Scripture Text:(click to open in a new window)
1. What childhood secret have you kept from your parents to this day?
2. What warning do you habitually ignore which puts you at greater risk? Speed limit? Seat belts? Warning labels on cigarettes? Chirping fire alarm?
3. How did Hoshea come to reign (verse 1; see also 2 Kings 15:29, 30)? What relationship did this create between Israel and Assyria, which Hoshea is betraying (verses 2, 3 ; also 2 Kings 16:17, 18)?
4. What clues can you find in verses 3 – 6 that: (a) Hoshea had traitors in his cabinet? (b) Samaria was one magnificently fortified city? (c) Hoshea was a strong and determined leader?
5. What’s the strategy behind resettling captured people? Isn’t it all a lot of work and hardship for everyone? So why does the Assyrian king do it?
6. The Assyrian exile of the northern kingdom (Israel) took place in 722 B. C. What is the author’s explanation of it (verse 7; compare 1 Kings 14:15)? What are the immediate reasons? Long-range political and military reasons?
7. In what sense can all idolatry be called “secret” (verse 9)? which of Israel’s secrets were apparently done in the open? In ignorance? In defiance? In imitation of neighbor nations?
8. Why is rivalry to the temple so bad? Are the author’s southern biases showing through (verse 18)? Or is Judah getting its share of bad press here, as well?
9. Who tried to turn the rudder of spirituality from retreat to truth (verse 23)? What was the gist of their message? The dominant reply?
10. Is it fair to describe any nation’s history as if God was in the business of punishing them for sin? Is this how we see God and history today? Why or why not?
11. What has God done for you (recently and not so recently) that evokes your heart-felt gratitude?
12. Is any part of your life more like the practices of your neighbors than like the commands of God? How so?
13. Any “gods” in you life that would provoke the true God to jealousy? Who functions as the “prophet” in you life? What have you done with his or her spiritual warnings?