Community Group Leader’s Guide
For the week of November 4, 2018
- Contact anyone that has missed a meeting to let them know you missed them
The prophet Hosea reminded the Israelites—and us—that ours is a loving God whose loyalty to His covenant people is unwavering. In spite of Israel’s continual turning to false gods, God’s steadfast love is portrayed in the long-suffering husband of the unfaithful wife. Through the symbolic presentation of the marriage of Hosea and Gomer, God’s purpose in having Hosea enact prophecy is clear. Hosea says that despite people’s faithlessness, God remains faithful. The theme for Hosea is God’s undying love for His people.
Looking back at your notes from this week’s teaching, was there anything that particularly caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
- What were or are your first impressions of God?
- Bodyguard God – the God who never allows bad things to happen to good people
- Butler God – The God who responds to fair and selfless requests like want him to
- Boyfriend/Girlfriend God – The God whose presence is always felt
- Distant God – Impersonal force, energy, nebulous this that we can’t know
- Guilt God – The God who controls people through guilt and fear; he loves but does not like people
- Grandfather God – Old man up in heaven who doesn’t want or do anything
- No God – Doesn’t exist
- Me God – You and I are I are charge of our own destinies
- Other _____________________
- This week we learned that the definition of redemption is buying back something. When did God “buy” you back to Himself? How so?
- The Lord made two types of covenants with His people; conditional, having “if”/“then” statements and unconditional. The Lord charges the people in Hosea 4:1 that “there is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land”. What does God find instead and how do these virtues and vices compare with the Ten Commandments? Discuss with your group why God created covenant laws and are they possible or impossible to keep.
(It is impossible to keep the law. The law points to the need of a Savior and in Jeremiah we read that God’s love is unconditional and that He will provide a Savior for all who will accept him. Hebrews 10 goes into this further)
Hear the word of the Lord, O children of Israel, for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land; [2 ]there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. Therefore the land mourns, and all who dwell in it languish, and also the beasts of the field and the birds of the heavens, and even the fish of the sea are taken away. Yet let no one contend, and let none accuse, for with you is my contention, O priest,  You shall stumble by day; the prophet also shall stumble with you by night; and I will destroy your mother.  My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. The more they increased, the more they sinned against me; I will change their glory into shame. They feed on the sin of my people; they are greedy for their iniquity.  And it shall be like people, like priest; I will punish them for their ways and repay them for their deeds.  They shall eat, but not be satisfied; they shall play the whore, but not multiply, because they have forsaken the Lord tp cherish  whoredom, wine, and new wine, which take away the understanding.  My people inquire of a piece of wood, and their walking staff gives them oracles. For a spirit of whoredom has led them astray, and they have left their God to play the whore.  They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains and burn offerings on the hills, under oak, poplar, and terebinth, because their shade is good. Therefore your daughters play the whore, and your brides commit adultery.  I will not punish your daughters when they play the whore, nor your brides when they commit adultery; for the men themselves go aside with prostitutes and sacrifice with cult prostitutes, and a people without understanding shall come to ruin.  Though you play the whore, O Israel, let not Judah become guilty. Enter not into Gilgal, nor go up to Beth-aven, and swear not, “As the Lord lives.”  Like a stubborn heifer, Israel is stubborn; can the Lord now feed them like a lamb in a broad pasture?  Ephraim is joined to idols; leave him alone.  When their drink is gone, they give themselves to whoring; their rulers dearly love shame. A wind has wrapped them in its wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices. [NIV]
And God spoke all these words:  “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery  “You shall have no other gods before me.  “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,  but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.  “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.  “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work,  but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.  For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.  “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.  “You shall not murder.  “You shall not commit adultery.  “You shall not steal.  “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor  “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.  It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,[” declares the Lord.  “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.  No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
- God’s unconditional love for Israel flowed from the covenant relationship he had established with them. Christ’s death has provided for us a new covenant in which we are also recipients of this same unconditional love. How do the following passages help you gain a greater understanding of what God’s unconditional love involves?
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [NIV]
1 Peter 2:10
Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. [NIV]
1 John 3:1
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. [NIV]
1 John 4:9-11
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. [NIV]
What difference could it make in someone’s life if he/she really understood that God loves them?
- In the Book of James, the author uses language reminiscent of the message of Hosea’s marriage to warn his readers about how they’re living. After reading James 4:4, read the following passages and note how they help further explain James’ warning.
You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. [NIV]
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?  Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? [NIV]
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. [NIV]
1 John 2:15-16
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. [NIV]
How can we balance not being friends with the world and our responsibility to be friendly toward the world and make a positive impact on those around us?
TAKING IT HOME
- Do you wish you had a better understanding of God’s love for you? If so, can you think of something you could do to help you better grasp it?
- Is there anything else from this week’s teaching and study you’d like to ask your group to pray about?