(Hosea 12 & 13)

This week’s questions:

1. Earlier we discovered that certain Jewish parents gave their children names that were indicative of their personal or social circumstances. Hosea reflected on Jacob’s birth and calls God’s people “Jacob” (12: 2). The name means “to grab the heel” or “to trick.” Read Gen 25: 19-26 and 27: 1-36. Why is the prophet calling the people Jacob? Are there any similarities between his character and the people as a whole? Explain.

2. In Gen 32: 22-32 Jacob wrestled with God. His name was changed to “Israel.” This name can mean, “to wrestle or struggle with God,” but many scholars take it to be a command: “Let God strive.” This experience appears to have been a conversion point for Jacob. Thus the course of his life dramatically changed after this event. What does it mean to wrestle with God? Have you ever contended with Him? In what ways were you changed after such an encounter?

3. According to Hosea, God reminds His people that He was the One who delivered them from their oppressors (12: 9 and 13: 4). We often need to be reminded of God’s goodness to us in the midst of our trials. Why do you think we forget about our Father’s benevolence toward us? Practically speaking, how do we remember God’s help? What is the role of our Christian communities? When has God delivered you from an impossible situation?

4. Consider the commands of 12:6:

  • Come back to God
  • Act with love and justice
  • Always depend on Him (or “wait for Him” as some translations have)
  • Spend some time in prayer committing to these three actions: repentance, caring for others with love and justice, and waiting for God as an act of faith.