Introduction: My parents grew up in a situation in which it appeared
to them they were not the favored child. Those married couples who
have gone through a difficult time or divorce, because of adultery,
have a close-up look at what it means to be considered “second-best.”
God felt that way in His relationship with His people, Israel. He was
unhappy because they did not put Him in first place in their hearts.
This week our study is on a couple who display this problem. Let’s
plunge into our study and find out more!

  1. The Marriage Instructions

    1. Read Hosea 1:1-3. What is Hosea and how long has he been
      on the job? (He is a new prophet. God has started to speak
      through him.)

      1. What is one of the first things that God reveals to
        Hosea? (Marry an adulterous wife and have
        illegitimate children.)

        1. As a new prophet, might this make you wonder
          about your gift?

        2. Those are certainly odd instructions from a God
          who condemns adultery! Why does God say that
          Hosea should do this? (God wants to illustrate
          the point about the way His people are treating

      2. Was Gomer (Hosea’s wife to be) an “adulterous wife”
        before or after their marriage? (The Bible is not
        clear on this. How would you know your wife would
        commit adultery? My view is that Hosea wanted to
        marry Gomer (I think his first mistake was to marry
        someone with that name (I’m kidding) and it proved,
        as God predicted, that she would be unfaithful to

  2. Jezreel

    1. Who is the father of Gomer’s first child? (Hosea.)

    2. Read Hosea 1:4-5. God tells Hosea to give this son a
      prophetic name. What future does the name Jezreel predict?
      (Think back to last week, where we studied what Ahab did
      at Jezreel – and God’s punishment on Ahab’s wife (Jezebel)
      and son (Joram).)

      1. Who was the “good guy” in executing God’s judgment on
        Ahab’s wife and son? (Jehu!)

      2. How could God punish Jehu for what God commanded that
        he do ( 2 Kings 9:6-9) and what God later commended
        Jehu for doing ( 2 Kings 10:30)? (Read 2 Kings 10:31.
        Jehu continued to worship idols. He did not keep
        God’s law with all of his heart. Essentially, Jehu
        was involved in the same sins for which he punished
        Ahab’s family.)

        1. What good is it to execute God’s judgment on the
          House of Ahab when you are committing the same

        2. Does this suggest that Jehu’s motive for doing
          God’s will was mostly self-aggrandizement?

      3. Imagine a spouse, who does most of what you ask, but
        is unfaithful?

        1. Would you be happy with a spouse like that?

        2. Are you a spouse like that?

        3. More importantly, are you a Christian like that?
          You generally obey God, but your motives are not
          pure and you do not give God first place in your
          heart. Is that you?

  3. Lo-Ruhmah

    1. Read Hosea 1:6. Is Hosea the father of Lo-Ruhmah? (When it
      comes to the first son, the Bible specifically says it is
      Hosea’s. That statement is lacking here.)

      1. Lo-Ruhmah means “not loved.” Husbands, would this be
        natural for a child who was conceived while you were
        married but is not yours?

        1. Why would you have unloving thoughts towards
          that child? It is not the child’s fault. (The
          child is a reminder of your “second place”

        2. What reminded God of His second place status?
          (The idols the people continued to worship.)

        3. Put yourself in the place of the people of
          Hosea’s time. Why would they keep these idols?
          (They did not trust God. One commentary points
          out that Baal worship mixed religion with sex.
          Thus, it had a sensual appeal to the people.)

          1. What are your idols today? What do you do
            (or keep) that shows that you do not trust

          2. What sensual practice do you put above
            obedience to God?

      2. What about your marriage? What do you keep or do that
        shows that your spouse is “second best?”

        1. If you continue with these things, can you blame
          your spouse for having the same reaction as God:
          “I will no longer show love [or] … forgive?”

  4. Lo-Ammi

    1. Read Hosea 1:8-9. Is this son the child of Hosea? (Again,
      the Bible does not positively say, thus suggesting that he
      is not.)

      1. Lo-Ammi means “not my people.” This would be the
        obvious description of a child who was not yours –
        but is there a deeper meaning here? (This is the last
        stage of the breakdown of a relationship. You come
        to the point where you say “I don’t care anymore” –
        and you mean it.)

    1. When you reach this point in your marriage is there any
      hope? When you reach this point in your relationship with
      God, is there any hope?

  1. The Way Back

    1. Hosea 2:1-15 tells how God will punish Israel for its
      unfaithfulness. Basically, these verses speak of all the
      things that God will take away from His people. Is this
      the course that will help your unfaithful spouse return to

      1. If your spouse returns does it mean that you were
        loved for your “stuff?” (This sounds like the “tough
        love” approach to me. God wants to bring His people
        to their senses by taking away the blessings He has
        given them. Presumably, every spouse brings something
        to the marriage. We all bring “stuff.” If you take
        that away, the other spouse may stop taking your
        contribution for granted.)

    2. Read Hosea 2:14-15. What course change do we see here?

      1. Does this course change make any sense to you? If
        so, why? (The goal is to restore the relationship,
        not simply punish the spouse. Can you see the path
        of God’s thinking? He first warns His “spouse.”
        Then, when the behavior does not change, He withdraws
        His blessings from the spouse. Then, when He has the
        attention of the spouse, and (hopefully) common sense
        has returned, God woos the spouse back.)

      2. Are these the stages that we should use to repair our

      3. What, specifically, does God do to “woo” Israel?

        1. What is the symbolism of taking her to the
          desert? Is this like taking her to the beach?
          (It means being alone. Perhaps a fresh start.)

        2. What is the symbolism of speaking tenderly? (Not
          getting angry or sounding angry. Speaking
          caring, encouraging, sensitive, sensual words.)

        3. What is the symbolism of giving back vineyards?
          (For one thing, it means gifts. Vineyards,
          grapes, wine have special meaning in the Bible.
          I think it means a spiritual connection,
          physical health, pleasure, and joy.)

    3. Read Hosea 2:16. What change in attitude takes place in
      the marriage?

    4. At any point in this process has God stopped loving His
      people? (Read Hosea 3:1. God tells us that He continued to
      love His people through the time of their unfaithfulness.
      He is a great and steadfast God!)

    1. Friend, consider God’s approach to sin. God desires to
      have a relationship with you. It may take a little
      “shaking” of your world. But God’s goal is to come close
      to you and love you, not harm you. Will you come back to

  1. Next week: Yahweh and Israel: Fulfillment Beyond Failure.