Session 11: Prophets & Prophecy Part 2

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Aims

By the end of this session you should be able to: 

  • demonstrate an understanding of the nature of prophecy in its OT context

  • identify key literary features of prophetic texts of different genres

  • identify the key messages and theologies of Hosea & Proto Isaiah

  • consider how prophets approach social justice

  • describe some historical, social and political aspects of OT prophecy

  • demonstrate an initial understanding of some prophetic theologies

  • explain the prophetic response to the exile

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Prayer

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Blessed are you Lord our God,

for you come to us and seek to make your home in us.

As we study now, let our eyes and our ears be open to you

let our hearts find their rest and their joy in you

that we may grow in grace and live to your glory.

Blessed are you, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.

Amen.

Introduction

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In this session we will examine the book of Hosea & the first part (called Proto or First Isaiah) of the book of Isaiah. These prophets are warning of a coming crisis due to Israel's movement away from Jahweh, on the timeline we are in the 8th Century BCE. Watch the video overviews of Hosea & Proto Isaiah and note anything that strikes you in your learning journal. The Bibledex overviews can be found in the Resources section if you'd like to watch them (optional).

Hosea & Proto Isaiah

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The book of Hosea has been translated onto the screen in a very romantic way by movie makers.  In truth however, the book is far from romantic.  Feminist theologians have pointed out that the portrayal of women in the book is extremely problematic, not to mention the image of God battering Israel as a husband might batter an unfaithful wife (Newsome et al, pp304 -205). This is also true of some of the passages in the book of Jeremiah.  The close connection with the theology of the DH however is very clear, especially in Chapter 4:1-3 which echoes the Decalogue.  But Hosea also draws on the Davidic Covenant in his proclamation that God will never abandon Israel no matter how unfaithful she may be.

Exercise

 

Make a note of the structure of the book of Hosea.

 

Who was he?  What was his message? How did he get his message across? What did you think about him? How might you apply the themes of his message today?

 

Make notes of your thoughts for discussion in your tutor group.

 

Spotlight on Doctrine

 

We can clearly see the faithlessness of humankind as contrasted to the faithfulness of God in both Hosea and Isaiah. The doctrine of grace, the unmerited, eternal forgiveness of God, is central to our faith as Christians. We know that we are like unfaithful Israel and as a result we constantly have to confess our unloving actions to God who is love itself. And, just as Israel was, so we are assurred of God's promise, that when we do we are forgiven. Do you think God forgives us even when we don't confess our sins exactly as a human parent would always forgive their child, but still has to watch as the consequences of wrong choices play out?

Spotlight on Spirituality

 

Hosea and Isaiah continue the theme of justice as part of God's desire for humankind. There are many organisations that work for justice and their spirituality is based on them - we have already mentioned the Franciscans, there is also the Jesuits who have 6 core values, one of which is 'service rooted in justice and love', The Order of Missionaries, founded by Mother Theresa, Christian Aid, Tear Fund and many others. How can each of us ensure that this central theme of the Prophets is part of our own spiritual lives?

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Reflect

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Spend some time prayerfully thinking about what you have discovered in this session. What are the most significant things for you? How might you use what you have learned in your own faith journey? Write this down in your learning journal and be prepared to share it at the next Study Day.

Prayer

Blessed are you, Lord our God, all things come from you:

from you come our life, this world and all that we have and are.

Teach us to love and respect your creation and give glory to you.

Blessed are you, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.  Amen

Something Practical to Do

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Think about the church and the world in general. How does the church speak prophetically of the faithfulness of God into the injustice of the world? Could we do more? What do you think the Church might do and what might we do as individuals?

Share some of what you have found on the discussion board in the Forum.

Resources