Our God is a consuming fire; it is dangerous to draw near to Him. How could we trust to venture to draw near if it were not for our confidence in God’s covenant loyalty? God mediates His relationships with people through covenants; we do well to understand what covenant is all about.
The Old Testament is a wealth of treasure for the Christian if he or she is willing to explore it. We do well to understand how to best handle the Old Testament and its interpretation.
God has communicated His will and purposes through the prophets and Apostles; they recorded those messages in the Old and New Testaments (2 Timothy 3:16-17, Hebrews 1:1). God communicated His purposes to be understood: good guidelines exist which help us properly make sense of what God has said. We do well to explore these guidelines for interpretation, known as basic hermeneutics.
The very name evokes fear, pain, frustration, and misery: Satan.
Many have many views and ideas about who Satan is and what he is about. From the Old Testament we get a picture of Satan not as familiar to many, but unfortunately all too real in temptation.
The Old Testament represents the majority of our Bibles. Where did it come from? Can we have confidence that it accurately reflects God’s words and work among the Israelites?
Christians are known as people who are supposed to read the Bible and do the things it says to do. But why is that? On what basis is the Bible authoritative for Christianity?
YHWH’s indictment was strong, as was His plea for His people to repent. They refused; they were destroyed or exiled. YHWH would nevertheless restore. The message was recorded for our encouragement to not fall according to the same pattern of disobedience.
When Ephraim spake, there was trembling; he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died. And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, even idols according to their own understanding, all of them the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, “Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves.” Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the dew that passeth early away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the threshing-floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney.
Yet I am YHWH thy God from the land of Egypt; and thou shalt know no god but me, and besides me there is no saviour. I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought. According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted: therefore have they forgotten me. Therefore am I unto them as a lion; as a leopard will I watch by the way; I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart; and there will I devour them like a lioness; the wild beast shall tear them. It is thy destruction, O Israel, that thou art against me, against thy help.
Where now is thy king, that he may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges, of whom thou saidst, “Give me a king and princes?” I have given thee a king in mine anger, and have taken him away in my wrath.
The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is laid up in store. The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son; for it is time he should not tarry in the place of the breaking forth of children. I will ransom them from the power of Sheol; I will redeem them from death: O death, where are thy plagues? O Sheol, where is thy destruction? Repentance shall be hid from mine eyes. Though he be fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come, the breath of YHWH coming up from the wilderness; and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up: he shall make spoil of the treasure of all goodly vessels. Samaria shall bear her guilt; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword; their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.
O Israel, return unto YHWH thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and return unto YHWH: say unto him, “Take away all iniquity, and accept that which is good: so will we render as bullocks the offering of our lips. Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses; neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, ‘Ye are our gods’; for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy.”
I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely; for mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel; he shall blossom as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive-tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the grain, and blossom as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have answered, and will regard him: I am like a green fir tree; from me is thy fruit found.
Who is wise, that he may understand these things? Prudent, that he may know them? For the ways of YHWH are right, and the just shall walk in them; but transgressors shall fall therein (Hosea 13:1-14:9).
It’s the perennial bestseller; you’ve heard of it often. But what is the Bible? Why is it so important to Christianity? What are we to do with it?
It’s the question that almost every reader of the history and the prophets in the Old Testament asks: why did Israel not listen to the prophets? In reality, Israel listened to the prophets: the false prophets (Luke 6:23)! We do well to see what we can learn about the false prophets in the Old Testament lest we fall by the same pattern of disobedience.
The prophets spoke by the will of God. It may have taken years, but God fulfilled what He had spoken. God is faithful; we do well to trust in Him!