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The Scriptorium

An Adulterous People

Israel's sins are serious, indeed.

Hosea 2

Week 3, Monday: God’s charge against Israel

The nation of Israel was unfaithful to God and His covenant from the beginning. Each successive king made matters worse, building on the rebellion and shame of Jeroboam I and leading the nation to worship false gods and to embrace the lifestyle those pagan deities condoned. All this was done to preserve political power and the perks of rule, although the people were certainly willing and compliant in this rebellion.

Now God’s patience had reached its limit. His Word required that He bring judgment against His people, and Hosea needed to be clear about the reasons for God’s wrath and what it would entail. Israel was unfaithful to God’s covenant, but God would not allow His Word to fail.

Read Hosea 2

Meditate on Hosea 2.1-5

1.  Quickly read through Deuteronomy 28. Here God summarizes the blessings and curses of His covenant. Remember: These people had been slaves in Egypt when God, remembering His promise to their forefathers, powerfully and graciously redeemed them and set them free. Summarize: What does God promise His redeemed people when they are faithful to Him? What does He promise when they fail to obey?

2.  God uses the husband/wife metaphor to illustrate His charge against Israel. Why is this a good metaphor? How was Israel’s rejection of God and idolatry with pagan deities similar to a woman’s being unfaithful to her husband?

3.  Meditate on Hebrews 12.3-11. The images of Hosea 2.3 are of utter shame and desolation. Is it unloving of God to threaten such discipline against His “wife”? Explain.

4.  Perhaps the greatest sin of the nation of Israel is brought to light in the last part of verse 5. Why would this be such a terrible offense? How many of the blessings we enjoy each day are the result of God’s goodness and faithfulness? Do we acknowledge Him for these as we should?

5.  The sins of the generations compounded upon themselves, as is suggested in verses 4 and 5. The children of one generation became more wicked than the generation that gave birth to them. How does this lead us to think about the power of sin, as it becomes rooted in a society or culture? Do we see any evidence of this in our day? Must this situation always end in judgment?

When people fail to acknowledge the goodness of God, and to rejoice in and give thanks for His faithfulness and provision, they will turn away from Him and look for other “gods” to worship and serve. The kings, prophets, and priests of Israel led the people into idolatry and spiritual adultery, but the pagan gods to which they turned were really only a mask for the god of political power which Israel’s leaders loved above all. That false deity remains afoot in the world today, and the temptation to trust in it is very great. How can you see this, even among the followers of Christ?

Closing Prayer
Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us,
But to Your name give glory,
Because of Your mercy,
Because of Your truth.
Why should the Gentiles say,
“So where is their God?”
But our God is in heaven;
He does whatever He pleases.
Their idols are silver and gold,
The work of men’s hands.
They have mouths, but they do not speak;
Eyes they have, but they do not see;
They have ears, but they do not hear;
Noses they have, but they do not smell;
They have hands, but they do not handle;
Feet they have, but they do not walk;
Nor do they mutter through their throat.
Those who make them are like them;
So is everyone who trusts in them.
O Israel, trust in the LORD;
He is their help and their shield.

Psalm 115.1-9

T. M. Moore

The Week, T. M.’s weekly print and audio offering of worldview insights, musings, and reflections, is now available for a free subscription. You can subscribe to The Weekby going to the website and, when the pop-up appears, put in your email, click on The Week, then click to update your subscriptions. You’ll be sent an email allowing you to add The Weekto your list of subscriptions.

Each week’s studies in our Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For all available studies in Hosea, click here.

A primary theme of the book of Hosea is Israel’s failure to keep covenant with the Lord. God’s covenant is a central theme and provides the organizing motif for all of Scripture. Learn more about God’s covenant by ordering a copy of T. M.’s book,
I Will Be Your God, from our online store (click here).

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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