Some researchers say that most people today have the average attention span of a goldfish. With so many things fighting for our attention and affection, this should not come as a shock. We have the newest technology, friends and family, career goals, our daily to-do lists, and so many other things competing for our allegiance. These are not bad things by themselves, but when they become priorities in our lives over our relationship with God, there is a problem. When this happens, these things become distractions in our lives, keeping us from remaining faithful to God.
If you find yourself distracted and tempted to prioritize other things over your relationship with God, the book of Hosea has a message for you. God's message to Israel through the prophet Hosea will challenge and encourage your heart to return to God and remain faithful to Him because He has always been faithful to you.
When do you find yourself the most distracted?
1. What in your life is distracting you from your relationship with God?
2. Read Hosea 2:5-8. Describe your view of the people of Israel as you read these verses.
Their mother is a shameless prostitute
and became pregnant in a shameful way.
She said, ‘I’ll run after other lovers
and sell myself to them for food and water,
for clothing of wool and linen,
and for olive oil and drinks.’
“For this reason I will fence her in with thornbushes.
I will block her path with a wall
to make her lose her way.
When she runs after her lovers,
she won’t be able to catch them.
She will search for them
but not find them.
Then she will think,
‘I might as well return to my husband,
for I was better off with him than I am now.’
She doesn’t realize it was I who gave her everything she has—
the grain, the new wine, the olive oil;
I even gave her silver and gold.
But she gave all my gifts to Baal.
3. How has God faithfully taken care of you, even when you failed to give Him credit for doing so?
4. In what areas of your life have you been unfaithful to God? (Do you prioritize time with people over spending time with God? Perhaps you value financial success over generosity. Maybe time at the gym is more important to you than time with God.)
5. Read Hosea 2:14-20. Describe a time when someone showed you undeserved grace and how it impacted your life.
“But then I will win her back once again.
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her there.
I will return her vineyards to her
and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope.
She will give herself to me there,
as she did long ago when she was young,
when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt.
When that day comes,” says the Lord,
“you will call me ‘my husband’
instead of ‘my master.’
O Israel, I will wipe the many names of Baal from your lips,
and you will never mention them again.
On that day I will make a covenant
with all the wild animals and the birds of the sky
and the animals that scurry along the ground
so they will not harm you.
I will remove all weapons of war from the land,
all swords and bows,
so you can live unafraid
in peace and safety.
I will make you my wife forever,
showing you righteousness and justice,
unfailing love and compassion.
I will be faithful to you and make you mine,
and you will finally know me as the Lord.
6. Based on God's response to Israel, what can we learn about Him?
7. Name one action or habit that you need to give up and one action or habit that you need to take up this week in order to live faithfully to God.
Do you remember the last wedding you attended? Did you watch the groom's face as his bride walked down the aisle? The groom's reaction when he sees his bride walk toward him is one of the most special parts of any wedding. In that moment, his love for her is palpable. If a human being can demonstrate that much love for his bride, how much greater is God's love for His people?
Because of His great love, God is faithful. He will always pursue you, and He will never give up on you. In response to God's faithfulness and love, God desires our faithfulness. Take a moment right now and think about your own relationship with God. He has demonstrated such great love and faithfulness in your life. Will you be found faithful to Him in response?
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