean before Him through repentance and faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. Meditate on His Word, confess your shortcomings humbly before His gracious throne, and walk continually in His Spirit. These are the keys to a right relationship and fellowship with God.

-Next we see that Amos encounters persecution from Amaziah, the priest of Bethel (in the Northern Kingdom). Amaziah tells King Jeroboam of the prophet’s pronouncement of judgment upon him (Amos 7:11). Amos is told to leave and flee back to the land of Judah (where he was from, Amos 1:1) and do his prophesying there (Amos 7:12). Amos’ response was witty. He claimed he was really no prophet by pedigree, but a simple herdsman and grower of sycamore figs (Amos 7:14). But, and this is the key, the LORD took him and said to him, “Go prophesy to My people Israel (Amos 7:15).” It was God who was speaking and had nothing to do with Amos’ thoughts, initiatives, or agenda. He finished with a flurry of strong prophetic words given by the LORD about certain destruction at this point. *Application* How do we handle the naysayers and persecutors when we know we’ve given a word directly from God? With the true in love, that’s how (Ephesians 4:15). As we see here in Scripture, Amos is firm, secure, and strong with his words. He does not back down; he does not capitulate to the false prophet. His announcement is steadfast, but he doesn’t fight in his own strength. He simply gives the word of the LORD and leaves it at that. If you know the LORD is telling you to deal with a specific circumstance that you know is wrong, go in power and authority from the most High and love those you must rebuke with the same love He demonstrates to us. Remember, God’s judgments and warnings are for corrective purposes. If the sinner is warned and still rejects, His wrath will come because of their own doing and we should feel remorse for their bad decision, not bitterness and hatred.

Verses to Memorize: Amos 7:8, 15

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Amos Bible Study Notes Chapter 6


Amos 6

-Woe is pronounced on those who are at “ease” in Zion and those who feel secure in the mountain of Samaria (Amos 6:1). The LORD loathes their arrogance and detests their false sense of security in themselves (Amos 6:8, 13). He is commanding “a smashing up” (vs. 11) as a foreign nation will be lifted up against them for the purpose of affliction (Amos 6:14). The prophet reiterates their primary faults as turning “justice into poison and righteousness into wormwood (bitterness)” (Amos 6:12; 5:24). *Application* How easy is it to let things get comfortable and complacent when things are going well? It is as easy for us to get self-sufficient as it was for the children of Israel when times of prosperity flow and it seems like we can do no wrong. In these times, it is so tempting to give up our reliance on God, who gives and blesses with all His goodness, and think that we have it all figured out. It is at those times of “ease” that we must be very careful and vigilant. I heard a great message a couple of weeks ago on the difference between “ease” and “rest.” God certainly wants us to be at rest in Him (Psalm 116:7, Matthew 11:28-29, Hebrews 4:10-11). “Rest” is the confident assurance that God is in control and that your striving in your own strength is futile and unwarranted. It has the connotation of giving your own rights and placing faith in the Sovereign LORD. “Ease” on the other hand deals with complacency, lethargy, laziness, and luxury. This is where a sneak attack will come from the enemy and destroy the great things God was doing in your life and journey. The best example of this scripturally is David and his fall with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:1-12:23). Wherever you live, do not succumb to the disease of “ease!”

Verse to Memorize: Amos 6:1

Monday, July 23, 2012

Amos Bible Study Notes Chapter 5


Amos 5

-A dirge is to be taken up for the lamentation of Israel (i.e. the northern kingdom) for she has fallen and will not rise again according to the Word of the LORD. Their false gods cannot save them in the day of distress as they have turned justice into wormwood (bitterness) and cast righteousness down to the earth (obliterated it) (Amos 5:7).

-A stanza of praise for God’s great works ensues as He is glorified.

-Then the accusations are substantiated. The Israelites have hated their reproofs and abhorred those who speak with integrity (Amos 5:10). They have imposed heavy rent on the poor and exacted a tribute of grain from them (Amos 5:11). *Judgment* They will build splendid houses, but will not live in them (Amos 5:11b). They will not drink from the wine of their pleasant planted vineyards (Amos 5:11b). They have committed many sins and distress the righteous and accept bribes and turned aside the poor in the gate (arrogance) (Amos 5:12).

-The remedy is given for a possible display of grace from the LORD in verses 14-15. They are recommended to seek and love good rather than evil plus establish justice once again in the gates.

-The day of the LORD is portrayed as a day of darkness and gloom for them. God has rejected them and their festivals, solemn assemblies, burnt offerings, grain offerings, peace offerings, and their music (Amos 5:21-23). Again the prophet reiterates what God would like to see…justice rolling down like waters (water permeates and penetrates) and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream (Amos 5:24). *Application* It should not be so hard for us to understand the heart of the LORD here from this passage. He desires righteousness and justice in every aspect of our lives and is grieved greatly when we transgress His ways. Bless Him by the way you live your life today. Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself (Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31).

Verse to Memorize: Amos 5:24

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Amos Bible Study Notes Chapter 4


Amos 4 

-The “cows of Bashan” refer to luxurious-wealthy women in Samaria who were pampered, sleek, and well-feed to the detriment of the poor and needy (Psalm 22:12). God’s judgment was pronounced on them for their misconduct and exorbitant living. *Application* God says true and undefiled religion is to visit and care for the orphans, the widows, the poor, and stay unstained from the world (Leviticus 19:10, Deuteronomy 15:4, 7, Proverbs 14:21 James 1:27). Remember the less fortunate around you. God cares for them as much as He does you. When you have opportunity, do not neglect to give out of your abundance.

