Monday: Blow the Trumpet!
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Image © Ain Vares from GoodSalt.com

When natural disasters occur, they provoke many questions, such as,

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“Why did God allow this to happen?” “Why have some people lived, while others have died?” “Is there a lesson here that we could learn?” Joel had no doubt that the locust plague could lead to a deeper insight into God’s universal plan. In chapter 1, under divine inspiration, the prophet relates the national crisis to the spiritual situation in the land. The locusts have [...]

Sunday: A National Disaster
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Image © David Sorensen from GoodSalt.com

Read Joel 1:1-12. What is happening to the land of Judah?

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The prophet, who lived in an agricultural society, calls upon the farmers to be dismayed at the loss of their grain and fruit harvests. The ecological destruction could cripple the nation’s economy for years. In addition to the loss of food, shade, and wood, there is a threat of topsoil erosion. Some fruit trees in Palestine take 20 years to grow before they become productive. [...]

Sabbath: A Holy and Just God
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Read for This Week’s Study: Joel 1, 2:28-29, Acts 2:1-21, Joel 2:31-32, Rom. 10:13,Matt. 10:28-31.

Memory Text: “The Lord thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty are those who obey his command. The day of the Lord is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it?” (Joel 2:11, NIV).

Key Thought: God can use crises to make His people sensitive to both their dependence on Him and their need for spiritual renewal and reformation.

On the massive locust plague and severe drought that were [...]

Further Study: Love and Judgment
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Compare the following two quotations with the messages presented in Hosea 7-14 .

“Through nature, through types and symbols, through patriarchs and prophets, God had spoken to the world. Lessons must be given to humanity in the language of humanity. . . . The principles of God’s government and the plan of redemption must be clearly defined. The lessons of the Old Testament must be fully set before men.”—Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 34.

“Through long, dark years when ruler after [...]

Inside Story: The Second-Hand Church
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Image © James Work from GoodSalt.com

Pamela Obero sat beside her mud house in Kenya and listened to the preacher’s sermon over the loudspeaker.

Image © James Work from GoodSalt.com

She was curious about the Seventh-day Adventist meetings being held on a nearby vacant lot, though she belonged to another church.

The messages touched Pamela’s heart, and at times she felt that the speaker talked directly to her. So on Sabbath morning she took her five children to the meetings instead of to her own church. When the [...]

Thursday: Healed, Loved, and Nurtured
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Image © Janet Hyun from GoodSalt.com

Some ancient scholars viewed the Lord, as revealed in the Old Testament,

Image © Janet Hyun from GoodSalt.com

as harsh and unforgiving, in contrast to Jesus, as revealed in the New. Why is that such a wrong conclusion? How does the message of Hosea 14 help to show just how wrong that conclusion is? What does this chapter reveal about God’s character and love for His people?

The last chapter of Hosea is a fitting climax to the message proclaimed by the prophet. It [...]

Wednesday: Compassion Stronger Than Anger
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Image © Janet Hyun from GoodSalt.com

“How can I give you up, O Ephraim?

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How can I surrender you, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart is turned over within Me, all My compassions are kindled. I will not execute My fierce anger; I will not destroy Ephraim again. For I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath” (Hos. [...]

Tuesday: A Toddling Son
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“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son. . . . I taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by their arms; but they did not know that I healed them.” (Hos. 11:1-3, NKJV).

Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

In these verses, Hosea is saying that the Lord’s way is like the tender care of a new parent. Just as a parent tenderly and patiently teaches a child to walk, taking it up [...]

Monday: A Trained Heifer
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Read Hosea 10:11-13.

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What message is the Lord giving to His people here? How do we understand the phrase, “until he comes and showers righteousness on you”? (NIV).

In Hosea 10, God’s child Ephraim is compared to a trained heifer who loves to thresh grain because she could eat as she threshed. Thus, instead of being productive, Israel’s existence had become self-centered. When God yokes Israel to work in open fields as the nation should, righteousness and kindness [...]

Sunday: Easily Deceived and Senseless
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“‘Ephraim is like a dove, easily deceived and senseless—now calling to Egypt, now turning to Assyria.

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When they go, I will throw my net over them; I will pull them down like birds of the air. When I hear them flocking together, I will catch them’” (Hos. 7:11-12, NIV). Read these verses in context. What warning is being given here? What principle can we take from these verses for ourselves?

Ephraim was the name of the [...]