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2BC Journal

Week FOUR -- January 22-28

 

Scripture Memory:  EXODUS 20:1-4

 

Overview - Hosea 12-14

The final chapter of Hosea begins with a last plea by God’s prophet to the people of Israel to forsake their sinful self-centered ways. His plea is a double one, which also contains some sound spiritual and practical advice. Hosea’s first plea is a general call to all Israel to acknowledge that their sin had brought them to the point of extinction. Hosea’s second plea is twofold, calling for both a return to the Lord and repentance (Hos. 14:2). This double plea (return and repent) is addressed to all Israel. If the previously promised guarantees of divine acceptance, forgiveness, and restoration were to be realized (Hos. 6:1-3; 11:10-11), it was imperative that Israel should act immediately.

The people must come to the Lord with genuine heartfelt repentance. Hosea’s plea is accompanied by some good spiritual advice. The prophet even supplies the model words to say. Hosea adds further (Hos. 14:3) that the people’s confession should also contain an expression of their realization that reliance upon military power, especially that of a foreign nation, is improper.

Further, they must once for all abandon their infatuation with idolatry and foreign deities. Rather than going through the motions of merging religions, they must worship Yahweh alone as the only true God and the Lord of the covenant. This would also be reflected in both their attitudes and actions.

Hosea’s message is equally supportive of a true faith and worship that are reflected in just practices and social concern. A true faith would thus be reflected in Israel’s spiritual walk with the Lord in whom “the fatherless/orphan finds mercy.” The point of Hosea’s prayer is that the people of Israel have become orphans.

In summary (Hos. 14:1-3), Hosea is thus urging estranged and orphaned Israel to return to the Lord with true repentance, confession of sins, and a plea for God’s forgiveness. The people must return to the practice of proper religious observances with heartfelt devotion. Moreover, theirs should be a life reflecting genuine faith and commitment to the Lord, which is realized in a concern for the needs of all. If they will do so, they will find a ready reception from a compassionate Yahweh who is waiting and eager to receive them. Then Yahweh’s child (Hos. 11:1), which has become “Not My People” (1:9) will again become “My People”
(2:23).

Hosea: An Exegetical Commentary by Richard D. Patterson


Day One

 

Read Hosea 14

OBSERVE

Make an outline of the major points from the text.

What stood out to you? Did you see any repetition? Lists? Commands? Promises?

Are there questions that you have trouble answering?

SUMMARIZE

In a sentence or two summarize the main idea of the passage.

APPLY

Where are you in the story? How do these words challenge you? What is God asking you to do in obedience to His Word?


Day Two

 

Read Hosea 11:12-12:14

How could God’s people have fallen so far when they had the Lord as their God? Hosea 12 recounts the Lord’s enduring kindness toward his people despite their ingratitude, emphasizing that God’s kind character and determination to bless are not thwarted by the sin and unworthiness of his people.

1. Hosea begins this section by addressing Judah, recounting episodes from the life of Jacob, the forefather of both kingdoms. Jacob’s birth is mentioned (Gen. 25:21–26), as well as events during his adult life (Gen. 32:24–31; 35:9–15). What do these accounts in Genesis convey about both Jacob and God?

2. Sin twists one’s understanding and affections. How is this evidenced in Hosea 12:7–8? How have you seen this truth evident in your life and in those closest to you?


Day Three

 

Read Hosea 11:12-12:14

Use your answers from the previous day to form a prayer based on what God has impressed on you through His Word. For example, express your thanks for the character and nature of God you have observed. Respond to God about where you see your life intersecting with His Word. Using the themes and influences from the previous day, ask God to help you transform your character into Christlikeness. Reflect on how to live out the truth you have learned.


Day Four

 

Read Hosea 13

In Hosea 13 God condemns Israel for her persistent worship of worthless idols. Again we see that the idols Israel has turned to are nothing compared to God. By refusing to repent, Israel is rejecting their only hope.

1. A repeated sin pattern, one common to man in every age, is laid out in verse 6. What particular steps make up this pattern, and how can it be avoided? According to verses 7–8, where does the pattern eventually lead?

2. In the second section of Hosea 13, describe the three figures of judgment:
vv. 10–11
vv. 13–14
v. 15

3. Even when confronted with such loss, Israel remains stubborn. What truths about the nature of sin are revealed through Israel’s stubbornness?


Day Five

 

Read Hosea 13

Use your answers from the previous day to form a prayer based on what God has impressed on you through His Word. For example, express your thanks for the character and nature of God you have observed. Respond to God about where you see your life intersecting with His Word. Using the themes and influences from the previous day, ask God to help you transform your character into Christlikeness. Reflect on how to live out the truth you have learned.


NEIGHBORS & NATIONS - CHINA

RELIGION: 44.36% Non-Religious - 590,247,410 people 

CHALLENGE TO PRAYER: China remains officially atheist, and Communist Party members number well over 70 million. But the Christian population has eclipsed this number (it is also far outstripped by Chinese Buddhists). Increasing numbers of Party members are believers.

Pray that the atheism promoted for so long – and now so assiduously propagated in the education system – will finally be revealed as hollow and deceptive lies. Pray also that all followers of Christ working in state structures might walk faultlessly and be a redemptive force within the government.


Week FIVE -- January 29 - February 4

 

Scripture Memory:  EXODUS 20:5

 

Overview - Genesis 12:1-4

Genesis 12:1-3 is essentially the announcement of the subject of the entire Bible. From our point of view the Great Commission first appears, of course, in Genesis 12:1-3. The Commission also reappears four more times. It reappears more than that in fragments, but the key phrase “all the peoples of the world” occurs four more times. Two of these times are in the case of God’s relationship to Abraham (or Abram, and later Abraham), one time with Isaac, and one time with Jacob.