-Amos uses sarcasm in verses four and five as he invites them to enter Bethel (the place God had renewed His covenant with Abraham to Jacob, Genesis 28:10-22) and Gilgal (Israel’s first camp ground in the Promised Land under Joshua where he had renewed to covenant and the rite of circumcision, they celebrated Passover once again and the manna ceased here at this place, Joshua 4:19-5:12) to transgress and multiply transgression. Amos mockingly taunts them to bring in righteous acts to these places knowing that in reality they were worshipping idols instead of the One-True Living God in these sacred places. Jeroboam had placed an idol in Bethel to discourage the people from traveling to Jerusalem in the southern kingdom to worship (1 Kings 12:26-29). He is angry because of their unfaithfulness in going astray from keeping covenant (Amos 3:3). *Application* the LORD sees and knows all of our mischief and eventually calls us into account. Remain true, loyal, and steadfast to His promise by faith.

-There are five things the LORD sent in an effort to have His people return to Him in verses six through eleven, yet they were hard hearted and would not do it. He sent famine, lack of rain, scorching wind and mildew, plagues, and overthrew them, but they remained stubborn and did not repent before the LORD. *Application* Again we see the warning and disciplining nature of God in these passages for the purpose of correction and Godly living. He had no pleasure in this, but it was futile in bringing back His people into right relationship with Him (Ezekiel 33:11). *Application* I see America in very much the same ordeal as Israel during this time. We have been warned and disciplined over and over, yet we do not get it. We are going headlong against the ways of the Almighty God with our laws and personal practices. We are luxuriant and care only for ourselves more and more. I fear for our future if we don’t turn back to God as a nation. His patience is limited, and He cannot bless sin forever.

-God’s proclamation in verse twelve is powerful, “Prepare to meet your God, O Israel.” This should be awe inspiring and draw them back to Him. However, they will reject the opportunity and sink further into depravity.

-God’s creative abilities and power are on display in the final verse of the chapter; again to impress the people as to whom they are dealing with in regards to the LORD. He can read man’s thoughts and is sovereign over the entire earth. He knows the heart and will not be overtaken by anyone or anything. *Application* Meditate on the qualities of God given in this verse. Take some time today to reflect on His power and worship His majesty. Observe creation and give Him glory. Watch the sunset and know that the LORD Himself has done it. He is in control and He has revealed Himself to us knowing our every thought and plea. Worship Him alone!

Verse to Memorize: Amos 4:13

Friday, July 20, 2012

Amos Bible Study Notes Chapter 3


Amos 3

-A serious warning to take heed is given to the entire clan of the sons of Israel as chapter 3 begins. “Hear” (Shema in the Hebrew) is certainly an attention getter for the prophet as he speaks the LORD’s word to the people (Amos 3:1). God is telling them that they are special, His only chosen ones among all the families of the earth for His salvation plan and purpose. Therefore, He will not tolerate any iniquity and will punish it severely in order to straighten them out for the glory of His Holy Name (Amos 3:2). *Application* This warning has extreme significance for us as well who are called by the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ most Holy. God disciplines those whom He loves (Hebrews 12:6), so we had better pay attention when He speaks and obey. Here the call is to repentance and cleansing. Are we in the place in our lives where God is warning about impure living and trying to straighten us out before things get really worse and worse? Take heed and turn!

-The prophet Amos list several rhetorical questions from the LORD designed to make the people of Israel think. First, He wants them to realize that they have made a covenant agreement with Him who chose them in the first place (Exodus 24:7). An appointment had been made and they were expected to hold up their end of the bargain walking together in obedience to God’s plans and purposes (Amos 3:3). Second, the lion roaring refers back to Amos 1:2 and denotes the LORD’s fierce anger for a good and just reason (Amos 3:4, 8). Thirdly, the bird represents the children of Israel who have fallen for the lure of the enemy (the bait) and fallen headlong into sinful debauchery (Amos 3:5). Fourthly, the trap is God’s wrath poured out on them because of their sin (Amos 3:5). God will not miss His opportunity to teach and to train His people in the ways of the LORD. He will “capture” their attention through His discipline. Fifthly, the trumpet is a warning tool in Scripture. It is a wakeup call to those who are negligent and aloof of the pressing danger that is about to pounce on them (Amos 3:6). Lastly, there is no doubt from which calamity comes (Amos 3:6). *Application* This may give you some consternation as you meditate on the actions of our Almighty Sovereign in His vengeance and wrath and the allowance of calamity coming from Him ultimately. In this lies the theology of theodicy. Definition please? Theodicy is the defense of God’s goodness despite the existence of evil. Alvin Plantinga, an analytic philosopher from Notre Dame, has given what I believe to be the best argument for God’s goodness despite the evil we see in the world (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvin_Plantinga's_free_will_defense for a start on this study if interested). The issue lies with freedom to choose, and when we as human beings choose evil, as every single one of us have, God must bring in corrective measures in His benevolence to straighten out the situation. He knows of the calamity, but gives every warning and way to avoid through His mercy and grace.

-Therefore, we have a great verse of Scripture in Amos 3:7, “Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets.” (Revelation 10:7) God makes known His plans so that the human adjustment to His will can be made and without excuse. He gave Pharaoh (Exodus 3:19; 4:21) and Saul (1 Samuel 15:26; 16:14) the same opportunities to turn to Him as anyone else. He does know the end from the beginning and can make exact prophecy from that, but the LORD is not deterministic in His nature (John 3:16, 1 Timothy 2:4, James 1:13-15, 2 Peter 3:9). His actions are always corrective and for the greater-ultimate good.

-God is calling the surrounding nations to the Samarian hills to observe the oppression and tumult within the Promised Land to His people (Amos 3:9). Again, we see that it is because they have rejected their LORD and “do not know how to do what is right (Amos 3:10).” They had stored up violence and devastation in their strong towers rather than doing the things God had required; therefore, the enemy had full authority and strength pillage and destroy (Amos 3:11). Their greatness would be cut down and even their homes were in deep and desperate trouble (Amos 3:15). *Application* Disobedience will eventually bring some very undesirable results in our lives. God will not be dishonored among His people and is jealous for us (Exodus 20:5-6).

