Hosea 2: Charges Against an Unfaithful Wife & the Lord's Love for Unfaithful Israel

Chapter 2 of Hosea digs a little deeper into Israel/Gomer’s problem, and it isn’t pretty.  Let’s read Hosea 2:1-5. 

It is as if Hosea is pleading with the children about their mother, Gomer.  She has gone back to her former ways.  She has been unfaithful…again.  We see that at least some of the children we read about in chapter 1 are not even Hosea’s.  Hosea must have really loved Gomer.  He appears to be very angered and hurt by her actions.  It is easy to quickly read over the words and just think about a prophet being obedient, but he really loved her.  This is a love story.  Nearly all of us have been hurt by a relationship in our lives.  Some of us may be in the midst of it now.  Think about how it felt.  This is what Hosea is going through.  This is what God goes through as he watches us stray.  He loves us more deeply than we can even imaging.  More deeply than any love relationship we have ever had…with a spouse/significant other, child, family member, friend, etc.  To have someone betray that is devastating. 
In verse 2 he says “she is not my wife, and I am not her husband.”  In essence, Gomer becomes his wife in name only.  This can be true for us to as we call ourselves Christians, but lack an intimate, committed, faithful relationship with God…in good times and bad.  We can become Christians in name only.
Gomer believes the things she needs/wants come from others:
She said, “I will go after my lovers, who give me my food and my water, my wool and my linen, my olive oil and my drink.” (v.5, NIV)

É       What do you think Gomer was searching for?

What did Gomer leave Hosea to find?  Food, water, wool, linen, olive oil and drink (v5).  What did the Israelites leave God for?  Pleasures of the world and other gods they believed provided agriculture and human fertility (among other things).  What are some of the things we “leave” God for today?  Money, respect from others, power, our own control, other relationships, comfort, careers, addictions, pleasures, pleasing others, and the list goes on.

É       What things do you search for outside of God?  Do you ever fool yourself into believing that anything good comes from anything other than God?

How deceived we can be by things of this world that we thing bring us joy and the things we need.  How we cling to them and run back to them, thinking they will provide for us instead of running into the arms of God who knows us intimately (more than anyone else), always loves us and has our best interests in mind. 

É       Read James 1:17.  Where does EVERY good and perfect gift come from?

Everything good comes from God.  Who does not change.  Ever. 

Throughout the Bible there are references to the marriage/bride & groom metaphors as is the case with Hosea and Gomer.  We have to be able to look at it in this light.  To see how us turning to other things is a betrayal to God, as it would be to a marriage.
Let’s move onto Hosea 2:6-13.  We see a demonstration of the lengths God will go to keep us from straying.
É       Match the actions of God to the verse in Hosea 2:6-13:
Desolate land ______
Frustration _______
Show her for what she is _________
Obstruction _________
Taking things back _________
Punishment __________
Put an end to shallowness _____

Look again at verse 7 & 8.  Gomer/Israel reluctantly goes back, but only out of frustration at not being able to get what she thinks she wants.  Verse 8 says she does not yet acknowledge Hosea/God as the one that provided all she was yearning for.  Perhaps Hosea was working behind the scenes to make sure she had what she needed and she attributed it to others.  Her heart wasn’t changed though so she was cut off.  Throughout history, God provided for the Israelites without their acknowledging God and even using the things God provided for their idol worship.  The only way to get their attention was to discontinue providing for them.

É       In the second half of verse 8 we see reference to Gomer giving her gifts to Baal.  Reflect on how you are using the gifts God has given you.  Are you using them wisely and honoring God with them?

How can we know if we have the same problem as the historical Israelites?  One way is to look at Gomer and her actions as one person’s representative of the entire nation14:

·         We don’t recognize God is the source of life, and we pursue the things we think will satisfy
·         We experience a dryness in our soul because our own methods do not work.  They do not satisfy.
·         We are proud and don’t recognize our sin
·         We expect God to bless us because we think we deserve it.  We think he owes us.
·         We blame God when things don’t go just the way we want them to.

É       Do you see any of this in your personal life?  What areas do you struggle with the most?  Pray that God reveals areas you are relying on other things instead of Him. 

Make a conscious effort this week to turn to God instead.  It takes deliberation and practice to defeat bad habits.  Share with your small group steps you have taken to help one another on this journey.

Let’s now read Hosea 2:14-23.  Again we see redemption and the lengths God will go to entice us back.  God knows what we need and what we long for.  Even at our worst, God tenderly works to get us back. 

É       Where does God lead her to speak to her (v.14)?  Why do you think this place was chosen?

Perhaps God needed a place that was free of clutter distractions to most effectively communicate.  We all know from experience how hard it is to hear from God in the midst of our busyness and the distractions of our days.  We need to set aside that quite time to really stop, be still and listen.  We need to find our personal desert where we can hear from God.  Also, the desert represented a time of trouble.  Maybe this is a way to show us that even the bad can be a start for something good.

É       Look again at verse 16.  What do you think when it says “you will call me ‘my husband’ instead of ‘my master’”?

God wants us to be obedient, but what He wants even more is a relationship.  Obedience out of love, not just duty.

É       In your current walk with God, do you feel like obedience is based on love or duty?

In Hosea chapter 2 we see that Israel will sin, God will respond, and Israel will ultimately return to God in relationship.

É       Let’s finish chapter 2 in prayer that we can love God more and that our obedience to Him is the outpouring of our love, not just our duty as Christians.

The book Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers15 , which is loosely based on Hosea, is what originally got me interested in reading through Hosea.  Here is a wonderful excerpt from a note at the end of her book.
I used to believe the purpose in life is to find happiness.  I don’t believe that anymore.  I believe we are all given gifts from our Father, and that our purpose is to offer them to Him.  He knows how he wants us to use them.  I used to struggle to find happiness.  I used to work hard to attain it.  By the world’s standards, I was successful.  But it was all meaningless vanity.  Now, I have joy.

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