Hosea 2:14 – 3:5
This week’s questions:
1. Ancient Israel had a long legacy of falling in and out of fidelity with God. The Scriptures depict a certain cycle of sin, punishment, repentance, and mercy. This is most clearly illustrated in the book of the Judges (see 3: 7 – 16 & 10: 6 – 16). During the monarchial years, it was common for the prophets to promote contrition throughout the land in the hopes that God would ‘repent’ or ‘turn away’ the consequences he had in store for their disobedience (see Jeremiah 26: 3, 13; Joel 2: 12 – 14 & Jonah 3: 8 – 10). Unlike these prophets who placed an emphasis on the people’s remorse prior to divine mercy and deliverance, Hosea depicts God pursuing His bride in the midst of her ‘adultery’ (2: 14 – 17 & 3: 1). What is your impression of this depiction of God? What is His patience working in us (see also Romans 2: 4)? In what ways can we take God’s patience for granted?
2. Restoration is a theme that emerges in this section. Because of the people’s sin, they will be stripped ‘naked’ of God’s provision. Compare 2: 8-12 (barrenness) with verses 15 – 22 (plenty). In what ways have the people been restored? Note the tangible and intangible ways.
3. Redemption and reconciliation are the central motifs of chapter three. In simplistic terms redemption is the act of buying something or, in this case, someone back. Hosea redeemed his wife to illustrate how Israel would one day be reconciled to God (3: 1, 2). In theological terms, redemption really illuminates the helplessness of those being bought back. They are unable to get themselves out of their predicament. This was Israel’s situation when God promised restoration. In our Christian context, we speak of being redeemed by Jesus’ blood. How has He redeemed us? How are we helpless? What was or is our predicament? Reflect on and discuss the cost.