05 July, 2015
Search The Scriptures —Next Study — Books of Amos & Hosea
WHY THESE TWO BOOKS TOGETHER?
These two prophets are linked together in that both prophesied to the northern kingdom of Israel about the same time.
Amos was the earlier by a few years, His ministry took place in the latter part of the reign of Jeroboam II. He himself belonged to Judah, and was a herdsman when called of God to prophesy to northern Israel (Am. 7:14, 15). The kingdom was at that time outwardly prosperous, but all kinds of evil were rife in the land, and the people, thinking themselves secure in Jehovah’s favor resented any reproof (Am. 5:10) They did not realize that they were not worshiping Him in the way that He desired, and that their sins were bringing judgement near. Amos, filled with a vision of the majesty and righteousness of God, denounced the sins of the land, and the false worship that was offered. Let them not imagine that because they were the people of Jehovah, therefore they would escape punishment (Am.3:2).
The first three chapters of Hosea also belong to the closing years of the reign of Jeroboam II, but the remaining chapter reflect the chaotic conditions of the periods that followed Jeroboam’s death. Hosea was a native of the northern kingdom, and had been deeply taught in the school of sorrow. His own sad history was used by the Holy Spirit to fit him in a unique way to see into the heart of God, and to depict the sorrow which His people’s ingratitude and unfaithfulness cause Him. No prophet so clearly shows us the love of God, without in any way weakening the claims of His holiness; and thus he prepares the way for the perfect revelation of God’s love and holiness given in our Lord Jesus Christ. In understanding Hosea’s message, however, it must be borne in mind that the Israelites had adopted many Canaanite religious practices, including that of gross sexual immorality in worship. In the light of this, the ‘harlot’ theme in Hosea has both a literal and a metaphorical meaning.