As these 12 sessions lead you through the fascinating Old Testament story of Hosea, you'll see how a godly man's unfailing love for his wayward wife illustrates God's unconditional, "no-holds-barred" love. Even when you rebel, disobey, or make a mistake, God is relentless to pursue you.
Getting the Most Out of Hosea
This section introduces the topic, explains the structure followed in each study and offers tips for those approaching the study on their own as well as those participating in a group.
A Share in God's Plan
The Lord explained that Hosea's marriage to Gomer would symbolize God's relationship with unfaithful Israel. How does marriage to an adulterous spouse illustrate God's relationship with sinful humanity?
A Vision of the Possible
In 2:15 God said he would make the Valley of Achor ("trouble") "a door of hope." Israel knew Achor as a valley of defeat where Achan sinned by keeping part of the Jericho plunder. What place, event or situation is a "Valley of Achor" for you—a place of spiritual defeat?
Back to the Present
Why is prostitution an apt symbol of worshiping false gods (besides a literal part of Baal worship)?
Sins of the Leadership
Verse 1 says that the leaders have been "a snare" and "a net." Consider recent news, both national and international. How have bad leaders trapped the common people?
A Temporary Repentance
What sort of behavior betrayed Israel's supposed repentance? Why do you think you get stuck at a halfway point to full repentance?
No Place to Hide
"God sees everything you do" is sometimes used as a warning to make children behave. As an adult, you may hear it as childish or manipulative. Yet this is the message of Hosea 7, and it does not come across as infantile. How would you state the great truth of God's omniscience to someone who needs to hear and believe it?
Even though Israel worshiped other gods, why did they feel confident that they were still good Israelites, committed to God? What are some common idols people today trust in instead of God?
Recalling Young Love
Why are the "fruit" images appropriate for the changing relationship between God and Israel? When have you experienced times of dullness or sourness in your relationship with the Lord? How do you explain them?
Even in the midst of righteous anger, what pain and longing did God express? Think of occasions when you want to blow up at somebody, but then you change your mind. What makes you back off?
Yet Justice Prevails
How did Hosea continue to use Israel's history to warn them of God's impending judgment? How does your own spiritual history give you respect for God's justice?
The First Jewish-Gentile Church
What are you like when someone criticizes you? What can you learn from the way Peter responded to those who criticized his ministry to the Gentiles?
God's Final Promise
The Lord urged Israel to "take words with you and return to the LORD." Express in your own words what God longed to hear Israel say. What substitutes do you sometimes bring to the Lord in the place of honest words of repentance?
Total number of pages—64 pages
Dale and Sandy Larsen are writers living in Greenville, Illinois. They have written more than thirty books and Bible studies together including the LifeGuide® Bible Studies Couples of the Old Testament, Faith, Growing Older & Wiser, Images of God, Images of Christ and Images of the Spirit.