In my June 17 sermon on Hosea 1:1-2 I set forth the background to the book, which includes an overview of Israel’s privileged place in God’s history of redemption. If the reader of the book does not grasp this to some degree, the message of the book will not be fully grasped and God’s love displayed in this Old Testament book will not be fully understood or appreciated.
As I set forth this overview I did not supply biblical proofs. So, in this post I want to do that. It is important that it can be seen this was not merely Tom’s “story,” but truly a synopsis of what the Scriptures teach. In what follows I supply a simple outline of the points I made with Scriptural texts behind each point.
1. From creation until about 2100 B.C. God used more of a “shot-gun” approach in revealing himself to the world that included showing himself in creation, communicating his will more specifically to individuals apart from the written word, and not working through a specific nation. Through this period of history, though some followed him, nevertheless, the general direction of mankind was downward and continually away from God. Genesis 1-11; Exodus 18:16; Psalm 19:1-6; Romans 1:18-32
2. Beginning with Abram (later Abraham) God began to focus upon him, his descendants, and the emerging nation of Israel, a nation that God intended to be a light to the nations such hat they could “come and see” what it is like to know and worship the true God, as well as to be blessed by him. Genesis 12:1-3; Deuteronomy 6; 12:10; Isaiah 42:6; 49:6
3. Part of the way God privileged the people of Israel was by giving to them his Law, his Word, by which he revealed himself, his will, his way of salvation, and way of blessing. To have it in written form, rather than passed on orally, gave a greater and more permanent testimony for man to follow. Psalm 33:12; 103:7; 147:19-20; Proverbs 3:5-7; Habakkuk 2:2; Romans 3:2
4. God privileged Israel by delivering them from Egypt and thereby giving to them a picture of what it is to be saved from bondage, a blueprint for how he would save mankind in the future through the Savior. Exodus 12-14; Micah 7:15-19; Luke 9:31
5. God also gave Israel a privileged status in that his relationship with them as Father to beloved son gave an example of how he would relate to his Son, the Savior in the future. By this he shows those connected into the son or Son are connected into the Father. Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:13-15
6. God gave Israel kings and treated them in such a way that how it goes with the king, so goes the people. This was a preparation for the coming king and Savior. 2 Samuel 7:12-14; Psalms 20-21; Hosea 3:5; Mark 1:14-15
7. God gave sacrifices, feasts, festivals, Sabbaths, and dietary laws to Israel so they could learn the need for sacrifice, ultimate rest, and the need to be different from the world—and that all this would ultimately be fulfilled in Jesus Christ. In this way Israel was a blessing to the rest of the world by teaching how God would save and relate to people through the Savior. Colossians 2:16-17; Hebrews 4
8. God has blessed Israel materially in the days of Amos and Hosea. Amos 6:1-14