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14. Prophets to the northern Kingdom - Israel - Amos, Hosea, Jonah

My notes for teaching the Old Testament, by Mama Brenda.

Leader’s notes: Lesson 14.

Teach through page 49 and the top paragraph on page 50.

You may find it useful to ask some questions after the first sentence to see who in the class knows what.

Check that ‘priest’ is understood.

You could ask what an Old Testament priest did in relation to God and man.

Do we have to go through a priest now? Some Christian groups use the word ‘priests’ for their local leaders, but all Christians are priests to God. See Revelation 5:9-10.

Speak carefully here – we are not trying to undermine anyone’s church structure!

Teach ‘king’. Check ‘king’ is understood.

Teach ‘prophet’.

Perhaps ask if someone can give the definitions of ‘priest’ and ‘prophet’ -

to God for people and to people from God

Teach ‘prophecy’, getting the ladies to compare the Isaiah and Luke references.

Student's worksheet: Lesson 14 Prophets to the northern kingdom, Israel,

Amos, Hosea, Jonah

Jesus is sometimes referred to as our prophet, priest and king.

In the Law delivered by Moses the tribe of Levi were set apart as priests. They were to be those who spoke to God for the people. They offered the required sacrifices on behalf of people. They were the authority figures who spoke on health issues - cleanness after a skin condition, enforced the rules on cleanness and uncleanness. Abraham and Moses also acted as priests in their leadership positions.

Jesus represents us to God in taking our sin on Himself so God’s righteous wrath is satisfied and we can have a right relationship with God again. Jesus is our great High Priest. Compare to Hebrews 4:14.

A king is a ruler who should care for his people. We have seen that Israel asked for a king and it did not work out too well. Jesus is our King - to whom we owe allegiance - and who rules carefully over His people.

A prophet is one who speaks to people on behalf of God. In the Old Testament accounts we come across good prophets and bad prophets. There were those who spoke from God and some people listened while some did not. There were false prophets who pretended to speak from God and some people listened while some did not. Jesus is an absolutely true prophet of God because He is God - He came from God to speak to us. See John 10:27.

People with these roles should have stood before God as his servants and stood before men as people of God. Some did. Some did not. Now, after the life and death of Jesus Christ, we, who claim allegiance to Him, must all live before God as his servants, and live before the everyday world as people of God.

Now we need to define ‘prophecy’.

Old Testament prophecy involved forth telling the message God had given, which may be rebuke, challenge, a call for repentance and/or foretelling events or scenarios of the future. This is where we can get the most confused. Have the foretold events happened or are they still future? Have a look at Isaiah 61:1-3. This is one long sentence in Hebrew. Now look at Luke 4:14-21. Jesus stopped part way through the long sentence, because what He read was now being fulfilled, but the rest of the sentence was for a later time. It may help to think of looking into the distance. You can see some hills but from where you are standing you cannot tell if in front of you are hills, hills, hills, or whether there are hills, some open country and more hills. Jesus is God. He knew the right place to stop in the prophecy to say that this part was now fulfilled. It is very easy for us to misinterpret prophecy, and then argue about our interpretations! Don’t go down that road. Spend your energy working at living the way God wants with what you know for certain, not deciding what a prophecy means when God has deliberately left it unclear.

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Leader's notes: Lesson 14 - Prophets to the northern Kingdom, Israel.

Introduce Amos, Hosea and Jonah as a group.

Introduce Amos.

Work through the Amos second paragraph references together. Yes, God loves us, but He is much bigger than just where we are!

These are three sample visions from Amos - pictures of personal holiness or not, honesty and care of the poor, and eventual restoration of Israel. Remember they were not in exile yet!! Perhaps one lady could read the first reference and then the group can find the meaning together. Then the second and third pictures.

Maybe a quiet moment is appropriate here.

Introduce Hosea.

Go through the references to find what Hosea added to Amos’ prophecy.

Student's worksheet: Lesson 14 - Prophets to the northern Kingdom, Israel.