Verses to Memorize: Amos 3:3, 7

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Amos Bible Study Notes Chapter 2


Amos 2

-The final judgment on a surrounding nation is pronounced on Moab, which was the nation just east of the Dead Sea. Moab were also descendents from the incestuous relationship between Lot and his older daughter (Genesis 18:30-37). Moab is where Ruth, the ancestor of King David and eventually Jesus (on Mary’s side), was from (Ruth 1:4). Disrespect was the primary reason listed as they burned the bones of the king of Edom to lime (Amos 2:1).

-Then the LORD turns to His own people and pronounces the same type of judgments, both on Judah and Israel (the divided kingdom). Judah had rejected the law of the LORD, not kept His statues, and lied continually (Amos 2:4). Israel was accused justly of selling the righteous and needy for money and trivial things, turning aside the way of the humble, and profaning God’s Holy Name (Amos 2:6,7). They did not remember their LORD who destroyed their enemies before them and cared for them in the wilderness. They neglected His prophets that He gave them and made the Nazirites (holy men of vows and consecration) break their oath of abstaining from wine. Therefore, their strength will leave them and they will flee before their enemies. *Application* God’s warnings should always be taken seriously. The complacent-apathetic attitude of the children of Israel ignited the LORD’s judgment on them. The same can be said of us when we turn away from what we know is the right, good, and proper way to conduct our lives. There are always consequences for living improperly before the LORD. He has been so good to us. We need to recognize that and stay close to Him and all of His good graces. We should desire His blessings, not His judgment, but it is always going to be up to our free will choices. Choose the LORD!

Verse to Memorize: Amos 2:4

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Amos Bible Study Notes Chapter 1


Amos 1

-Amos, the sheepherder from Tekoa (10 miles south of Jerusalem in the hill country), relates his visions given to him during the reign of Judah’s King Uzziah and Israel’s King Jeroboam II two years before the earthquake (Zechariah 14:5). *Application* Amos was not what most would consider to be a holy man of God. He is what we would refer to today as being a layperson, or one who is not in vocational ministry. He was simply a man doing his work and going about his business of life, no pedigree, and no family history of being a prophet. He was just available and God spoke through him to His people and the surrounding nations for judgment. How available are you today? Would you be willing to be used in a mighty way as the LORD directs, guides, and speaks? Surrender to His will and plan knowing anything is possible as we see here in an unconventional servant of the Master.

-The prophesy starts out with God’s announcement of judgment on the surrounding areas near Israel and Judah. God is pictured as a roaring lion from His dwelling in Zion with power and authority much the same as in Hosea 11:10. The phrase “for three transgressions….and for four I will not revoke its punishment” is repeated often. What this indicates is that these nations had sinned again and again, over and over repeatedly. God is evaluating their refusal to follow His commands. They were persistently ignoring that they were doing anything wrong even though they had been warned. *Application* A pattern of sin is very difficult to break. In fact it is impossible without the cleansing work of Christ Jesus in one’s life. Confession is the road to repentance and forgiveness when God convicts you of an imperfection in your life. Turn away from the things that keep you from God, and by faith trust in Him to cleanse you and give you the power to never go back to those transgressions that will easily beset you and take you off track.

-The areas that judgment was pronounced against begin with Aram and its capital of Damascus. This is the area northeast of the Sea of Galilee. Gaza is next, which is to the southwest of Judah along the coastline of the Mediterranean. This is the area where the Philistines came from (remember Goliath and many other altercations with Israel from this group?). Tyre is north and west of the Promised Land and was one of the two major cities of Phoenicia. Edom was south and east of the Dead Sea area, the descendents of Esau (Genesis 25:19-28; 27). They had a long history of fighting with Israel in brotherly conflict. Ammon was to the west past Moab and Gilead. Ammon were descendents from the incestuous relationship between Lot and his younger daughter post Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:30-38). They were idol worshippers who influenced Israel and had many conflicts with them. Saul’s first victory as the new king of Israel was over the Ammonites (1 Samuel 11). Rabbah was its capital city. Ammon’s destruction was realized and fulfilled through the Assyrian invasion that would eventually disperse the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

Verse to Memorize: Amos 1:2

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Joel Bible Study Notes Chapter 3


Joel 3

-A future event is prophesied with these time phrases, “in those days” and “at that time (Joel 3:1).” The future event is the restoration of the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem specifically. God will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat (area is unknown from this text, Jehoshaphat means judgment, this is the important concept the prophet is conveying). This is where God’s final judgment will come down in support of His people and His inheritance Israel. This refers not only to physical Israel, but also the spiritual Israel, which are all people from all nations who call on the Name of the LORD (Joel 2:32, Acts 10:34-35, 1 Peter 2:9). God will now bring into account those who scattered His people among the nations and divided up His promised land (Joel 3:2b). *Application* I believe this judgment parallels the third woe when the seventh trumpet is sounded in Revelation 11:15-19. God’s people will be saved, but the enemies of the LORD will perish in this great and awesome day of the LORD. It is described in Joel 3:14 as the valley of decision. We all have our choices to make. Whose side are we really on? “The LORD roars from Zion and utters His voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth tremble. But the LORD is a refuge for His people and a stronghold to the sons of Israel (Joel 3:16).” The earth will know that He is the LORD God Almighty. Nothing will stand in His way. Blessings are for His people, but destruction for those who turn away from Him and refuse His grace and mercy. Our God dwells in Zion and His children will inhabit it with Him forever (Joel 3:20, Revelation 3:12; 21:1-8).

