Reflect on Your Life
1. What jobs or responsibilities do you have that are “thankless”—in other words, you do them without expectation of reward simply because they must be done?
2. When was it difficult for you to do something that you knew God wanted you to do?
Read the Passage
Read Hosea 1:1-3:5
3. How did Gomer treat Hosea? What did she do?
4. How did Hosea respond to Gomer’s actions?
Realize the Principle
Hosea wanted to obey God, but that obedience led him into a heartbreaking situation. God told him to marry a prostitute, that some of her children would belong to other men, and that she would run away from him because she loved adultery. Hosea was asked to go a step even further. The Lord told him, “Go, and get your wife again and bring her back to you and love her, even though she loves adultery.” Go . . . get . . . bring . . . love. Hosea’s love for Gomer was to be clearly demonstrated by his actions toward her. Our obedience to God may not lead to similar heartbreak, but he probably will bring people into our lives who are difficult to love. But we should love them anyway, through our actions. God’s love gives us the strength to love others.
5. Why did God ask Hosea to love Gomer?
6. What excuses could Hosea have made for not loving Gomer?
7. What emotions must Hosea have felt in this process?
Respond to the Message
8. What actions communicate your love to those closest to you? What actions on their part allow you to feel their love?
9. What excuses do people make for deciding not to love others (such as a spouse, a parent, a child, a friend)?
10. How do you expect people to respond when you act in love toward them?
11. What does Hosea’s love for Gomer teach us about loving others?
12. What makes people difficult to love?
13. How can you find the strength to love others when you don’t feel up to it?
Resolve to Take Action
14. Who is it difficult for you to love (for example, a family member, neighbor, church member, employer)?
15. God says, “Go . . . love.” Despite how you feel, what can you do to act in love toward this person?
More for Studying Other Themes in This Section
A. Does God expect us to feel love for everyone? If so, how? If not, what does he expect?
B. What characteristics could make you unlovable to someone else?
C. What message did God intend to communicate to the nation of Israel by the naming and renaming of the children of Gomer (1:4-2:1)? What does this message mean for us today?
D. What does it mean to be bound with the chains of righteousness, justice, love, and mercy (Hosea 2:19)?
This study is adapted from Hosea & Jonah: A Life Application Bible Study (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1989).