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BIBLE STUDY: Unfaithful people, faithful God

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NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Explore the Bible curriculum.

Bible Passages: Hosea 1:2-9

Discussion Questions:

— Which portion of the wedding vow would you rate as the most difficult to maintain?
— How does Hosea’s marriage mirror the relationship between God and His people?
— Why might someone seek anyone or thing other than God, knowing that He will welcome them with loving arms and acceptance?

Food for thought:

Hosea, an eighth-century prophet, declared God’s message to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. His ministry began during the reign of Israel’s King Jeroboam II and continued for 30 to 40 years.

In the first two verses of this book, we learn that Hosea’s message from God to the Israelites would be lived out in real-time, displayed for all to see. Through Hosea’s marriage to Gomer, a promiscuous woman, God detailed the ruin that awaited Israel because of its sin and unfaithfulness. Hosea’s own life would tell the story of God’s relationship with his wayward people.

God directed Hosea to marry a woman with a poor reputation and to have children. Hosea married Gomer, a woman known for promiscuity, who gave birth to a son whom they named Jezreel, a name that pointed to the demise of Israel for their continued unfaithfulness to God. Gomer later gave birth to two more children, Lo-ruhamah and Lo-ammi, whose names pointed to God no longer showing compassion to Israel, and indicated the Israelites would no longer be God’s people. Ultimately, Gomer left Hosea for another man. Israel was acting adulterously toward God, and Hosea’s life mirrored this relationship.

God, aware of all that Israel was doing, directed Hosea to take Gomer back. This would be an illustration of God’s faithful love for Israel despite its own unfaithfulness to Him.

Hosea’s message for the Israelites is applicable to Christians today. God desires our faithfulness to Him in all areas of our lives. All people can return to God, knowing that we will find forgiveness and restoration.

How has God been faithful to you despite your shortcomings? How can we help others understand that God will offer them grace if they return to Him? God’s deep love for His people is seen in His faithfulness and mercy.

Explore the Bible

Explore the Bible is an ongoing Bible study curriculum that helps groups dig into the key truths of each Bible book, while keeping the group on pace to study through the Bible books in a systematic way. More information can be found at Lifeway.com/ExploreTheBible.

Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by Lifeway can be found at Lifeway.com/SundaySchool and Lifeway.com.