LIBERTY UNIVERSITY BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
Discussion Board Forum 1
Submitted to Dr. Joel Ajayi, in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the completion of the course:
OBST 520-B05 LUO
Old Testament Orientation II
Jeffrey Michael Davis
August 24, 2015
Prophets were considered watchman whose primary function was to warn the people what was coming much like soldiers would do if an enemy were approaching. They were also inspired by God to foretell the future or provide predictions of what would happen if the people did not turn from their wicked ways. It can be very difficult living in a post biblical era to read and correctly interpret much of the prophetic writings, so understanding context is the most critical thing when doing your exegesis of this type of scripture. At the same time, one must also be able to differentiate between what should be interpreted literally as well as figuratively. Only then can you understand why it was written and how it applies to today. One of the cardinal mistakes people make is taking verses out of context so it is imperative to identify where the beginning and end is. This to me was great insight and will help in understanding these prophetic writings even more.
Another important thing to consider when reading from prophetic books is to understand that the prophets spoke to the peoples’ emotions and hearts as they confronted and warned the people of God’s impending judgment if they did not change their ways. While God’s love is often tender, in the prophetic days, it was exhibited as exile, death, and destruction at the hands of Israel’s enemies. The prophet’s goal was to wake the people up so they would not have to experience the tough love of God’s rod of anger. For many people, they view the God of the Old Testament as a mean God and the God of the New Testament as a kind and loving God. This presentation shed some light on why God was portrayed in such a way, but that reason was to spare the people from what and where their actions would lead and the ramifications God was trying to spare them from. It’s also important to note the prophetic messages could have more than one fulfillment, which was often a near fulfillment and a far off fulfillment to happen in the future such as the Day of the Lord which in their time was the Exile, but in our future will be the Day of Judgment. A good starting point when dealing with prophetic messages is to determine if the New Testament either explains or expounds how a prophecy was fulfilled or possibly how it may point to Christ’s first or second coming. The New Testament can act as a great guide to understand what the prophets were talking about.
Having a clear understanding of the Old Testament and especially the prophetic books is critical because to understand Jesus and His mission, you must understand that the Old Testament is what Jesus used to find His own identity, destiny, and ultimately how He would come to know His own Father by reading His word. In the final presentation, Dr. Gary Yates commented how Isaiah influences one out of seventeen verses in the New Testament and there are sixty-four direct references. As a modern day Christian, being able to understand the Old Testament and specifically the prophetic books is critical to understanding our mission, identity and purpose just as it did for Jesus.
In Hosea 9:1-17 we are presented with a familiar theme of Israel playing the role of a “harlot.” Israel had not only mixed herself with other nations racially, but she had also done so politically. This was in direct violation to what God instructed His people to do; they were to have no other God than the Lord and what made matters worse is the people had placed all their trust in the military and politics. The chapter opens up with, “Do not rejoice, O Israel; do not be jubilant like the other nations. For you have been unfaithful to your God; you love the wages of a prostitute at every threshing floor.” Verses 3-5 of this prophetic message give clues this occurred during one of the nations feasts, but an interesting difference is instead of Israel being just being portrayed as the unfaithful spouse; they now love the wages of the prostitute. Verse 5 then alludes to the fact there should be no celebrating or feasts because destruction is imminent and they would be carried off in exile. As we enter into verse 6, the prophet continues to proclaim an exile away from the YHWY’s land and the use of “briars and thorns” which is indicative of divine judgment. As the author speaks of silver treasures, this could have meant idols or possibly even the wages of prostitutes mentioned earlier in the passage since according to the Law they were not allowed in the temple. Regardless of what the treasures were, any offering would not save them. It’s interesting as the author moves into verse 7 how previous verses sounded prophetic and now Hosea is almost speaking in past tense as the day of reckoning was at hand. Yet still, the people would not listen and even resorted to calling Hosea a maniac and fool. Verse 8 then ties in perfectly with the topic of prophets. They were watchman and were sent to warn the people and in most cases deliver bad news, but for Hosea it almost seems the people considered him to be the enemy because of his alleged self-destructive behavior. He knew what was coming and was willing to do whatever he could to save the people and prevent God’s wrath, but their corruption was too great. In verses 10-15 Hosea draws from historical traditions comparing Israel to fruitful plants using metaphorical comparisons in his case against Israel. Hosea then warns the Lord’s glory was leaving much like what happened when the Ark was taken, but in this case He was not captured; instead His presence chose to leave. The prophet then goes on to say there would be no conceiving of children and even those with children would become childless. This could be foreshadowing to life in exile or possibly even infertility. Israel’s moral failure and disregard for God had even left the land in mourning and sickness.
In verse 14, Hosea turns his attention to God saying, “Give them, O LORD– what will you give them? Give them wombs that miscarry and breasts that are dry.” It is obvious the prophet’s frustration has risen to the point of bitterness to a nation that would not heed his warnings. Both of the illustrations of non-functioning wombs and breasts both point to the previous mention of infertility. The last three verses of this chapter refer to judgment, disaster, and destruction. Hosea ends this chapter with a recap of previous verses which is Israel being scattered among the neighboring nations to live in exile.
This chapter of scripture is just as relevant today as it was when Hosea wrote it. As a nation, we are facing the same depravity and moral failures Israel was facing. Our nations primary concern is security, financial stability, and our pleasures. In none of these is God the priority or the one sought in matters of significance. We have aligned ourselves with foreign nations and we have virtually turned our back on the nation of Israel. We have forgotten God’s covenant promise in Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” If we forget the past we are condemned to repeat it. As Christians, we must not only understand the times, but we must also know what do like the people of Issachar in I Chronicles 12:32. Part of understanding our times is knowing we cannot go back to the way things were, but we can still be the salt and light God calls us to be. Our churches can still be places of healing where love, acceptance, and forgiveness permeates the four walls. Our God is still on the throne and despite what laws pass and which leaders are voted in, it is still the Lord who is in complete control. He sets up kings and deposes them and He can use anyone and anything to accomplish His perfect will in His perfect timing. We as the church must all serve as watchman warning each other of danger and pointing people to Christ, the only place they will find peace, worth, and meaning.