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The Scriptorium

The Role of the Prophet

Prophets were the Old Testament preachers.

Hosea: Introduction and Overview

Hosea 1.1The word of the LORD that came to Hosea the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.

God had promised through Moses that He would raise up prophets like Moses to minister His Word to the people of Israel (cf. Deut. 18.15-22). Ultimately, God was pointing ahead to the coming of Jesus Christ; however, until that day, He would send numerous prophets to the people of Israel and Judah, to remind them of His grace and goodness, counsel them in the path of obedience, and reproach and warn them when they strayed from Him.

Prophets were specifically called by God to their work; but we do not know in every case how this occurred. For some, like Isaiah and Ezekiel, God’s call was very dramatic (cf. Is. 6; Ezek. 1, 2). Other prophets, like Hosea, report hearing God’s Word in some form, preparing and directing them to proclaim His Word to the people (cf. Jer. 1; Amos 1.1, 2; etc.). Some outward token or summons, coupled with a deep inner conviction (cf. Amos 3.7, 8; 7.14-16) moved and sustained these men as they preached and taught the Word of God, often in the face of resistance and hostility.

The prophet’s role in Israel and Judah was to bring the Word of God to the people, especially, as we shall see, to those who served in leadership roles – priests, rulers, and prophets. Thus, the prophets often engaged in confrontations of power with the most powerful people of their day. But their confrontations did not take the form of political, but of spiritual power. Their message was not always heeded, and, not infrequently, the Lord’s prophets suffered injury or condemnation at the hands of those to whom the Lord sent them with His Word.

Certainly the Spirit of God was operative upon and within the prophets He sent to His people, especially those who left records of their ministry in the various books of the Bible that bear their names (cf. 2 Pet. 1.19-21). Moreover, because the prophets embodied, in a certain sense, the very Word of God, they anticipate in their lives, as much as in their message, the coming of the ultimate Prophet, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thus, the words of the Old Testament prophets, like Hosea, have enduring significance. While intended for a particular people, living in a particular place and time, the spiritual message of the prophets remains important for God’s people in all ages, including our own.Read Hosea 3 and 4
What is the primary charge God brings against His people? In what sense did the people of Israel not “know” the Lord? What did they “know” instead of Him?

Glory to Glory
Eternal life is knowing God and Jesus Christ (Jn. 17.3). How does your “knowledge” of God differ from that of the people to whom Hosea prophesied?

Closing Prayer
Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

Psalm 91.9-16

T. M. Moore

Each week’s studies in our Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For all available studies in Hosea, click here.

A primary theme of the book of Hosea is Israel’s failure to keep covenant with the Lord. God’s covenant is a central theme and provides the organizing motif for all of Scripture. Learn more about God’s covenant by ordering a copy of T. M.’s book,
I Will Be Your God, from our online store (click here).

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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