-Joel began with a prophecy about the destruction of the land and ended with a prophecy about its restoration. He stressed the need for repentance in the beginning and ended with the promise that those in Him would receive the forgiveness and protection that repentance brings. Joel was trying to convince the people to wake up, the sweet wine of His goodness was about to be cut off (Joel 1:5). In the end, the sweet wine drips off of the mountains again with His blessings (Joel 3:18). *Application* God wants us to get rid of our complacency and realize the danger of living apart from Him. While there is still time and a chance, call on His Name and be saved (Acts 2:21). This morning I forgot to put out the trash for the trash truck that comes by to pick up the garbage. If I had been watchful, alert, and prepared the filth of our waste would be gone. As it is the time came for the truck to come and go and our trash was not in its proper pick up spot. I missed the opportunity because of my negligence and forgetfulness. This is a minor thing as we will have extra trash pile up this week and get it picked up at this time next week. But its analogy is worth considering. Our souls are a far more important matter. God’s desire is for us to turn back to Him while there is time and opportunity. Don’t delay in receiving Him and His goodness and blessings. Time will eventually run out for us all and we will be held accountable for every sin we’ve committed if Christ does not cover them by His blood (1 Peter 4:5, Revelation 1:5-6).

Verse to Memorize: Joel 3:2, 16

Monday, July 16, 2012

Joel Bible Study Notes Chapter 2


Joel 2

-The alarms are sounded for the day of the LORD is coming upon Zion and its inhabitants. It is a day of darkness and doom, a day of clouds and thick darkness as a mighty army comes like nothing ever seen before, nor will there be after it (Joel 2:2). This army is programmed with incredible discipline and fierce force with destruction and desolation left behind them. They carry out the word of the LORD in vengeance (Joel 2:11). *Application* When the LORD gives a prophecy it will be carried out. His word never fails. “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31).” O the devastating effects of turning away from the LORD in our lives.

-Yet He always gives us a chance to return to Him and bless us. The ray of hope is given beginning in verse 12 as we see God pleading for a return back to Him with fasting, weeping, and mourning. The LORD wants the heart rent in two rather than the traditional outward sign of rending clothes apart in anguish. He wants to show His grace and compassion. He is slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness and relents of evil (Joel 2:13). There is a sliver of a chance that He could take pity and relent of the coming doom leaving a blessing behind Him (Joel 2:14). A gathering is prescribed with fasting and a solemn assembly to sanctify the congregation and a crying out for sparing them (Joel 2:15-17). *Application* God always leaves a way out of trouble and doom. The Word says He will never put on us more than we can handle. There will be a way out if we care to take it (1 Corinthians 10:13). God always has a way of escape for our endurance and well being. Take His way today and be satisfied eternally with His presence.

-A change in fortune occurs in the prophecy beginning in verse 18. The LORD will be zealous for His land and will have pity on His people. He will bless again after the destruction and malaise that has occurred. He will never again make them a reproach among the nations in this season and He will remove the northern army far from them (Joel 2:19-20). The pastures will turn green again and the land will yield its produce (Joel 2:22). The rains will be plentiful in their season and the LORD will make up for the years the swarming locust has eaten (Joel 2:23-25). They will have plenty to eat and be satisfied praising the LORD their God and knowing that He is in their midst as no other (Joel 2:26-27). *Application* God is true to His promises and will come through even after He allows for misfortune. Stay reliant upon Him in the tests and trials of life and count on His provision through it all. It is His way of drawing us close to Him and letting us know our power is limited, but His is all sufficient. Trust in Him alone!

-This next section is quoted by Peter at the time of the Holy Spirit’s coming in Acts 2. I believe this to be a prophecy that has multiple applications in its fulfillment. God’s Spirit is no doubt poured out at Pentecost on the disciples. We are now experiencing the church age where the Gentiles are being gathered into the Kingdom of God as all the nations (Matthew 24:14, Luke 21:24-25, Romans 15:10-16). There is coming a time again when the Spirit will be poured out like never before as the day of the LORD approaches. Prophecy, signs and wonders, dreams, and visions will intensify and wonders in nature will be displayed preceding the LORD’s return (Joel 2:30-31). *Application* It is important for us to remember Joel 2:32 in summation. Whoever calls upon the Name of the LORD will be delivered from the day of the LORD. There will be those who escape and there will be survivors whom the LORD calls. God’s way out should be taken while there is a chance and a hope. Otherwise, His wrath will be on you. Don’t delay, His return is sudden and will not be known (1 Thessalonians 5:2-4, Revelation 3:3; 16:15).

Verses to Memorize: Joel 2:12-13

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Joel Bible Study Notes Chapter 1


Joel 1

-Joel, the son of Pethuel, records the word of the LORD in this short book primarily warning Judah of God’s impending judgment in the day of the LORD because of their sins and urging them to turn back to God before it is too late. Joel’s ministry goes from approximately 835 BC to 796 BC and little is known of this prophet other than what is given in the Scriptures. He probably lived in or near Jerusalem. Judah had been become prosperous and complacent, taking God for granted and becoming self-centered with idolatry and sin. This kind of activity inevitably will eventually bring the judgment of the LORD. This will have an impact on the short term as well as the great and awesome time in the last days when God consummates all things.

-This message that Joel is giving from the LORD is to be told to sons, sons’ sons, and future generations (Joel 1:3). There is the imagery of the locusts devouring the rich and luxuriant fields leaving desolation and wailing. This represents, as we see in verse 6, an invading army who is mighty and without number with strong bite and force. It makes the land a waste and consumes everything in it (Joel 1:7). *Application* Sudden destruction is a fearful and devastating concept for us as humans to fathom. We see it in nature (i.e. tornados, fires, hurricanes, floods, etc.) and sometimes through human means (i.e. atomic or nuclear weaponry). Joel is preparing his people and us of the coming judgment of the LORD upon this world by using foreshadowing. It will be a time of mourning and woe, which the world has yet to experience. Joel was calling the people to awake out of their stupor and repent (Joel 1:5). It would behoove us as well to open sensible eyes and hears to the reality of a world gone far from the LORD. Return to Him before it is too late. Accept His grace and mercy in times of distress and judgment. He is calling you. He is our only hope.

