The Charge Against Israel (Hosea 4)

Scripture Text:

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Hosea 4

1. When has an injustice hit close home for you? How did you express your opposition to it?

  • voted someone out of office
  • boycotted
  • wrote a letter to an editor
  • pressed charges

2. What was your adolescent rebellion like? Was it like that of your siblings? How so?

3. Did your folks ever urge you to avoid the same mistake an older brother or sister had made? Did you listen?

4. What does the Lord claim is lacking in Israel (verse 1)? How do these virtues relate to self, to others, to God?

5. What does God find instead (verse 2)? How do these virtues and voices compare with the Ten Commandments? What are the consequences of such a climate of evil?

6. Do you thing the land and animals “wasting away” (verse 3) is merely poetic language? Why or why not? Is the same thing true in your culture? How so?

7. Why do you suppose “no man is to accuse another” (verse 4)? Who are “your people” and “your mother” (verses 4 and 5)?

8. What effect does their behavior have on the priests? Of what are the priests guilty (verses 6 – 8)? How might they profit from the people’s sins?

9. What “wages of sin” will the people receive (verses 9 – 11)? Are they personal or social? Limited or contagious? Why?

10. Does the laxity of the priests excuse the people? Conversely, does their behavior indict the priests? Who does God hold accountable for the sexual immorality that is rampant (verse 14)? Why?

11. What directed them in these paths and eroded their understanding (verse 12)? What is a “spirit of prostitution”? How does it hook its victim? What is its seductive impact on succeeding generations (verse 13)?

12. What is God’s concern for Judah? What does He urge them to avoid? How do the Israelites prove “stubborn” (verses 16 – 18)? What future can Ephraim (Israel) expect (verses 17 – 19)?

13. Are you a “heifer” or a “lamb” (verse 16)? Give an example of your stubbornness or your meekness.

14. What causes moral or spiritual decline in individuals and society? What knowledge or understanding is critical in this regard (verses 1, 6, 10, 14)? Where do you see this situation paralleled today? How can you avoid being swept along?

15. The priests were particularly responsible for Israel’s moral decline (verses 6 and 14). In your society, who are the people Hosea would hold responsible?

  • rock stars
  • ad agencies
  • TV evangelists
  • college professors
  • counselors
  • government officials
  • other: _________

16. Who profits from society’s sins and sickness?

17. Who is more successful in passing on wisdom to the next generation: the church, the family or the schools? Why is passing on of wisdom and values such a crucial task?

18. Israel’s idolatry was obvious. Is ours more subtle? What idols do we tend to give ourselves to:

  • careers
  • status symbols
  • relationships
  • new age mysticism
  • wealth
  • military power
  • other: ________

19. Do our idols make us more enlightened than Israel was back then? How do they erode understanding?

20. What potential idol in your life might lure you away from God?


Hosea’s Reconciliation With His Wife (Hosea 3)

Scripture Text:

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Hosea 3

1. Recall a broken relationship (with spouse, kids, boss). Were you able to fix it? How difficult was it?

2. What is the toughest part of what Hosea has to do?

3. Why must he buy Gomer?

4. What does Gomer’s waiting have to do with Israel?

5. When does Israel return to seek God? Has this occurred?

6. When did God “buy” you back to Himself? How so?


Israel Punished and Restored (Hosea 2:2 – 23)

Scripture Text:

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Hosea 2:2 – 23

1. Who’s your favorite poet? Your favorite poem? Why?

2. Have you ever become engaged? When? How? If not, how might you imagine that event?

3. How would your feelings for your betrothed compare to any who may have betrayed you? How do you express your love or hate? By poetry?

4. How does Hosea feel about Gomer (verses 2 – 13)? What will he do about that? Why does he deny their marriage?

5. Why does he want to expose and thwart her adultery (verses 3 -8)? What effect would further punishment (verses 9 – 13) have on her?

6. What “adultery” is she guilty of (verses 8 and 13)? Who then are her “lovers” (verse 5)? Her “husband” (verse 7)? Her “children” (verses 4 and 23)?

7. Though the marriage was broken by adultery, is divorce or reconciliation sought? Why do you think so?

8. How do you account for the contrast between punishment and allurement (verses 13 and 14)? What “desert” experience is Hosea referring to? What effect will this have and why? When and where had God “betrothed” Israel to Himself initially?

9. What changes will occur “in that day” (verses 16 – 19)? What play on words do you see here and in the NIV text footnote (verse 16)? How might this explain the confusion of Israel’s worship of Yahweh with the pagan Baal rituals?

10. How will Israel respond to the Lord’s marriage proposal (verses 19 and 20)? How will the skies, earth and its resources then respond (verses 21 – 23)?

11. What is significant about Jezreel (verse 22) and the other name reversals? What does this reveal about the Lord’s purpose in disciplining His own?

12. Since we become slaves to whatever we yield ourselves to (see Romans 6:16), what are the “baals” (or masters) in your life? In what ways might you be serving them instead of God? What promise do these masters make to lure you into their service?

13. How is the Lord’s authority in your life different from these other masters? (Is God less demanding, or more so? Less forgiving, or more so?)

14. When, if ever, have you outgrown your need for God? Have you ever felt rejected by Him? What for?

15. What “desert experience” or other trying circumstances brought you back to Him? If you are not looking for God (as Gomer was not), how do you know if God is still pursuing you (as He did Gomer)?

16. Using the marriage metaphor, how would you describe your present relationship with God?

  • getting acquainted
  • good friends
  • engaged couple
  • newlyweds (still honeymooning)
  • on the rocks (unfaithful)
  • growing old together

17. What “adulterous wife” or “prodigal son” are you burdened for these days? How could you be God’s instrument of discipline and restoration in their lives? What impact would this have on you? On them?