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The Old Testament prophets were spokesmen for for their generation more than the future.

They were the proclaimers of timeless truths about God, humankind, and the critical issues of life.

“The Modern Message of the Minor prophets” is the theme for Sunday mornings for the coming months.

Today we are talking about Grace That Is Greater Than Our Sin.

Text

Hosea 14:4 (AMP)

4 I will heal their apostasy and faithlessness;

I will love them freely,

For My anger has turned away from Israel.

Scripture Reading

Hosea 3 (AMP)

Hosea’s Second Symbolic Marriage

3 Then the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman (Gomer) who is beloved by her husband and yet is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love the raisin cakes [used in the feasts in pagan worship].” 

2 So I bought her for myself for fifteen pieces of silver and a homer and a half of barley [the price of a common slave]. 

3 And I said to her, “You shall stay with me for many days. You shall not play the prostitute nor shall you have a man; so I will also be toward you [until you have proved your faithfulness].” 

4 For the sons of Israel will remain for many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or [idolatrous] pillar, and without ephod or teraphim (household idols). 

5 Afterward the sons of Israel will return [in deep repentance] and seek the Lord their God and [seek from the line of] David their king [the King of kings—the Messiah]; and they will come trembling to the Lord and to His goodness and blessing in the last days.

Prayer

Father, We are grateful that your works are great and your ways are true and just.

Most of all, we are grateful that you are merciful.

We thank you this morning for all your blessings on our work.

We express our gratitude both for your temporal blessings that are reflected in our material possessions and for the eternal riches of your grace that make salvation possible.

We give to you today not only to symbolise our devotion but to tangibly express our desire to help advance your kingdom.

In Jesus name we pray.

Amen.

Introduction

An Old Testament scholar once said, “Hosea picked up where Amos left off.”

By this he meant that Amos was a stern preacher of righteousness, but Hosea saw beyond God’s stern demands to His mercy and grace.

We have all heard ministers preach on God’s demand for holiness in life, and the standards are high.

But what if we cant do these things?

What if we are weak?

Is there any hope?

The book of Hosea says that there is hope.

Even if we have stooped as low as Gomer, Hosea’s wife, who was immoral and unfaithful, God’s grace is sufficient to take away our guilt.

Just as God told the prophet of Israel to go and buy his erring wife from slavery, so God believed in His nation Israel and so He believes in us today.

In fact, He cared so much for us He sent His Son to die on a cross so a lost world might be saved.

  1. God has all kinds of preachers.

Just like no two snowflakes are the same, no two personalities are quite alike.

God uses each of us as we are and gives us strength to conquer personal weakness.

Amos and Hosea are two cases in point, they illustrate the fact that God delights in diversity and never tries to fit one person into another’s mould.

  1. Amos.

He was rustic, often caustic, reflecting the type of background from which he came.

Hosea, on the other hand, was either from the city or a high class rural community.

Where Amos condemned sin fiercely, Hosea stressed forgiveness.

Amos saw sin as a transgression of God’s law, but Hosea saw sin as a breach of relationships and failure to love properly.

Never has the fact that the heart makes the preacher been more clearly portrayed than in the lives of Amos and Hosea.

It would not be fair to say that Amos was hard and unforgiving, but we can safely say that he placed more emphasis on conforming to a standard than on repenting and receiving God’s love.

Even when he invited the people of Israel to repent, his words consisted of “prepare to meet thy God” in Amos 4:12.

B. Hosea

He was more than a preacher who cried for justice.

He presented mercy.

He found God’s unending love through his own domestic tragedy.

As he was led to forgive his sinful wife, a revelation burst in his mind, opening his lips and making him a gentler prophet.

God gave him a broken heart so he could understand God’s broken heart.

Hosea learned that the fundamental difference between God and humanity is not God’s power verses our lack of it, His greatness that dwarfs our smallness, nor His omniscience that exposes our ignorance.

Rather, God’s greatest attribute is His unconditional love that shames our own conditional love.

On the other hand, Hosea was not an emotionalist with no iron in his blood nor rigour in his gospel.

To think of Hosea as mild or weak would be a terrible mistake.

He had a passion for righteousness that was just as vehement as that of Amos.