Last time, we looked at Elijah, the bold, visual prophet. We mentioned his successor, Elisha. Look up 2 Kings 2:15. We think of the prophets as individuals working in isolation, but here we see that there were supportive groups - perhaps groups that kept the written record of prophecies given. See also 2 Kings 4:1-7.

Between 2 Kings 2:19-13:20 Elisha walks with kings and foreign dignitaries, and people like us.

The drama of Mount Carmel was for Elijah. The walking with leaders and with ordinary folk was for Elisha.

There were three prophets whose names and writings we have, who listened to God and spoke to the people of Israel, the ten northern tribes, until the fall of Samaria to the Assyrian army and the consequent exile in 721 B.C.


Amos came from Judah but God sent him to Samaria, the capital of Israel, although Judah and Jerusalem are also mentioned in his prophecies. He may have known Elisha, and he is very likely to have known Hosea. He would have heard about Jonah.

Amos 7:14-15 His job was looking after flocks and sycamore-fig trees. He wrote well and had a wide knowledge of the world.

Amos 9:5-7; 6:14 His God was not just the God of Israel and Judah, but the One who holds in His hands the destiny of all peoples. Amos 1:3; 1:6; 1:9; 1:11; 1:13; 2:1; 2:4; 2:6. He gave God’s judgements against Israel’s neighbours and against Israel.

Amos shared visions the Lord had given him.

Amos 7:7-9 Amos saw God standing by a wall built true to a plumbline, God said He was going to take a plumb line to His people to see how far from His true way they were living.

Amos 8:1-6 God told Amos that Israel was ripe to be picked for judgement because of their ongoing bad treatment of the poor and their dishonesty. There would be a time of wailing not rejoicing.

Amos 9:11-15 There would be a day when Israel would be restored. The Jews of Jesus’ time thought that would happen at the coming of their Messiah. We have not seen it yet, but it will happen in God’s time.

If we were able to see the plumbline God holds to our lives, how out of true would my life be? How out of true would your life be?


Hosea came from Israel, the northern kingdom, and prophesied there. His ministry just overlapped that of Amos.

In Hosea 7:11; 8:10; 10:6; 11:11 he says that the judgement prophesied by Amos would come from Assyria. We know little about Hosea, except that God asked him to live out a very difficult parable.

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Leader's notes: Lesson 14 - Prophets to the northern Kingdom, Israel.

Work through the story of Hosea - a very difficult history.

Perhaps another pause for thought.

Introduce Jonah.

Teach through Jonah, getting ladies to find references and information as needed.

Student's worksheet: Lesson 14 - Prophets to the northern Kingdom, Israel.

Hosea 1:2-2:13; 3:1-4:1 Hosea lived out the story with which God challenged Israel.

“Take a wife who is an adulteress”, or who will become an adulteress. He did.

They had a son, Jezebel.

Gomer then had a daughter, Lo-Ruhamah. Was Hosea the father? See 2:4,5.

Then Gomer had another son, Lo-Ammi. Was Hosea the father? See 2:4,5.

She is not my wife 2:2 - the marriage was broken by unfaithfulness.

In that culture the husband bought the wife’s clothes, 2:7, 10 so she was

exposed to shame, as Israel was when God ‘found’ her in Egypt, in slavery and with


3:1.2 “Buy back your adulterous wife from the slave market.”

They lived under the same roof, 3:3.

Hosea 4:1-13:16 Judgement is coming.

Hosea 14 an appeal for Israel to return to the Lord (verse 1), seek His forgiveness (verse 2), and experience His love (verse 4). Your choice, Israel.

“Hosea, this is how much love you are to show your wife. You will be a laughingstock - but you are demonstrating to Israel how much I have loved, and do love, her.” My summary of Hosea’s mission from God.

Walking by faith means we must constantly make the right choices.

We must constantly listen for our Shepherd’s voice and follow.


