Study Questions: Like Finding Grapes in the Desert: God’s Sweet Love

Hosea 9 & 10

This week’s questions:

1. Last week we discovered how the Israelites were adamant about doing things their own way; even to their detriment. Among the vile and heinous leaders that we discovered earlier (4: 8 & 5: 1), there were presumably a few voices (i.e prophets) who were trying to remind the people to follow the God of their forefathers. Unfortunately, the Israelites were a stubborn people. Hosea said that the people were so treacherous that they sought to harm and ambush their prophets (see 9: 8). Though you may never have sought to assassinate a religious or spiritual leader, can you think of a time when you stubbornly refused to heed the instruction of your spiritual leader(s)? Were there any consequences to your decision? In a broader sense, have you ever witnessed a group of people who were adamantly opposed to their leader? Discuss.

2. This week’s passage evokes certain images in the reader/recipient. In 9: 10, God, initially,likened his relationship to Israel to fresh grapes in the desert. On the other hand, after unwavering disobedience on Israel’s part, Hosea depicts a rather laborious set of circumstances for God’s people (10: 11). What are the differences of these two perspectives of God on His people? How might we compare it to romantic love in its infancy? How might we compare it to marital love after betrayal? In what ways have we been faithful to God? In what ways do we need to grow in our faithfulness?

3. Last week our Pastor mentioned ‘syncretism’ in the sermon. In simplistic terms, it is a mixing of religious practice. Therefore, God’s people were guilty of sharing their loyalty with Him and other deities. This week, we see that they were punished for this sin. In our contemporary American context, are there any ways that our faith could be construed as syncretistic? Consider the capitalistic ethic. In a personal sense, is there anyone or anything that we have given unhealthy allegiance to?

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