Join us as we study through Hosea verse by verse. Our discussion questions, teaching points, and applications can help you or your small group get the most out of this book as you grow in understanding and obedience.
Hosea 14 Inductive Bible Study Online Lesson With Discussion Questions
I. A plea to return to the Lord (1-3)
II. God’s promise of restoration (4-8)
III. Epilogue: Understand God’s ways and walk in them (9)
I. A plea to return to the Lord (1-3)
- What is God calling Israel to do in these verses?
- How does someone who has sinned and rebelled return to the Lord?
- What does it mean in verse 2 to “take with you words?” What kind of words?
- What does the phrase “accept what is good” refer to?
- To return to God, in what specific ways did their attitude need to change according to verse 3?
- How does the phrase “in you the orphan finds mercy” connect to the rest of this passage?
- What can we learn from this about how a person can repent and return to the Lord today?
Acts 3:19 – Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out.
2 Chronicles 7:14 – If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Matthew 3:8 – Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.
Psalm 9:10 – And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
1. Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God – We have reached the last chapter in Hosea. In this chapter the theme is clear. Israel is invited to return to God. Throughout the book we have seen a consistent plea from God to Israel to return and repent. But we have seen from Hosea 11:2 that “the more they were called, the more they went away.”
God’s faithfulness and desire to see His people restored is very clear. In spite of their idolatry, pride, self-righteousness, and immorality He is waiting, always ready to forgive.
So one of the key takeaways from the whole book of Hosea and the closing here is that God is a loving Father ready to welcome His people home again. Like the father of the prodigal son, he is willing to receive back and forgive the vagabond. But there is a condition. His forgiveness will be freely offered if it is sincerely asked for. He welcomes those who return to Him. But if a person (or nation) refused to return to Him, then they will have to face the consequences themselves.
God is loving and ready to forgive. And He is also just and will punish those who do evil. He is a loving father. And He is a reluctant judge, but a just one.
Application: Return to God. Perhaps you have not been walking with God. Maybe it was an intentional choice to sin and pursue the world. Or maybe it was a slow drift. Now is the day of salvation. Come back to God. Ask for His forgiveness. Ask to be restored. He will welcome you.
2. Take with you words – True repentance should be accompanied by genuine words of confession.
Romans 10:9-10 – Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
It is clear that God wants us to confess with our mouth. Parents teach this to their children from the time they can speak. If my toddler hits another kid I teach her not to and then I tell her to say, “I am sorry.” As my kids get older, I continue to teach them to apologize. They learn to ask forgiveness and to specifically speak out what they did wrong. For example, they might apologize by saying, “I should not have said those rude words. I am sorry. Will you please forgive me?”
Their words show that they understand the wrong they have done, are acknowledging it as sin, and are clearly requesting forgiveness.
God also wants us to express verbally our confession of sins. Verse 2 says, “say to him, ‘Take away all iniquity.'” Forgiveness should not be assumed. It should be asked for.
Reflection: Why is it sometimes so difficult to verbally ask for forgiveness from people or God?
Application: Confessing can be difficult. The core reason is our pride. God wants us to humble ourselves and clearly admit our wrongdoing. Make a habit to regularly confess your sins to God. Some good times to do this include before you take communion, and also each night before you sleep. Of course the best time is right after you sin. Also, ask God to help you be quick to confess to others. Set an example for your family by quickly asking your spouse or children to forgive you after you lose your temper or say something hurtful.
3. Accept what is good and will pay with bulls – Their confession was not empty handed. According to the Old Testament law, they were required to offer sacrifices for their sins. If they had verbally expressed an apology but refused to bring the sacrifices it would have been clear evidence that their apology was half-hearted and not genuine.
A person who is genuinely repentant therefore should seek to make restitution whenever possible. Of course it is not always possible to do so. For some crimes like adultery or murder restitution cannot solve the problems created by the sin. But be prepared to do everything your power to make the situation right.
If my son intentionally breaks a friend’s toy, I will tell him to pay for it. If a person steals and says, “sorry,” but does not give back what he has stolen his apology is meaningless.
Zacchaeus promised to pay back four times what he had taken.
It is not possible to earn forgiveness. But if you are genuinely sorry for what you have done, then you should try your best to resolve it.
4. Confessing means putting no trust in yourselves or other people – Israel had to admit that the answer to their problems was not Assyria. Even a good alliance with Assyria could not solve their spiritual problems. Coming back to God is the only answer and the only way they could receive His blessing.
Neither should they trust in their horses or military power.
Psalm 29:7 – Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
And neither should they ever praise an idol (the work of their own hands) as if it was God.
The confession offered they should offer in verse 2 should include all of these aspects. A person who truly confesses must realize that God alone can save, that He alone can forgive, and that He alone is worthy of worship. True confession is recognizing our complete unworthiness and throwing ourselves upon the good mercies of our God.
5. In you the orphan finds mercy – In this context, it is Israel which like an orphan is seeking God’s mercy. And they would rightly believe that He will offer it.
II. God’s promise of restoration (4-8)
- What would God do if they repented?
- What can we learn about His character from this?