He diagnosed the moral and social diseases of Israel and did not hesitate to announce that remedies were desperately needed.

But his last word was forgiveness, not judgement.

He knew that God smites to save and cuts to heal.

2. Tears can become telescopes.

During prosperous times in our lives, we seldom learn many lessons.

When sorrow and tough times come, however, we understand things that God wants us to know.

Hosea’s life, as much as any other in the bible, illustrates this truth.

As a young man, he married Gomer, and they had children.

At some stage, Gomer became unfaithful.

Some suggest that Gomer’s third child, and maybe even her second, were products of her infidelity.

Whether this is true or not we don’t know, but we do know that Gomer, after bearing three children, left Hosea for a life of immorality.

This broke Hosea’s heart, and as a result he wrote a poem, found in chapter 2 of his book, with Gomer’s betrayal as its background.

Sometime later, probably after many years, God commanded Hosea to go and find his wife.

He did as God commanded and bought Gomer back from the slave market.

Hosea took her home and restored her to the former position she had held in the house.

However, he first made her endure a probation period in which she proved herself to be a faithful wife.

Hosea learned many lessons from this experience.

  1. The nature of sin.

Hoses discovered that sin is not against arbitrary decrees but against the love relationship.

He applied this to his nations spiritual condition.

The people of Israel were guilty of more that breaking the ten commandments.

They were guilty of breaking God’s heart.

B. The essence of religion.

During Gomer’s absence, Hosea learned another truth.

He came to understand the essence of religion.

What does God want from His creation?

Well, what does a husband want from his wife?

Not merely someone to wash dishes, vacuum the floor, and do the laundry.

He could hire a maid to do these jobs.

A man wants companionship with his wife.

Likewise, God does not want from His creation merely obedience without feeling or effort to the external requirements of religion.

Instead, he wants a person’s devotion, which establishes fellowship between the two.

Hosea then understood that God desired Israel to return to Him so that a loving fellowship might exist between the two.

C. The heart of God.

A third lesson that Hosea learned was the greatest!

He discovered something about God’s heart.

The chief characteristic of our Creator is that He is also our Redeemer.

God chose Abraham to make a great nation from him.

God had one specific goal in mind, to bless all nations through Abraham’s seed.

The ultimate seed, through who the world would be blessed, is Jesus Christ.

In Him we learn the fullness of a truth that is brought to us in part through the Old Testament.

God is merciful, and He delights in forgiving people when their repentance is genuine and their faith is sincere.

3. Why and how does God do it?

  1. why?

The answer is found in Hosea 11.

In this poem on God as a loving Father, Hosea follows the anguish of a father whose son has rebelled against him.

God, as the Father, said that He will not cast off His people in Hosea 11:8-9.

The latter part of verse 9 explains why God will not make judgement His last word.

Hosea, speaking for God, said, “i am God, and not man.”

B. How?

How does God forgive?

Although He is God and not man, in Jesus Christ, He is both God and man.

Hosea, more than any other Old Testament prophet, anticipates the gospel of God’s grace through His Son.

In Jesus Christ we see Hosea going to the market place and bring back his erring loved one.

The chapter expresses that even though we have gone astray, God is always ready to forgive

Conclusion.

Only one thing is greater than our sins, God’s grace.

More than love, grace is undeserved love.

We love those who are lovely, but God loves even those who are unlovely.

Paul said in Romans 5:7-8 (AMP)

7 Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to willingly give his life even for an upright man, though perhaps for a good man [one who is noble and selfless and worthy] someone might even dare to die. 

8 But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

The best and most cherished hymns have always been this that have told of God’s forgiving love.

We who are saved never get tired of hearing the gospel story.

We are warmed every time we hear of how someone like Hosea would forgive his wife after she had disgraced him.

The greatest story of all, however, and the one to which Hosea points, is that of our Saviour, who knew no sin, died on that cross so that we might be the righteousness of God in Him!

Until next time

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I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.

When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.

Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!

You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at www.refinerylife.org

When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you.

So whatever you’re concerned about and need prayer for we want to be here for you! Or even if you just want to say Hi, you can contact us

2020 IS A YEAR OF CLARITY

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