This week’s questions:
“They look everywhere except to heaven, to the Most High.” (Hosea 7:16 NLT)
1. Without question, ancient Israel incurred a horrendous set of consequences due to their rebellion and their refusing to acknowledge God. From Hosea’s prophecy we are able to sense some of the affliction that encumbered the people. Briefly review the first six chapters. In what ways have we already seen how the Israelites sought to do things their own way or take matters into their own hands? How have they ignored God? Discuss the futility of their practices.
2. Unfortunately, the situation in chapters seven and eight does not get any better. In the time of their affliction, the prophet said the people sought alliances with the foreign nations Egypt and Assyria (7: 11). The irony is seen in the fact that their ‘allies’ would turn out to be their worst enemies. Read Isaiah 31 and 2 Kings 17: 1-23. Israel’s ‘friends’ were not able to rescue them. In fact, they sought to do God’s people harm and not good. When have you sought refuge in someone or something other than God? How do our circumstances sometimes impair our judgement? What are practical ways to seek God’s help during difficult times?
3. We saw earlier that the people had poor spiritual leaders (4: 7-8) and relied on foreign and man-made deities to bestow blessings upon them (2: 8 and 4: 12). Well the political situation was just as dire! They had appointed sour leadership to lead them in the secular realm as well (8: 4a); a situation that will be tantamount to experiencing a hurricane or tornado of sorts (see 8: 7)! God doesn’t mind leadership, spiritual and political. However, leaders need to be responsible and trustworthy. In light of the highly elevated pedastal that the Israelites bestowed on their improper leaders, what is a healthy, balanced and Christian perspective of our respective leaders? Consider the leaders in your church. In what ways should we be praying for them? How often should we be praying for them? Consider the same in our city and country. Let us pray for all of our leaders.