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Lesson 2: Love and Judgment: God's Dilemma (Hosea) *

Introduction: Have you ever seen someone who needed an attitude adjustment? We consider what is going on, and make the judgment that person's attitude is inappropriate for the situation. Let's turn our judgment inward. Consider your attitude towards God. Could it use an adjustment? I know that God has been working on my attitude for decades. While I believe that my attitude has gotten significantly better, I know I need further improvement! Let's plunge into our continued study of Hosea to see what we can learn about improving our attitude towards God!

  1. Who Will You Trust?

    1. Read Hosea 7:11 and Matthew 10:16. Is being dove-like a good or bad thing? (Barnes' Notes tells us that an Eastern proverb says, "There is nothing more simple than a dove." In Hosea, the reference to being like a dove is not a compliment.)

      1. Ephraim is a reference to God's people. Assyria and Egypt are the great rival powers to the north and the south. What are God's people doing? (Playing one rival power against the other.)

        1. Why would Assyria and Egypt agree to such a thing?(Assyria and Egypt are using the Northern Kingdom of Israel to advance their own interests. They do not care about God's people.)

        2. What is wrong with taking advantage of the rivalry of two great powers? Isn't that being "as shrewd as snakes?"

          1. Why call God's people "easily deceived and senseless?" (God's people are making the mistake of making alliances with powers that do not care about them, when they could be making an alliance with God who cares supremely about them.)

    2. Read Hosea 7:13-14. What is God's attitude towards His people? (He longs to redeem them, but their rebellion puts them on the path to destruction.)

      1. Notice the sentence "They do not cry out to me from their hearts but wail upon their beds." What does this say about the attitude of the people toward God? (They don't call upon God because they love Him. They call upon God because they are weak. They need something. They want something.)

    3. What is your relationship with God? Do you trust money and people instead of God? Do you turn to God only when you are desperate and nothing else has worked?

      1. What is your relationship to God when things are going well? Is it different than when things are going poorly?

  2. Sowing and Reaping

    1. Read Hosea 10:12. Notice the two ways in which the word "righteousness" is used. In the first reference it is something that we plant, in the second it comes in showers from God. Does this prove that when it comes to being righteous, we do what we can and God makes up the rest?

      1. Read Romans 3:22-24. Where does this say that our righteousness comes? (From faith in Jesus.)

        1. Our text in Romans doesn't say anything about planting, plowing or any other work to obtain righteousness. Should we explain this conflict as an Old Testament/New Testament, Old Covenant/New Covenant thing?

      2. Look again at Hosea 10:12. Does God only love those who are righteous? Those who work for Him?

        1. If you say "No," then we have two serious problems in Hosea 10:12. We have the idea that we make ourselves righteous and we make ourselves loved by God. How would you propose to solve those problems?

    2. Read Galatians 6:7-10. Here is a reading from Galatians, the heart of righteousness by faith. What does Galatians say about behavior and blessings? (We need to keep two concepts clear and distinct in our minds. When it comes to salvation, we are saved by faith in Jesus alone. However, when it comes to living, how we act makes a difference. Why do you think God died over the law? It would have been much easier for God to say, "Oops! Ate the fruit? I'll adjust the rules, just try harder in the future." Instead, He took sin and His law very seriously - so seriously that it became a life or death matter for Him.)

      1. Why do you think God considers the law to be a life or death matter? (It is because the law reflects the character of God. It was given for our benefit.)

    3. Let's look again at Hosea 10:12 in light of our discussion. Does it seem reasonable that the first part of the verse teaches that if we obey, we will enjoy the benefit of living in accord with the law? However, a time is coming when God will shower righteousness on our imperfect lives? (I think that is what the Bible means here.)

    4. Read Hosea 10:13. How can we reap evil? (If we plant wickedness, we will reap evil.)

      1. When Hosea writes about the "fruit of deception," of what does this remind you? ( Genesis 3:4-6. Eve disbelieved God and believed Satan. Eve thought that she could "be like God" based on her own works.)

      2. What is the essence of the evil portrayed in Hosea 10:12? (Depending on your own strength. Depending on your own resources.)

  3. Will You Remember?

    1. Read Hosea 11:1-3. Can a child recall who taught him to walk? Can parents forget teaching their daughter to take her first step?

      1. What is your memory of helping your child to walk? (These are loving memories for the parents. The children, however, are unlikely to remember this.)

      2. What do you think is God's point here? (He loved us first!)

    2. Read Hosea 11:4-5. Should God's people remember Who rescued them from Egyptian slavery?

    3. What do these verses in Hosea 11 teach us? (We might not remember all of God's love to us, but we certainly have seen dramatic evidence of His care. Regardless of what we might remember, God has been continually faithful to us.)

      1. Look again at Hosea 11:2. How insulting is this to God? How foolish is this for humans?

  4. Judgment

    1. Read Hosea 11:8-9. What is God's attitude toward judgment? (He does not want to execute judgment. He certainly will not execute judgment in a fit of anger.)

      1. Notice the reference to Admah and Zeboiim. Just in case these are not part of your regular conversation, read Deuteronomy 29:22-24. What happened to those two cities?

      2. What does the fate of Admah and Zeboiim teach us about God and judgment? (He will execute judgment, but He does not want to do it.)

      3. What is the answer to the question in Deuteronomy 29:24? (Read Deuteronomy 29:25-26. The people trusted and worshiped something other than God.)

  5. God's Goal For Us

    1. Read Hosea 14:1-3. What is God's goal for your life? (Our sins are our downfall. So, God tells us that we need an attitude adjustment. We need to confess our sins, and trust God. We must turn away from trusting what our hands have made.)

      1. Who is eligible for God's help? (Even the most powerless. For those who have no father, God will be your Father.)

      2. This is the point where having (or being) great parents makes a difference in our understanding of God. How does looking at God as a substitute for our parents change our attitude toward Him? (My father and mother loved me absolutely. My father was also a man who would execute judgment on bad behavior! The fact that Dad could be a judge never caused me to lose sight of his incredible love - a love that I could trust absolutely!)

    2. Friend, God loves you absolutely. How can you offend Him by trusting in other gods - your money, your job, your abilities, your intelligence or things of this nature? Why not confess the sin of mistrust, and determine to trust only in God?

  6. Next week: A Holy and Just God (Joel).
* 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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