- When will these things occur?
- What can we learn in these verses about God’s forgiveness? About God’s blessings?
- What important lesson can we learn from the phrase in verse 8, “from me comes your fruit?”
Psalm 1:1-3 – Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
1 Peter 2:24 – He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
Jeremiah 33:6 – Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security.
Jeremiah 30:17 – For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord, because they have called you an outcast: ‘It is Zion, for whom no one cares!’
Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
1. I will heal their apostasy and love them freely – God promises forgiveness if they will come to Him (1 John 1:9). It is the most important promise in Scripture. The people had rebelled against God and chased idols for generations. And God was still willing to heal them.
Many times we are the same. We often disobey God. We are unworthy of His love and forgiveness. That is what makes it so remarkable.
Application: Take a moment and say a prayer of thanksgiving to God for His love. Thank Him for His mercies, which are new every morning.
2. Verses 4-7 – In these verses a beautiful picture is painted of how God will restore them to the land. He will once again bless them abundantly. His blessings are described in figurative language, symbolic of their restored relationship with Him.
- I will be like the dew to Israel – Dew is a refreshing and beautiful thing. The moisture sustains. It is the opposite of withering.
- He shall blossom like the lily – Lilies are beautiful flowers. This speaks to the way Israel would flourish as a nation again after being restored.
- His fragrance like Lebanon – The fragrance of a lovely flower is a delight to others. Israel would be a delight and a blessing to the nations (just as God promised to Abraham in Genesis 12:3).
- His shoots shall spread out – The nation would prosper and expand. Likely this is both a physical expansion and a spiritual expansion (as they reproduce spiritually).
- His beauty shall be like the olive – Olives were one of the most precious resources Israel had.
- They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow – If you are in someone’s shadow you are very close to them. Also, it signifies that you are under their protection and observation. A child, for example, may walk in his father’s shadow, knowing that his father is beside him. And being beside him, the father protects the child, but also watches over the child to keep him in line.
- They shall flourish like the grain and shall blossom like the vine – It is a picture of a great harvest.
- Their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon – We can assume that wine from Lebanon must have been very famous at the time! Israel became insignificant on a world stage when they disobeyed God. But after returning to Him, they would be famous and influential.
3. From me comes your fruit – The idols could give them nothing. Everything good they had was from God whether they realized it or not (Hosea 11:3).
Application: What are some of the good things in your life? How can you see God’s hand in those things? Choose one of these things and then share a testimony with others this week about God’s goodness in your life.
III. Epilogue: Understand God’s ways and walk in them (9)
- How does Hosea ask his listeners to apply what they have learned from the prophecies?
- What two choices are they faced with?
- How would describe the “ways of the Lord” in a few sentences?
- What is one verse from Hosea that stands out to you?
- What is one lesson from Hosea that you will remember?
- What is one application or lifestyle change that the book of Hosea inspires you to make?
Proverbs 14:12 – There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
Psalm 86:11 – Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
Isaiah 53:6 – All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
1. The wise understand and know these things – Hosea calls upon his listeners to make a response to what he has prophesied. The first part is that they should understand what he is saying. A wise person would pay attention to his words and seek to apply his mind to understand them.
Hearing the sounds of someone talking is not the same as understanding what they are saying. And understanding with one’s mind is also perhaps not the same as truly understanding from your heart.
Men can be especially susceptible to this. Sometimes a husband may be on his computer and his wife talks to him. He grunts affirmation, but may have no recollection at all of what she said. His mind was focused on something else so he didn’t get it.
People can go to church and not remember anything at all about the sermon. Sometimes I ask people after the message what they learned or what stood out to them and they can’t remember anything. Sometimes I also become absent-minded. It is a case of being physically present, but mentally absent.
The wise need to be alert and focus their minds. Understanding requires diligence. It requires critical thinking. It requires dedication.
Application: Diligently seek to know God more. Whether at church, Bible study, or in your home during devotions, be sure to focus to fully understand what you are reading or hearing. What are some things which may cause you to lose focus? What are some ways you can be more diligent and focus more?
Some simple ways to focus include:
- Take notes.
- Turn off electronic devices which may distract you.
- Prepare mentally to share what you have learned with others.
- Be mentally disciplined to bring your mind quickly back to the Word when it starts to wander.
2. Two ways to live – When the whole prophecy is finished, there is a clear choice for Israel. There are two ways to live. They can follow the ways of the Lord and walk in His paths. Or they can sin and go their own way. They could follow the Lord or they could follow the world. Up to this point, they had been following the world.
What do they choose? History tells us that they did not listen to Hosea’s warning. They continued in their willful sin and rejection of God right up until the time when they were defeated by and exiled to Assyria, just as God had promised. Things seemed safe and normal until they weren’t.
The same choice is offered to us today. If we seek after God, He will be found. He extend to us His love and forgiveness and welcome us with open arms. But if we chase after the world, then we will have to pay the consequences. Those consequences may come suddenly. We can choose God’s mercy or God’s justice. Which will you choose?
Hosea Bible Study Guide E-book – If this study is helpful, you can get the complete downloadable study e-book for any device.
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