Scripture Text:(click to open in a new window)
1. About what things are you jealous? Why? What are you likely to do to someone who threatens or steals that “precious possession”?
2. When have you greeted the sunrise? Have you ever tried capturing the morning mist or the morning dew? What happened?
3. What had made Ephraim (Israel) once so feared (verse 1; see Joshua 2:9 – 11)? What does Hosea see as absurd and ironic about Israel’s idol worship? How will they be like the four things in verse 3?
4. What in God’s character and covenant-keeping has Israel forgotten (verses 4 – 6)? How do they bite the hand that feeds them (verses 1, 6, 9; see chapter 12:8; Exodus 20:1 – 3)?
5. What does God intend to do about that (verses 7 – 9)? Is this consistent with His covenant? Why or why not (see Deuteronomy 4:25 – 31)?
6. How did Israel’s desire for a king deceive them (see 1 Samuel 8:6 – 9, 20; 2 Kings 17:4)? What have they done to the One who could save them?
7. How is Ephraim a “child without wisdom” (verse 13)? What desired effect did the birth pangs not produce? What is the result for a child “unwilling” or unable to be born?
8. If the first two lines of verse 14 were a rhetorical question (i. e., “Shall I. . . ?”), what would Hosea’s audience have understood this to mean? What would it do to their presumption of God’s forgiveness and love (see chapter 6:1, 2; compare chapter 1:6)?
9. What devastation does Hosea foresee (verses 15, 16)? Does God’s covenant and character demand it? How so?
10. Have your own desires ever been self-destructive? Any addictive behaviors, substances or relationships? How did you treat those who tried to help you? What save you from completely destroying yourself with these “hand-made idols”?
11. What warning is there for those individuals and churches who let success go to their heads (verse 6)?
12. What makes you feel secure? Job? Spouse, significant other or friends? Pension? Health? Your home? What would you rely on if these were taken away?
13. How might we falsely presume upon God’s forgiveness and favor?
- “serve” Him with time and money
- “claim” His promises
- cry “crocodile tears”
- make plans and ask Him to bless them
14. When you have experienced God’s “rod”, how have you felt His love?