Hosea 4:1 – 5:15

This week’s questions:

1. In chapter four, Hosea uses a specific word to declare that the Israelites did not ‘know’ God (4: 1, 6). In this instance, however, this word does not mean that the people were ignorant or otherwise unaware of Him. The prophet is trying to explain that the Israelites were not ‘acknowledging’ God. They were purposefully moving in a direction counter to His will for them. In what ways have you failed to acknowledge God? Did you feel a sense of His conviction? Were there any uncomfortable consequences? How did you learn from this experience?

2. We learned earlier in Hosea’s prophecy that Israel was worshipping Baal (2: 8). Baal and Asherah were the Canaanite gods of agricultural and human fertility. Canaanite theology held that in order to have an abundance of food and progeny, the people had to consort with temple prostitutes in an effort to have the gods bestow blessings on them. To their detriment, Israel engaged in such practices (4: 11-14). In what ways have we taken matters into our own hands, perhaps leading us to sinful behavior even to get the necessities of life? What were the consequences of not waiting for God’s sense of direction?

3. Hosea’s prophecy portrays a rather dismal picture of the people’s spiritual leaders as well. The priests were so corrupt that they created a sacrificial system in which they benefited from the sins of the people (4: 7, 8). For an example of what this may have looked like, see the story of Eli’s sons in 1Sam 2: 12-17. What specifically should the Church be praying for in regards to our spiritual leaders?

4. Unlike Israel, our national leaders are not religious leaders, but even so, how can we be praying for our next president? Also, how are Christians to be salt and light regardless of who the next president is?