International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday January 17, 2016
Purpose: To express gratitude for God’s faithfulness even when we act unfaithfully
Bible Lesson: Hosea 1
Background Scripture: Hosea 1–3
Key Verse: The Lord said to him, “Go, marry a prostitute and have children of prostitution, for the people of the land commit great prostitution by deserting the Lord.” The Lord said to Hosea. (Hosea 1:2)
Hosea 1 (CEB)
(1) The Lord’s word that came to Hosea, Beeri’s son, in the days of Judah’s Kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, and in the days of Israel’s King Jeroboam, Joash’s son. (2) When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to him, “Go, marry a prostitute and have children of prostitution, for the people of the land commit great prostitution by deserting the Lord.” (3) So Hosea went and took Gomer, Diblaim’s daughter, and she became pregnant and bore him a son. (4) The Lord said to him, “Name him Jezreel; for in a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will destroy the kingdom of the house of Israel. (5) On that day I will break the bow of Israel in the Jezreel Valley.” (6) Gomer became pregnant again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the Lord said to Hosea, “Name her No Compassion, because I will no longer have compassion on the house of Israel or forgive them. (7) But I will have compassion on the house of Judah. I, the Lord their God, will save them; I will not save them by bow, or by sword, or by war, or by horses, or by horsemen.” (8) When Gomer finished nursing No Compassion, she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. (9) Then the Lord said, “Name him Not My People because you are not my people, and I am not your God.” (10) Yet the number of the people of Israel will be like the sand of the sea, which can be neither measured nor numbered; and in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it will be said to them, “Children of the living God.” (11) The people of Judah and the people of Israel will be gathered together, and they will choose one head. They will become fruitful in the land. The day will be a wonderful one for Jezreel.
Some Thoughts by Burgess Walter
This series of lessons has taken us on an interesting journey, from love poetry to prostitution.
While marriage is often used in scripture to describe the relationship between God and the Church, it is rare for the church or body of believers to be described as a prostitute. However, in the environment that existed in Israel (the Northern Kingdom) at the time of Hosea’s call makes it appropriate.
The nation of Israel, the northern kingdom, was absolutely whoring around after other gods. The worship of these gods was an abomination to the creator God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that had redeemed a group of malcontents from Egypt. The God that had made a covenant with Abraham, and Moses and showed His love by protecting an entire nation and blessing David and Solomon was not pleased with the unfaithfulness of an entire nation.
Israel was seduced by self-gratification, and other selfish acts. They were no longer in love with the God that had redeemed them from slavery. Their selfish acts were more important to them than protection from other nations and powers.
Hosea is called by God to make a point, and to deliver a final warning, this was no longer a happy marriage, there was an alienated party, and it was God. God had remained faithful and continued to offer hope to all that was willing to repent and turn from their wickedness.
How about you, who are you whoring after in this world? God, like any good husband or father is doing, and has done, his part. The question for all of us is how long will we keep accepting the gifts without returning the love?
There is one of the old great hymns that comes to mind, “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” Let it not be said of us, “You are not my people.”