-The grain and drink offering is cut off from the house of the LORD (Joel 1:9, 13b). This has happened and will happen again in the great tribulation. There is great mourning and wailing as the Temple and land lay in ruins. Nature itself is reeling from the effects of this judgment. Shame and agony grip the inhabitants and rejoicing dries up in these days.

-The call goes out to put on sackcloth and consecrate a fast proclaiming a solemn assembly gathering all the elders and inhabitants of the land to the House of the LORD. “Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is near, and it will come as destruction from the Almighty (Joel 1:15).” Even the beasts are groaning in the conditions they are under where finding food is futile. There is no pasture for them and the cattle wonder aimlessly; even the sheep suffer (Joel 1:18). The call for the people is to cry out to God (Joel 1:14b, 19) in their misery. *Application* There come times in our lives that all we can do is cry out to the LORD in our hurt and suffering. The New Testament speaks often about encountering these trials of life as a means of spiritual growth and proven character (Romans 5:3-5, 2 Corinthians 7:10, 2 Thessalonians 1:4, James 1:2-3). Allow the LORD to show you “what” He wants to teach you when trials and suffering come. The “what” is a better question to Him than “why?”

Verse to Memorize: Joel 1:15

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Hosea Bible Study Notes Chapter 14


Hosea 14

-God pleads one last time in the book for Israel’s return to Him. He desires to heal their apostasy (falling away) and iniquity if they would just come back and repent of their wrong doing. Assyria will not save them. In fact they will be their destroyer, and God tries one last time through Hosea to warn them of the impending doom. Their idols cannot save them. The works of their hands give no deliverance when calamity strikes. Only in the LORD can the orphan find mercy (Hosea 14:3). God offers free love and a turning of His anger (Hosea 14:4). He desires to bless and bring back like He had illustrated through the actions of Hosea taking back Gomer earlier in the book (Hosea 3:1-5). “Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them. For the ways of the LORD are right, and the righteous will walk in them, but transgressors will stumble in them (Hosea 14:9).” *Application* There is a way that seems right unto man, but in the end it leads to death (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25). The wise man will listen to what the LORD requires and do it. This is the faith walk with Him by receiving His Son Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and receiving His Holy Spirit who will never leave you or forsake you. The Spirit is the One who gives you the power to stay steadfast and true to your Deliverer and remain in Him because He remains in you (John 15:4). The Spirit is the One who walks beside us and convicts us of sin. He leads us away from temptation and delivers us from evil (Matthew 6:13). He gives us gifts and works in us to bear good fruit fulfilling God’s good pleasure and work (John 15:5, Philippians 2:13).

Verse to Memorize: Hosea 14:9

Hosea Bible Study Notes Chapter 13


Hosea 13

-Ephraim for the last time in the book is denounced for all its pride in forgetting and turning away from their living God. They exalted themselves and followed after false gods sinning more and more (Hosea 13:1-2). What they became were clouds without rain, dew in the morning that evaporated, chaff blown away by the wind being of no use, and smoke from a chimney that was there but then gone (Hosea 13:3). In other words, their usefulness for the Kingdom was temporary and fleeting because of their unfaithfulness to the LORD. His patience with them was nearly over. He had cared for them in the most desperate times in the wilderness and had expectations clearly laid out for their conduct, but when they found their pasture, they became satisfied and proud (Hosea 13:4-6). Therefore, they forgot their God and went their own way (Hosea 13:6b). It is to their destruction that they go against God and His help (Hosea 13:9). Whereas He wanted to be their Savior, they turned to other gods and kings for protection and safety and would find that there is no salvation apart from the living LORD. His compassion will be hidden from them (Hosea 13:14). Though it will seem for a short while Ephraim is prospering, his fountain and spring will dry up and his treasury of every precious article will be plundered (Hosea 13:15). They along with Samaria will fall by the sword with their little ones dashed to pieces and the pregnant women ripped open (Hosea 13:16). *Application* Rebellion against God brings disaster in the long run. It may seem for a while that you are getting away with sin and forgetting about the LORD, but this is simply His patience with you. God gives us every opportunity to turn back to Him and receive His grace, but there will come a time when He has had enough and will bring upon you what you deserve for neglecting His mercy and kindness. None other has the power to save and God reaches out to us even in our times of prosperity to let us know that our possessions and false hopes will not deliver eternal security. Don’t let yourself trust in temporary solutions. Don’t be satisfied and proud forgetting your Maker. In the end you will definitely need Him. Call upon Jesus!

Verse to Memorize: Hosea 13:6

Hosea Bible Study Notes Chapter 12


Hosea 12

-God’s anger is reported to the ones that are in rebellion against Him and His ways. Ephraim feeds on the wind (emptiness). The empty things they pursue are lies (deceptions) and violence, covenants with Assyria, and trade with Egypt (Hosea 12:1). These are worldly nations who do not worship the One-True Living God. They are wind and will provide no eternal hope for the stability of God’s people. Therefore, the LORD is angry at their unfaithfulness and wandering off from the straight course their forefathers set for them. Even Judah has brought on the LORD’s disfavor and will be punished as Jacob was. The prophet Hosea through the LORD’s Word offers from history the antidote for recovering the LORD’s favor. Weep, seek His favor to the point of wrestling with Him, hear from Him at all costs (Hosea 12:4), and return to Him observing kindness and justice and waiting for Him continually (Hosea 12:6). *Application* God always provides a way out and instructions for us to come back to Him even when we’ve failed miserably. If you are in the spot where you have chased after emptiness and deception, hear the Word of the LORD and return to Him today seeking with all your heart His favor and kindness. He will in no way cast you out and away (John 6:37).

