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Lesson 1: Spiritual Adultery (Hosea) *

Introduction: "Scorned" is not a common word today. But, we all know how it feels. We feel scorned when we are rejected and someone else is chosen. Some experience this with their parents, some experience this with their children, some experience this in dating, some experience it in marriage, and some experience it in their work. Perhaps you have experienced it in all of these contexts. It hurts. Our lesson this week is about us scorning God. It seems completely illogical, but we do it all the time. Let's jump into our new series of lessons and learn more about "spiritual adultery!"

  1. Gomer

    1. Read Hosea 1:1. Who and what is Hosea? (A prophet. God speaks through Hosea to give God's message to the people.)

    2. Read Hosea 1:2. How could you marry an adulterous wife? You are not married yet, so committing adultery in your marriage is impossible, right? (We all know single men and women who engage in sex before marriage. If a person does this routinely, it is hard to stop this kind of behavior after marriage. I suspect God tells Hosea, "Marry a wild women.")

      1. How is this going to look when you are a prophet?

      2. How will it sound to fellow believers to say, "God told me to marry a wild woman?"

        1. Hosea was just starting his job as a prophet, how does that factor into following God's command?

      3. What kind of children will Hosea have? (Children fathered by some other man.)

        1. Consider the difficulties in this. What makes this so hard? (Not only has your wife chosen someone else over you, but you are reminded of this every day when you see the child.)

      4. Why did God tell Hosea to do this? (Because God says this illustrates the unfaithfulness of the people to Me.)

      5. If I were Hosea, I would say, "How about another approach? Just tell me about it God, I will understand." Why is that not good enough?

      6. Have you ever listened to a religious leader or speaker who you thought was insincere?

        1. When Hosea told of God's pain because His people were unfaithful, would Hosea seem insincere? (Those who have been scorned understand the nature of God's feelings about us being unfaithful to Him.)

  2. The Children

    1. Read Hosea 1:3-5. We discussed that a child fathered by another man is a continual reminder of your wife's unfaithfulness. What reminder do we find here? (Just the opposite. The son is named to remind the unfaithful people of their unfaithfulness.)

      1. Who is specifically mentioned as being unfaithful? (King Jehu.)

    2. Read 2 Kings 10:28-31. How is Jehu unfaithful? (He is a mixed bag. He destroys wicked King Ahab and Baal worship, but he continues to worship a golden calf. The specific reference in Hosea 1:4 to a "massacre at Jezreel" is uncertain, for some of the killing at Jezreel was directed by God. 2 Kings 10:30.)

      1. What does the unfaithfulness of Jehu teach us? (We might do some great things for God, but we are still unfaithful if we do not give God our whole heart.)

    3. Read Hosea 1:6-7. How can God say that He will no longer love or forgive Israel, but He will love Judah? I thought God always forgives!

      1. Read Matthew 12:31-32. Why are some sins forgiven and other sins are not?

        1. If you believe in the Trinity, Jesus' words are even more difficult to understand! (Jesus' warning has to do with our attitude towards the Holy Spirit and the nature of the Spirit's work.)

      2. Read Galatians 5:16-18. Why is the role of the Holy Spirit so important in our life? (If we understand the role of the Holy Spirit in our life, we will understand that Jesus is not being arbitrary in speaking of unforgivable sin. God continues to stand ready to forgive us, but when we reject the Holy Spirit, we close the door to salvation. When we turn away from the power that will lead us to repentance and a life lived in accord with God's will, we have not only rejected God, we have rejected His means of salvation. God is not being arbitrary, we have rejected Him.)

    4. Look again at Hosea 1:7. How does God save Judah? Is it by her own works? (No. God says salvation will not come by human power, but God will intervene.)

    5. Read Hosea 1:8-11 and Romans 9:25-26. What is being predicted through the birth of this son? (Read Romans 9:22-24 and 1 Peter 2:10. Hosea looks forward to a time when the Gentiles and the Jews will return to God. A time when they turn to Jesus.)

    6. Why do you think that God had Hosea suffer through an unfaithful wife and illegitimate children to promote God's message? Why not just give a prophecy? (This is another face of our earlier discussion. If you can learn a lesson from others, that is great. But, if you learn a lesson by your own experience, that drives the lesson home.)

  3. Judgment

    1. Read Hosea 2:9-13. When we disobey God, what can we expect? (Judgment.)

    2. Look again at Hosea 2:11. Why would God want to stop the times when the people would turn to Him? (Look again at Hosea 2:13. These celebrations are meaningless when our true affection is towards false gods and we have forgotten the true God.)

  4. Salvation

    1. Read Hosea 3:1. Wait a minute. Go back and review Hosea 1:6-7. How can God say that He loves the Israelites when He previously said, "I will no longer show love to the house of Israel, that I should at all forgive them?"

      1. Does God contradict Himself? Or, is this a "trick" statement, that really means that Hosea does not have to love Gomer?

      2. Put yourself in Hosea's place. How would you like to have to show love to a spouse who is still involved in an adulterous affair?

      3. What does this teach us about the nature of God's love towards us? (God's love continues even when we reject Him. The problem for us, as we discussed before, is that we are in charge of our salvation. Even though God loves us, we can reject the Holy Spirit, we and thus block the path to repentance.)

    2. Read Hosea 6:1. Is this a fair statement - that God tore them to pieces, that God injured them? (They rejected God. God did impose judgment. But, it hardly seems fair to blame God for this.)

    3. Read Hosea 6:2. What does this bring to mind? (Read 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. This is the message of Easter! This is the message of salvation! This is a prophecy of our risen Lord!)

      1. Contemplate this: in the middle of the story of a painful adultery, God reminds us of His decision to die a painful death on behalf of an adulterous people. What astonishing love! What amazing grace!)

    4. Read Hosea 6:6. What is God's goal for our life? (God wants our love. He wants us to show mercy to others. He has set up a system for the forgiveness of sins, but what He really wants is our faithfulness!)

    5. Friend, God shows His illogical, irrepressible love towards you! Will you ask God's Spirit to live in you? Will you determine to live a life headed towards holiness and mercy? Why not make that commitment today?

  5. Next week: Love and Judgment: God's Dilemma (Hosea).
* Copr. 2013, 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.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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