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Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 37 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 12: Hosea and Gomer: Forgiving the Unfaithful *
Introduction: My parents grew up in a situation in which it appeared
to them they were not the favored child. Those married couples who
have gone through a difficult time or divorce, because of adultery,
have a close-up look at what it means to be considered "second-best."
God felt that way in His relationship with His people, Israel. He was
unhappy because they did not put Him in first place in their hearts.
This week our study is on a couple who display this problem. Let's
plunge into our study and find out more!
- The Marriage Instructions
- Read Hosea 1:1-3. What is Hosea and how long has he been
on the job? (He is a new prophet. God has started to speak
- What is one of the first things that God reveals to
Hosea? (Marry an adulterous wife and have
- As a new prophet, might this make you wonder
about your gift?
- Those are certainly odd instructions from a God
who condemns adultery! Why does God say that
Hosea should do this? (God wants to illustrate
the point about the way His people are treating
- Was Gomer (Hosea's wife to be) an "adulterous wife"
before or after their marriage? (The Bible is not
clear on this. How would you know your wife would
commit adultery? My view is that Hosea wanted to
marry Gomer (I think his first mistake was to marry
someone with that name (I'm kidding) and it proved,
as God predicted, that she would be unfaithful to
- Who is the father of Gomer's first child? (Hosea.)
- Read Hosea 1:4-5. God tells Hosea to give this son a
prophetic name. What future does the name Jezreel predict?
(Think back to last week, where we studied what Ahab did
at Jezreel - and God's punishment on Ahab's wife (Jezebel)
and son (Joram).)
- Who was the "good guy" in executing God's judgment on
Ahab's wife and son? (Jehu!)
- How could God punish Jehu for what God commanded that
he do ( 2 Kings 9:6-9) and what God later commended
Jehu for doing ( 2 Kings 10:30)? (Read 2 Kings 10:31.
Jehu continued to worship idols. He did not keep
God's law with all of his heart. Essentially, Jehu
was involved in the same sins for which he punished
- What good is it to execute God's judgment on the
House of Ahab when you are committing the same
- Does this suggest that Jehu's motive for doing
God's will was mostly self-aggrandizement?
- Imagine a spouse, who does most of what you ask, but
- Would you be happy with a spouse like that?
- Are you a spouse like that?
- More importantly, are you a Christian like that?
You generally obey God, but your motives are not
pure and you do not give God first place in your
heart. Is that you?
- Read Hosea 1:6. Is Hosea the father of Lo-Ruhmah? (When it
comes to the first son, the Bible specifically says it is
Hosea's. That statement is lacking here.)
- Lo-Ruhmah means "not loved." Husbands, would this be
natural for a child who was conceived while you were
married but is not yours?
- Why would you have unloving thoughts towards
that child? It is not the child's fault. (The
child is a reminder of your "second place"
- What reminded God of His second place status?
(The idols the people continued to worship.)
- Put yourself in the place of the people of
Hosea's time. Why would they keep these idols?
(They did not trust God. One commentary points
out that Baal worship mixed religion with sex.
Thus, it had a sensual appeal to the people.)
- What are your idols today? What do you do
(or keep) that shows that you do not trust
- What sensual practice do you put above
obedience to God?
- What about your marriage? What do you keep or do that
shows that your spouse is "second best?"
- If you continue with these things, can you blame
your spouse for having the same reaction as God:
"I will no longer show love [or] ... forgive?"
- Read Hosea 1:8-9. Is this son the child of Hosea? (Again,
the Bible does not positively say, thus suggesting that he
- Lo-Ammi means "not my people." This would be the
obvious description of a child who was not yours -
but is there a deeper meaning here? (This is the last
stage of the breakdown of a relationship. You come
to the point where you say "I don't care anymore" -
and you mean it.)
- When you reach this point in your marriage is there any
hope? When you reach this point in your relationship with
God, is there any hope?
- The Way Back
- Hosea 2:1-15 tells how God will punish Israel for its
unfaithfulness. Basically, these verses speak of all the
things that God will take away from His people. Is this
the course that will help your unfaithful spouse return to
- If your spouse returns does it mean that you were
loved for your "stuff?" (This sounds like the "tough
love" approach to me. God wants to bring His people
to their senses by taking away the blessings He has
given them. Presumably, every spouse brings something
to the marriage. We all bring "stuff." If you take
that away, the other spouse may stop taking your
contribution for granted.)
- Read Hosea 2:14-15. What course change do we see here?
- Does this course change make any sense to you? If
so, why? (The goal is to restore the relationship,
not simply punish the spouse. Can you see the path
of God's thinking? He first warns His "spouse."
Then, when the behavior does not change, He withdraws
His blessings from the spouse. Then, when He has the
attention of the spouse, and (hopefully) common sense
has returned, God woos the spouse back.)
- Are these the stages that we should use to repair our
- What, specifically, does God do to "woo" Israel?
- What is the symbolism of taking her to the
desert? Is this like taking her to the beach?
(It means being alone. Perhaps a fresh start.)
- What is the symbolism of speaking tenderly? (Not
getting angry or sounding angry. Speaking
caring, encouraging, sensitive, sensual words.)
- What is the symbolism of giving back vineyards?
(For one thing, it means gifts. Vineyards,
grapes, wine have special meaning in the Bible.
I think it means a spiritual connection,
physical health, pleasure, and joy.)
- Read Hosea 2:16. What change in attitude takes place in
- At any point in this process has God stopped loving His
people? (Read Hosea 3:1. God tells us that He continued to
love His people through the time of their unfaithfulness.
He is a great and steadfast God!)
- Friend, consider God's approach to sin. God desires to
have a relationship with you. It may take a little
"shaking" of your world. But God's goal is to come close
to you and love you, not harm you. Will you come back to
- Next week: Yahweh and Israel: Fulfillment Beyond Failure.
* Copr. 2007, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.