Scripture Text:(click to open in a new window)
1. When caught red-handed, what is your favorite defense plea?
- guilty, with an excuse
- guilty, with no excuse
- run from your accuser
- pin the blame elsewhere
- obscure the issue with irrelevancies
- other: _______________
2. Bread is a fascinating food. Have you ever made any or watched it being made? What do you associate with the smells of baking bread?
3. Why is God frustrated in His desire to pardon Israel? How widespread is the disease He would heal (verse 1)? What is wrong with Israel’s view of God (verse 2)?
4. What does the oven image tell you about the people’s conspiracy (verses 3 – 7; compare 2 Kings 15:8 – 30 for the historical basis of Hosea’s image)?
5. In reference to Question #4, when and how does their passion blaze into open flame? What guilt do the kings share for their downfall?
6. What was wrong with Israel mixing with the nations (verses 8 – 10)? What happens to a pancake cooked on one side only? What price were they paying for their failure to remain pure? What do the sapping of strength and graying hair indicate? Were the Israelites doing anything to stop the decay? Why not?
7. How and why is Ephraim (Israel) like a dove (verses 11, 12)? How will God deal with them?
8. How has Israel repaid God evil for good (verses 13 – 15)? How will their confidence in Egypt come back to haunt them?
9. What’s wrong with food, fun and fellowship as the basis for one’s church group? In God’s eyes what would be missing, as with Ephraim?
10. On what basis do you try to win God’s favor?
- His past goodness
- Your good behavior
- Your promise to do better
- His forgiving character
- His promise to bless His own
- On Christ’s behalf
11. Like Ephraim, are there areas you have compromised (by “paying” for continued loyalty of friends) in your personal life? Church life? National life? What effect would you expect this to have in your life, church or nation, if you continued as though it didn’t matter?
12. When you hear the Lord say, “I long to redeem you” (verse 13), what verbal response do you have: disbelief? self-deprecation? repentance?
13. Consider one specific need for repentance which this chapter brings to your attention. What action steps will you take this week in response to the Lord’s desire to redeem you?