September 7, 2014 Series: The Old Testament
Passage: Hosea 4:1-2, 6, Hosea 11:8-9, Hosea 14:4-8
What is the most difficult assignment you’ve ever been given? What makes Hosea’s assignment from the LORD so difficult (Hosea 1:2; 3:1)?In the message he is sent to deliver (found in chapters 4-14), Hosea explains that his excruciatingly painful home life was meant to be an enacted parable of God’s love for His wayward people.
When God delivers covenant charges against Israel (4:1-2, 6), he points out what is at the heart of their transgression. He says that His people are “destroyed for lack of knowledge” (v. 6). In other words, the transgressions of the people were rooted in a lack of understanding and regard for the LORD. Does this surprise you? Why or why not?
What does it mean to know the LORD? What means has God given you so that you can truly know Him? How do you know when you have a genuine knowledge of God?
How have you lived as one who doesn’t know God? Where are you most convicted of sin as you read God’s covenant lawsuit (4:1-2, 6)?
After announcing the judgment that Israel could expect as a result of their covenant infidelity, God assures them that His character has not changed. Read Hosea 11:8-9. God remains compassionate and loving towards His people. Since God is determined to draw them to Himself and work for their spiritual good, they can rest assured that God’s judgment will be tempered with mercy. He will not fully destroy them. Rather, he will dwell with them without wrath. How is this possible? God—like Hosea with Gomer—moves toward the mess of our corruption and pays the cost of our redemption from it. Read Romans 5:6-8 to see how God has loved us in Christ.
In what situations do you doubt or forget God’s love for you? How could it help you to depend on Him to remember that God’s love is rooted in His faithful character?
God’s saving work involves more than forgiveness and acceptance—as wonderful and important as those blessings are. Read Hosea 14:4-8. God promises to heal them of their apostasy—the very corruption of heart which led them away from God and into barren, sinful lives. God’s healing work is compared to the dew that causes plants and trees and flowers to grow. Like them, Israel will receive the refreshing presence of the LORD and will blossom with good fruit. That is, they will reflect in their own lives the character of God Himself.
In what aspects of God’s character do you want to grow? Do you long to become more trustworthy? More loyal in your love for others? More willing to bear the cost of loving those who cannot repay you? How can it help your pursuit of godliness to know that God is at work in you for that very purpose?
- Praise God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for His unrelenting faithfulness. Worship Him that He is unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.
- How have you lived denying God’s true worth? Ask God to forgive you for your lack of faithfulness and love. Pray that He would heal you and work His character within you.
- Give thanks to Jesus for willingly taking on the work of rescuing you from your sin and misery—a work that came at a high cost to Him! Praise Him both for His work of atonement on the cross and His work to transform you into His image by the Spirit.
- Who do you know that struggles to believe that God would love them? Ask God to open their eyes to Hosea’s message that God is unfailingly committed to the good of His people.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to bear in you the fruit of truly knowing God. Use Hosea 14:1-9, Ephesians 1:15-23, and Philippians 1:9-11 as a guide for your prayers.