In the last month I have been doing a series entitled “Major Messages, Minor Prophets”. It has been a great blessing to be preaching on books of the Bible I have rarely, and sometimes never, preached from. The last 12 books of the Old Testament are called the Minor Prophets, not because the messages are less important, but because they are shorter books in length. As I have studied these books in preparing my messages, my love for the Bible and for the Lord has really grown. The whole counsel of God has a way of doing that to us.
A Costly Object Lesson
One of the main themes that have been emerging from the Minor Prophets is the nature and depth of God’s covenant love for His people. If anyone doubts that God is an emotional being should just read Hosea. God is pictured in this book as a jilted lover. Hosea was called by the Lord to give the mother of all object lessons when God commissioned him to marry a prostitute. What a way to illustrate the meaning of your message!
God’s long-suffering love for his unfaithful people was incarnated by Hosea in his love for his wayward wife, Gomer. The God that is pictured here is a personal God who is intimately involved and affected by the response of those He is in covenant with.
God’s recurring passionate refrain in Hosea’s message is that there is no faithfulness and no love in the land (Hosea 4:1). “They don’t really know me”. And the knowledge God is talking about here is not a lack of head knowledge, but a dearth of intimate knowledge that comes from deep communion of 2 persons, like the conjugal love of a husband and wife.
Many of the Minor Prophets inevitably see the need for the Lord to painfully discipline His people. And they hint at the need for God to do a new work in the hearts of His people, in order to produce a faithful people, who can live in covenantal integrity with Yahweh.
The Need For A New Covenant
In Joel 2:28-32, we have the well-known prophecy of a time when God will pour out His Spirit on all flesh. A major fulfillment of this prophecy came on the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out on every Christian in Acts 2. Now, through the new covenant of Jesus’ shed blood, every believer receives the indwelling Holy Spirit. It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to make our Bridegroom Jesus real to us, and who enables us to live in holiness and righteousness (covenantal faithfulness).
Yahweh God reveals the kind of covenant partner He is by actually incarnating Himself in human flesh, and coming on our side of the covenant, to fulfill our broken vows, by being nailed to a cross. What a loving Bridegroom! What a faithful Husband! What a Savior! Who can walk away from this kind of God?
Let us hear these words of Hosea 6:1-3:
Come, let us return to the LORD (Yahweh). He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.
In this veiled prophecy, I can’t help but see hints of Christ’s resurrection on the third day, and also the pouring out of God’s Spirit, likened to winter and spring rains. The LORD has given the new covenant believer greater resources to know Him and to live faithfully with Him. He who has ears, let him hear what the Spirit of God is saying.
QOTD: Do you really know the LORD, and are you living in such a way that reflects covenantal communion with a righteous and holy God?