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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 41 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 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!"
- Read Hosea 1:1. Who and what is Hosea? (A prophet. God
speaks through Hosea to give God's message to the people.)
- 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
- How is this going to look when you are a prophet?
- How will it sound to fellow believers to say, "God
told me to marry a wild woman?"
- Hosea was just starting his job as a prophet,
how does that factor into following God's
- What kind of children will Hosea have? (Children
fathered by some other man.)
- 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.)
- Why did God tell Hosea to do this? (Because God says
this illustrates the unfaithfulness of the people to
- 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?
- Have you ever listened to a religious leader or
speaker who you thought was insincere?
- 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.)
- The Children
- 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.)
- Who is specifically mentioned as being unfaithful?
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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!
- Read Matthew 12:31-32. Why are some sins forgiven and
other sins are not?
- 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
- 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
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- Read Hosea 2:9-13. When we disobey God, what can we
- 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.)
- 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?"
- Does God contradict Himself? Or, is this a "trick"
statement, that really means that Hosea does not have
to love Gomer?
- 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?
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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
- 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!)
- 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!)
- 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?
- 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.