Scripture Text:(click to open in a new window)
1. Were you more compliant or strong-willed as a child? How are your children like you?
2. At what age are children the most adorable to you? Most aggravating? Why those ages?
3. What is your earliest memory of Mom or Dad helping you master some activity?
4. What images describe God’s relationship to Israel (verses 1 – 4)? Which image seems particularly female? Have you ever thought of God as female, as well as male?
5. What impact did that parental love have on Israel (verses 2 – 7; compare Deuteronomy 21:18 – 21; Isaiah 1:2 – 20)? Why will they return to bondage (verse 5)?
6. Why won’t God deliver them; even if they call to Him (verse 7)? What is God’s dilemma in verses 8 and 9? (For the history of Admah and Zeboilm, see Deuteronomy 29:23)?
7. What in God’s character and covenant prompt Him to turn from His plan to destroy Israel (verse 9; see Deuteronomy 4:27 – 31)?
8. How will God restore them (verses 10 and 11)? What hope would this promise give to the faithful?
9. When have you found painful discipline necessary? How did you feel, carrying out the sentence? Did you ever change your mind about doing so? Why?
10. How has God shown a parent’s love to you? In what ways have you spurned that love?
11. How is Hosea’s story like Abram’s, who reasoned with God to spare Sodom (see Genesis 18:16 – 33)? Like the father who waited for the prodigal son (see Luke 15:11 – 31)?
12. How are God’s justice and mercy reconciled in each case? How has God reconciled His justice and mercy toward you, in Christ? What is the only pre-condition in order to be restored to Him?
13. What comfort do you take in God’s enduring love? How will you share that with those who have yet to “come home”?