-Ephraim’s attitude is that they are rich and in no need of the LORD. They have found wealth for themselves by themselves (Hosea 12:8). God lets them know He is still in control and can bless or take away that blessing as He wills and desires. He speaks through His prophets through visions and parables and will make Ephraim revert back to where they live in tents as in the days of their desert wanderings if their bloodguiltiness and reproach remain on them, which will happen because of their insolent pride (Hosea 12:14). *Application* Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit goes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18). Make sure you stay humble before the LORD and realize all His blessings are from Him who deserves all the glory. He will share His majesty with no one else including you. In other words, if you want His eternal favor you must play by His rules. But, O what rewards we receive when we come into conformity with His design and plan for our lives. He indwells us when we die to ourselves and make Him actual LORD of our lives through Jesus Christ. It is not our natural pull, but in the end it yields, by far, the best results. Trust in Him!

Verse to Memorize: Hosea 12:6

Hosea Bible Study Notes Chapter 11


Hosea 11 

-God’s love for His children is demonstrated beautifully in this chapter. As the chapter begins His kind acts are portrayed. He nurtured and cared for them when they were young and in slavery. He rescued them out of danger and annihilation (Hosea 11:1). He taught them, led them, and took them into His arms (Hosea 11:3,4). But the more He bent down to heal and fed them, the more they rebelled and refused His graces (Hosea 11:4). They followed after the false gods of the Baals and burned incense to idols. *Application* The children of Israel needed a more grateful heart. Instead of thanksgiving in the realization that their LORD was their healer, they abandoned the God of the universe and went their own way. We do this as well when we forget God’s abundant blessings and teachings in our lives. He is the giver of all good and perfect gifts (James 1:16-17). Let us remember to be a grateful and humble people in the sight of our God at all times.

-Because of their refusal to return to God they will be carried off to Assyria (Hosea 11:5). *Application* Lean times will come into any believers’ lives when they stray from the path and continue in rebellion and unfaithfulness. This is for our benefit and an act of love on the part of our Sovereign. It is His correction for our disobedience and we should straighten up and repent when we realize what we’ve done wrong.

-Because of their bad counsel they will be consumed (Hosea 11:6). *Application* Listening to the wrong advice can get us into all kinds of trouble. Be careful who you let influence you. You can easily be consumed by the wrong counsel and end up worse off than you started. We all need answers to problems and situations we face in life. God’s counsel from His Word is the perfect place to inquire when we have questions (Psalm 119:105). With His Holy Spirit’s illumination, we can find the right kind of help in our time of need (James 1:5-6). Study the Scriptures and receive the wisdom of the LORD. Neglect it and you will perish with your lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6).

-They worship God with their mouth only (Hosea 11:7). He is not exalted; they are bent on turning from Him. *Application* God is well informed as to who is the real deal and who is the hypocrite. He doesn’t want our lip service, but action (James 1:23-25). Be a doer. Our actions reflect what we truly believe in our heart. Check your motives and be sincere. You cannot fool the LORD. He knows all things.

-God’s heart is turned over within Him and His compassions are kindled (Hosea 11:8) as He remembers His great love for them once more. His mercy is unfailing despite the lies and deceit of Ephraim and Israel (Hosea 11:12). He will not utterly destroy again because He is God and far above man’s ways (Hosea 11:9). He is faithful even when treated wrongly by His people (Hosea 11:12). He is holy in their midst (Hosea 11:9). *Application* Through it all God maintains His presence with His people and is patient beyond all comprehension. We must recognize what kind of LORD we have. He overlooks our sin through the blood of Jesus Christ and forgives our iniquity even when we don’t deserve it. This kindness must never be taken for granted. Live your life with complete gratitude in love because of our great and awesome Savior. He is the One who heals!

-*Interpretative Issue* Some translations pair Judah with Ephraim and Israel in the unfaithful and sinful acts against God (NASB, NIV). Other translations conclude that Judah is on God’s side in a complete antithesis of the rebellious northern kingdom (KJV, NKJ, ESV, CSB). From my study I concur with the later view that God is preserving Judah as a faithful ally who still walks (literally in the Hebrew “roams”) with God. The key for me was the preposition “with” here.

Verse to Memorize: Hosea 11:9

Hosea Bible Study Notes Chapter 10


Hosea 10

-Verse one describes Israel as a luxuriant vine producing fruit for himself. The more he prospered, the more alters and pillars were made to false gods. Picking up in verse two, the heart of them becomes faithless and God’s retribution is on them to break down. *Application* Think about what prosperity does to people. It distracts them so easily from their Creator and His plan for their lives. They turn to the gods of this world serving them by fine and decadent living, which is self-indulging and corrupt by nature. Paul talks often about true contentment in many places, but he is very pointed in 1 Timothy 6. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit he tells us that “the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang (1 Timothy 6:10).” He then gives the prescription for this when he states, “But flee from these things, you man of God; and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness (1 Timothy 6:11).” Instead of being self-absorbed, be generous with what the LORD blesses you with.

-Verse four speaks of the idolatrous nation’s worthless oaths in their covenant making. They cannot be counted on for faithfulness and their judgments (lawsuits) are sprouting poisonous weeds. *Application* The end result of luxuriant living leads to empty words with no commitment or fortitude. Back biting and hatred occur as people want more and more and more for themselves and their own causes.

-God’s vindication will come to the unrepentant as we see in the following verses. The false gods will not save and prosper them in the end. They will be seized with shame (Hosea 10:6). There will be destruction and dispersion as God chastises them according to His desire (Hosea 10:10).

