Welcome to the second week of our summer series When God Doesn’t Make Sense. This four-week series explores four stories from the Minor Prophets. This weekend, Senior Pastor Jeff Manion shares how Hosea lives out the relationship between God and his chosen people. In this story, God asks Hosea to do a very strange thing—marry an unfaithful woman. God teaches Israel a profound lesson about his love and commitment to them through Hosea’s marriage to Gomer.
Building healthy and life-giving relationships.
What has been new or challenging in your life since last time the group met? Spend 20–30 minutes checking in with each other.
For many people, summertime in Michigan means a completely different schedule. What does it look like to care for each other through the summer? How can you be praying and encouraging each other in this season?
Share Part of Your Story.
Describe the craziest date you’ve been on.
Taking next steps toward Christ together.
Have someone retell the story of Hosea and read Hosea 3 aloud. What do you notice in these verses? What stands out?
The Runaway Bride.
Hosea’s relationship with Gomer is an “object lesson” on the relationship between God and Israel. God desired an exclusive relationship with his chosen people. The first of the Ten Commandments is “You shall have no other gods.” Why do you think God makes this the first commandment?
Israel failed to keep the relationship with God exclusive. Instead, they added Baals, agricultural gods of fertility, to their worship practices. What do you think drew them to Baal? What were they hoping to get from Baal?
Discuss the following quote from Tim Keller’s Counterfeit Gods that describes an idol as something that makes you think “If I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.”
What counterfeit gods, promising significance and security, does our culture tempt us with?
Taking on a counterfeit god doesn’t always mean we turn completely away from God. Sometimes we just add a god. Practically speaking, how does this happen subtly in our lives? Why can it often be hard to recognize it as a substitute god?
Where are you most likely to turn to for significance and security?
God’s chosen people turn to Baal for crop security. God takes away the very thing they desire. He sends a drought. Why do you think God sends a drought?
One of the dangerous things about modern day idolatry is we often get upset with God if he doesn’t give us the thing we chase after to find significance or security. If we are trusting in something, we get mad at God if that starts to go away. How have you ever seen or experienced this anger at God for not giving people the thing they think will make them happy or give them security?
The epitome of spiritual arrogance is to believe God is obligated to bless our lives no matter how we behave. Why do you think people believe God should bless their lives?
The Persistent Lover.
God shows his willingness to pursue people through Hosea. Even though his people have strayed, he pursues them. Have you ever felt like God pursued you?
There is another story about someone returning home in the Bible. It is commonly referred to as the Prodigal Son. Have someone read Luke 15.11-32 aloud. What parallels are there between the story of Hosea and the story of the Prodigal Son?
Why did the Prodigal Son return home? How important do you think it is that the Prodigal Son had to choose to return home? What does that mean for us?
The Cost of Restoration.
Hosea’s wife runs away with another man. God tells Hosea to go buy her back and restore her as his wife. Hosea pays a significant price to get her back. Are there any similarities between what Hosea does and what Jesus does?
What parts of the Hosea story resonate with you? What do we learn about God from the Hosea story?
This story helps us understand substitute gods and God’s pursuit of us. What are some steps we can take this week to identify those things we are relying upon for significance and security that are not from God? How can we continually choose to return to God instead?
INVEST IN OTHERS
Valuing people outside the group and outside the faith.
Discuss how you and your group can better engage the people in your life outside your small group.
Summer weather has officially arrived and many local schools are now out. Small group rhythms often change during summer. If you have not already discussed what your small group schedule will look like this summer, have that conversation this week. If you are not going to meet regularly, what can you do to stay connected?
Summer provides a great opportunity to throw a party to hang out informally as a small group. One of the benefits of a party like this is that it allows you to invite others to join you who might need a group. What would this look like for your group? Who could you invite?
Download a printable PDF here.