Now, Genesis 12:1-3 is a most amazing section of Scripture. First of all, a remarkable plan is launched that affects every human population on the face of the earth. It builds on the fact that those populations have been put out of communication with their Creator Father God. In addition, it proposes a solution for the reintegration of those peoples back into the Father Creator God’s global family.

Several considerations need to be noted about the five-fold repetition of this Commission. First of all, recognize it is a Commission, not just a Promise.

The Jewish people reduced it to a Promise. They considered it a promise God had made to them, not merely a promise that included and obligated them in their response. It was meant to be an opportunity and an obligation. A subtle and disastrous misunderstanding occurs when we understand in our own Christian lives that God is simply out to bless us, and He does not care about brothers and sisters in our own family, or our neighbors, or the peoples across the world. Such views turn salvation, which is global in its very essence, into an individual heresy.

So right here in Genesis, the Plan of Redemption of all the earth is announced and instituted. These early chapters of the Bible have a global perspective. God is not just interested in only us - his chosen ones. And we cannot fellowship with God if we assume we have his undivided attention. You know how small children sometimes want undivided attention, and they will push another sibling off because they want their mother’s full attention. This is counter-productive behavior. We cannot love and fellowship with our Father in heaven or with this global family of Christians unless we can understand that God’s love exceeds the existence of the Christian community and extends to all the peoples of the earth.

Now these first three verses of Genesis are so significant, that it is a tragedy that they are reduced to merely a covenant or the Abrahamic Covenant. What an absolute loss when this incredible Plan of Redemption is mentioned as a minor or marginal matter.

–Excerpt from The “First Chapter” of the Bible: Genesis 12–50 by Ralph Winter

Day One

 

Read Genesis 12:1-4

OBSERVE

Make an outline of the major points from the text.

What stood out to you? Did you see any repetition? Lists? Commands? Promises?

Are there questions that you have trouble answering?

SUMMARIZE

In a sentence or two summarize the main idea of the passage.

APPLY

Where are you in the story? How do these words challenge you? What is God asking you to do in obedience to His Word?


Day Two

 

Read Genesis 12:1-4

God called Abraham to obedience. To follow Him beyond what he could see. God told him He would show him a land. He did not say He would give it to him nor did He say what it was. Has God ever asked you to do something similar to this?

1. Read about Abraham as he is described in Hebrews 11:8-12. What are some things that stood out to you about Abraham’s character from these verses?

2. Often, the “land” in which we live represents a place of comfort and peace. God was calling Abraham out of a comfortable place into a risky endeavor, fully trusting in God. What might God be doing in your life to help you step outside a comfortable place to more fully trust Him?


Day Three

 

Read Genesis 12:1-4

Use your answers from the previous day to form a prayer based on what God has impressed on you through His Word. For example, express your thanks for the character and nature of God you have observed. Respond to God about where you see your life intersecting with His Word. Using the themes and influences from the previous day, ask God to help you transform your character into Christlikeness. Reflect on how to live out the truth you have learned.


Day Four

 

Read Genesis 26: 1-5 & Genesis 28:10-17

The message was given to Abraham in two simple parts – what Bob Sjogren (in his book, Unveiled at Last) calls the “top line” and the “bottom line.” The top line refers to God’s blessing of Israel. He wants to bless His people. The bottom line responsibility reveals that He wants His people to not only enjoy that blessing, but then to turn around and be a blessing to all the families on the face of the earth, resulting in His greater glory.

1. How did this promise continue on to Abraham’s descendants?

2. List the promises of God to Isaac and Jacob.

3. How do you see these promises being fulfilled through the church?


Day Five

God called Abram to obedience. To follow Him beyond what he could see. God told him He would show him a land. He did not say He would give it to him nor did He say what it was. Has God ever asked you to do something similar to this? 

Read Deuteronomy 4:5-6

Why Did God give His people the Ten Commandments?

Read Joshua 2:9-10

How did hte nations respond to God parting the Red Sea?

Read 1 Kings 4:29-34

Why did God give Solomon wisdom? What did God get?

Read Daniel 3:28-34

How did the King Nebuchadnezzar respond to God rescuing Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the furnace?

Read Daniel 6:25-28

How did King Darius respond to God rescuing Daniel from the lion’s den?


NEIGHBORS & NATIONS - BANGLADESH

RELIGION: 86.67% Muslim - 73,213,986 people

ANSWER TO PRAYER: The innovative use of electronic media through websites, chat rooms, satellite TV and mobile phone downloads has opened a way for millions of Muslims to hear the gospel clearly, in safer environments for true seekers.

CHALLENGE TO PRAYER: The Coptic Church is the largest body of Christians in the Middle East and is a strategic key for evangelism.
Pray for:
a) Church leaders, especially the Coptic Pope. Wisdom, grace and confidence are needed in handling the Muslim authorities, Islamist persecution and the questioning world. A close walk with God is essential to be both a bridge between communities and an example to their flock.

b) A spiritual awakening Church-wide in the midst of mounting pressures and communal tensions. The responses to Muslim agitation need to be humble and loving but strong, and only those walking in faith are capable of this.

c) The biblically based renewal movement in the Coptic Church, which has steadily gained momentum since 1930. It strongly emphasizes Bible study and personal faith, and many are fervent witnesses for the Lord. Monasticism sees a rejuvenation as well. Pray for the growth and effectiveness of this movement of the Spirit.