-God does make an important statement for what should happen in verse twelve. “Sow with a view to righteousness, reap in accordance with kindness; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the LORD until He comes to rain righteousness on you.” *Application* O that we would apply this precious prescription for all that ails us in our personal lives and in our wayward nation (2 Chronicles 7:14).

-Israel had done just the opposite. They had plowed wickedness, reaped injustice, and eaten the fruit of lies (Hosea 10:13a). This was all because they trusted in their own way rather than in their LORD and because they counted on their numerous warriors (Hosea 10:13b). This turned God against them and every one of their plans would fail in the end. *Application* This speaks very much to the American condition in present times. We believe we can solve all of our problems through our own intellect and wisdom. We believe we can find an answer and make everything right in our own strength. We trust in our own mechanisms and military rather than the God who created and established this nation. “In God we trust” are mere words on our currency, not the desire of our heart. God has been patient waiting for us to turn back to Him, but He will not tarry forever. Let us learn the lesson from Hosea 10 before it is too late.

Verse to Memorize: Hosea 10:12

Friday, July 6, 2012

Hosea Bible Study Notes Chapter 9

Hosea 9

-The crux of this chapter, and the entire book in many respects, depicting God’s retribution and wrath is summed up in the last verse. Hosea says, “My God will cast them away because they have not listened to Him; and they will be wanderers among the nations (Hosea 9:17).” Their harlotry has left the LORD no choice but to abandon them to destruction and desolation. The day of punishment has come because of their iniquity and refusal to acknowledge the LORD. Instead they sought after false gods and temporary prosperity on their own. Israel and Ephraim in particular will have their glory fly away like a bird. It will be gone forever. *Application* What a tragedy to throw away a great and magnificent gift. The LORD has offered us all a chance to come to Him and receive His forgiveness. To be an apostate (one who falls away) is the greatest tragedy because of the fact that you tasted the truth of God’s grace, but turned away from it to follow a false way (Hebrews 6:1-9).This is where the steadfastness of God and the human will is paramount to our salvation and blessing. The perseverance of the believer is the security of the believer. Endure as a good soldier to the end and overcome (2 Timothy 2:3-4, 12, Revelation 2:26)! Don’t be like faithless Ephraim. Where is your heart? Don’t build the house of your soul on shifting sand, but on the Rock of Christ, which is a sure foundation and the truth (Luke 6:45-49, Matthew 7:21-26).

Verse to Memorize: Hosea 9:17

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hosea Bible Study Notes Chapter 8

Hosea 8

-The transgression of the covenant and the disregard for God’s laws will bring the enemy’s wrath, which is prophesied here in chapter 8. The eagle represents Assyria, who would take them away into captivity and disperse the Northern Kingdom among the nations, never to be heard from again in the economy of God’s salvific plan.

-Israel cried out to God as if they knew Him, yet they were unwilling to change any of their demonic ways pertaining to idolatry. *Application* When you sow the wind (emptiness, false gods), you eventually will reap the whirlwind (the wrath of God Almighty). God is not mocked; whatever a man sows he will also reap (Galatians 6:7).

-The LORD had given Moses ten thousand precepts of His law, but Israel regarded them as a strange thing (Hosea 8:12). They forgot about their Maker building their own palaces, and in Judah, fortified cities. God would take His retribution with fire on their cities and consume their extravagant dwellings (Hosea 8:14). Because of their stubbornness and lack of repentance, the LORD promises to remember their iniquity (Hosea 8:13). *Application* This is a stark contrast to the mercy of God that we want to think of more often. Psalm 103:12-13 states, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.” We tend to focus so much on the grace of God that we neglect that last little prepositional phrase there at the end. Fear of God is required. This will lead us to repentance and ultimately God’s forgiveness. God’s compassion only rests on the repentant. As we see in this Scripture, His wrath abides until we actually know Him by humbling ourselves to His purpose and plan. Jeremiah 31:34 goes on further,  "And they shall not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." This is the beautiful result that the LORD wants and can give when we believe in what He accomplished for our sake through Jesus Christ His Son! But until we come to Him on His terms we are left in our sins with no hope for deliverance.

Verse to Memorize: Hosea 8:12

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hosea Bible Study Notes Chapter 7

Hosea 7

-God reveals the heart of the matters in regards to Israel’s unfaithfulness in this section of the book. He desires and would heal them, but in their pride they resist His correction refusing to acknowledge that the LORD sees and remembers all their iniquity and wickedness. They are before His face (Hosea 7:2). *Application* How many times do we, or have we, excused sin in our own lives with the thought that we are getting away with it, or God doesn’t really see or care about our misconduct. This is a dangerous alibi as we see here in Scripture. The LORD is absolutely aware of every single thought in our minds proceeding from our heart and will hold us accountable for everything (Matthew 12:34-36).

-The text makes much of the analogy of being “hot like an oven (Hosea 7:4-7).” This refers to a lust for power and intrigue that had consumed the hearts of these Jewish leaders. They were ignoring the LORD’s commands and doing things just as they pleased following after the worldly nations around them (Hosea 7:8-9). It ultimately is their pride that the LORD detests as we see here (Hosea 7:10). His plea is for them to return to Him and His covenant forsaking their dependence on Egypt and Assyria (Hosea 7:11). *Application* God says it is senseless to go to anyone other than Him for ultimate help and restoration. In our stubborn pride we can try to figure out ways to correct our issues and problems. We can even go to others for help apart from the Sovereign King, but it will avail us only misery and woe when His Spirit is not in it. This is a rebellious spirit, the LORD says, and will lead to destruction (Hosea 7:13). We miss the redemption of the LORD when we seek deliverance from a source other than Him (Hosea 7:13b). His chastisement is on us when we neglect His Word for our lives (Hosea 7:12). God had proclaimed His blessings and curses upon His people based on obedience to Him (Deuteronomy 28). They had agreed to do all God had commanded in His covenant (Exodus 24:3). They we were willing participants in the promises and retribution of their Sovereign just as we are. Christ Jesus has bought us with a price; therefore, we are to glory Him with our bodies and conform to His image (1 Corinthians 6:20, Colossians 3:10). This was and is a serious matter before God who is omniscient. In other words, don’t think you are getting away with anything because you are not.