Jonah lived before Amos and Hosea. Amos spoke about judgement from God and used word pictures in his prophecy. Hosea was called to act out a parable and teach from it. God told him what to do and what to say. Jonah was called to be the parable.

The dominant world power in Jonah’s lifetime was Assyria and their capital city was Nineveh, a great and impressive city. They were always attacking different people groups and trying to gain land, dominance and power, often in very brutal ways.

Over the years people have had problems with the book of Jonah. What was the big fish? How do we know what Jonah said in the fish? Who was Jonah? Did he really live? If we believe that God is the sovereign ruler of the universe, including people, then these are no problem to us. God organised. God preserved His prophet. Jonah wrote his story and God preserved it for us so we could learn from it. Jonah is mentioned in 2 Kings 14:25. The evils of Nineveh are mentioned in Nahum 1:11; 2:1,13; 3:1, 4 and 16. Jesus referred to Jonah in Matthew 12:39-41.

The Lord said to Jonah “Go to Nineveh”.

Jonah said “No.” See Jonah 4:2. He could not cope with the idea of God being concerned about the people of Nineveh. They were his enemies. He wanted to see them defeated, not saved!

Do you feel like that about some people, tribes, races? Is that right?

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Leader's notes: Lesson 14 - Prophets to the northern Kingdom, Israel.

Another pause for thought.

‘That great city’ for your ladies (and you!) could be a person they had never thought to pray for, a situation, a family they could show concern for. Jonah’s ‘that great city’ was an outrageous idea to his thinking.

Student's worksheet: Lesson 14 - Prophets to the northern Kingdom, Israel.

God loves every person he has made.

Jonah hurried off in the opposite direction.

The Lord sent a great wind. It was bad enough to terrify experienced sailors. They discovered, and Jonah told them, that he was the cause of their problem. Even so, the sailors did not like the idea of throwing anyone overboard. Finally, they did. Then there was a great calm, and the sailors acknowledged God. God had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah. (This gave the sailors a good story to tell when they got home.)

In the fish, reality struck. Jonah acknowledged that God was everywhere, that He had preserved Jonah’s life. He expressed hope, thanksgiving, obedience and knowledge that salvation came from God. The climax comes at the end of 2:10 - the central pivot of the story and the centre of truth and understanding.

The Lord commanded the fish and it spat Jonah on to dry land.

The Lord told Jonah a second time to go to Nineveh.

No detail is given of where he was and how he got to Nineveh. But this time he went.

Jonah obeyed, and preached “Forty days and forty nights and Nineveh will be overturned” from the first day he got there. The Ninevites believed God, declared a fast and dressed in sackcloth and ashes as a sign of humble repentance. We do not know how deep their belief was, but they took Jonah’s message seriously and acted.

God saw the change in the Ninevites, and did not bring about the calamity He had threatened.

Jonah was very annoyed. His project had been successful but it was not the outcome he wanted. He said that God was gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, relenting from sending calamity. He had the words but they had not got through in his thinking. If God was all these wonderful words, then He was a forgiving God - willing to forgive the wicked, nasty Ninevites! We can be like Jonah at times. We may want God to work in the lives of those we love and pray earnestly for, our children or our parents, but do we want Him to bless and reach out to the President? the members of the government? the other tribes we live beside? the man who is always drunk? the woman who has turned to prostitution or selling marrissa? the shop keeper who will not help us any more when we have no money? people of another faith?

God challenged Jonah “Do you have any right to be angry?” He says the same to us.

Jonah made a shelter. God made it better for him. God provided a worm. God provided an east wind. Some of these were not provisions Jonah appreciated.

God longed that Jonah would want what He wanted. We are often grateful for what God has done for us, but we do not think it through. He did those things because He loves us. He wants us to love other people - not just the easy ones!

Jonah 4:11 God speaking “Should I not be concerned about that great city?”

What ‘great city’ is God asking you to be concerned about?

For next time have a look through the long book of Isaiah and read chapters 1-12.

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