-Verse 14 gives an interesting insight into the motives of the Israelites’ hearts. They are justly accused of crying out for the wrong reasons. They are insincere. They only wanted material blessing for themselves (grain and new wine). This is a turning away from the LORD He declares. It is devising evil against Him even though He has been good to them in provision and strength (Hosea 7:15). *Application* What is your motivation for crying out to the LORD? Do you sincerely want His will or do you simply want personal gain for yourself and your family? God knows the intentions of our heart and He wants us to be completely surrendered to His will. He is against selfish motives and intentions every time. It is His Kingdom we promote, not our own (Matthew 6:10).

-God ends the chapter with the fact that His people turn, but not toward Him (Hosea 7:16). This, the LORD says, is “a deceitful bow.” Think about that for a moment. This was their primary weaponry. “Deceitful” here has the connotation of misleading or fraudulent. In other words, it will not work properly. *Application* The only salvation we have is dependence on Jesus Christ and His work for our salvation. Apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).

Verse to Memorize: Hosea 7:14

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hosea Bible Study Notes Chapter 6


Hosea 6 

-“Come let us return to the LORD. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us (Hosea 6:1).” *Application* This returning is a constant theme in Scripture and is required for a relationship with the One and Only God of the Universe. It is His desire to raise us up, to make us live before Him, and for us to press on to know Him (Hosea 6:2-3). He wants to come to us as spring rain and revive what was dead and dying. This is His plan. This is why He created us. He has no pleasure in our destruction (Psalm 5:4, Ezekiel 33:11).

-His question for the wayward and disloyal Ephraim and Judah is relevant and systematic. They have turned away from their Husband and been warned by His prophets with His words to no avail. Therefore, His judgments are on them as light that goes forth (Hosea 6:5). *Application* Light has that cleansing quality of purging the darkness. It illuminates what was unknown. One of Hosea’s themes is the lack of knowledge of the Most Holy. God’s punishment brings back His light on us, so welcome His correction when it comes. It is really for our benefit and instruction.

-The LORD’s point is this…He delights in loyalty rather than sacrifice and knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings (Hosea 6:6). *Application* You’ve probably heard it said, “Love is never having to say I’m sorry.” This kind of relationship is what our God wants from us. He wants us to know Him and be steadfast in our devotion for Him without wavering. He wants all of us, not just a part (1 Kings 8:61). This begins in the heart and will disperse throughout everything you do beautifully as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2).

-God reveals a prophecy at the end of this chapter concerning Judah almost out of the blue and out of place. He speaks of “harvest” and “fortunes” for His people in a positive light after pronouncing so much judgment on both Israel and Judah in the previous verses. *Application* This may seem confusing, but we must remember God’s promises and realize that not one of His good words will fall to the ground. He predestines and carries out His plan of salvation through Jesus Christ through the tribe of Judah, and His redemption is brought forth in the city of Jerusalem as the Christ dies and rises again for the sins of mankind. This remnant of hope is always evident, although it at times is scant, in the prophecies of the Old Testament. Through it all, God is at work to restore and bring a harvest and fortune to those who will believe in Him and His goodness (Hosea 6:11).

Verse to Memorize: Hosea 6:1

Monday, July 2, 2012

Hosea Bible Study Notes Chapter 5

Hosea 5

-The stumbling and depravity of the priests, the house of Israel, and the house of the king because of their iniquity is dealt with by the LORD in this chapter. In God’s words, “the judgment applies” to them (Hosea 5:1). *Application* We cannot pull one over on the LORD. He sees and knows everything and is just in His decisions. We are without excuse. He has revealed His requirements to us and will withdraw (Hosea 5:6) from those who are disobedient even though He is patient for a time (2 Peter 3:9). He is slow to anger (Numbers 14:18), but when His wrath comes, it is distinct and exacting. It also has a purpose as we see here. God’s punishment is levied so that we will acknowledge guilt and seek His face. In affliction, God’s desire is for us to seek Him (Hosea 5:15). Do not deal treacherously against the LORD. Do not be unfaithful in pride (Hosea 5:3,5,7). These fruits will eventually bring God’s wrath upon you. His authority will not be usurped in the end. It is better for us to know our rightful place and enjoy the peace He gives in that security of submission.

Verse to Memorize: Hosea 5:15

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Hosea Bible Study Notes Chapter 4


Hosea 4

-The LORD begins to build His case against Israel primarily for their unfaithfulness, their unkindness, and their lack of knowledge of their God. He also lists swearing, deception, murder, stealing, adultery, and violence. The land is languishing because of their disobedience.

-The primary focus of this chapter is on Israel’s lack of knowledge, which is destroying them because of their rejection of it. They consulted the wrong deities and the spirit of harlotry has carried them away from the Truth. They are stubborn and go their own way, which is their great deception. They have no understanding in their waywardness. *Application* God asks us too to not depart from the righteous path that leads to peace, knowledge, understanding, and life among many other benefits. Stay in His Truth, which is exemplified by Jesus Christ through His life and you will do well. He is our perfect model and is in us to lead and direct us through His Holy Spirit. When we turn away from Him as His children He will rightly bring us back through His discipline designed to benefit us (Hebrews 12).

Verse to Memorize: Hosea 4:1