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 7 Inductive Verse by Verse Bible Study – Discussion Questions and Applications
I. God remembers all their evil (1-3)
II. The Israelite’s lust burned like fire (4-7)
III. The nation’s time is short but they don’t know it (8-16)
I. God remembers all their evil (1-3)
- When are their iniquities revealed?
- Who does Ephraim and Samaria represent?
- What does it mean that God remembers all their evil (2)?
- How is this different than how God deals with the sin of those who are saved?
- How can their evil “make the king glad?”
John 3:19-20 – And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.
Numbers 32:23 – But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out.
Ecclesiastes 12:14 – For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.
Isaiah 43:25 – I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.
Hebrews 10:17 – Then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
1. When I would heal Israel the iniquity of Ephraim is uncovered – Different translations render this phrase differently. The King James Version may be the easiest to understand. It says, “When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered.”
In these several chapters we have seen that God wants to restore Israel. He desires to have them repent and turn to Him. But here we see that when He was ready to heal and restore them, their sins were exposed, and therefore the healing did not yet come.
Take for example a child who is grounded for lying. The time of his discipline is nearly over and his parents are about to restore the child to freedom. But on the last day they discover that he has been cheating on his schoolwork the whole time. He would have been restored, but his sins were uncovered.
In like manner, when Israel would have been healed, her sins were exposed and her lack of sincere repentance was made clear to all. Therefore Israel did not yet receive the healing and is not yet restored. Only when Israel turns to Jesus in repentance will her sins be taken away so that she can be restored to the Lord.
There is a similar example in the parable of the wedding banquet in Matthew 22. A man attends, but is not wearing the correct wedding clothes. He is therefore thrown out. This man is not willing to wear the clothes the King graciously provided. He comes based on his own merit. And his unworthiness is exposed so he is tossed out.
Application: The only way to be healed is to confess your sins and place your complete faith in Jesus. Isaiah 53:5, “Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”
2. They do not consider that I remember all of their evil – The people were prideful. Like most who are pursuing sin, they thought that God was far away and would take no notice of them or their sins. Their thinking was very much like described in the following verse:
Psalm 10:4-5 – In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.” His ways prosper at all times; your judgments are on high, out of his sight; as for all his foes, he puffs at them.
Notice a few things in these verses. Firstly, it is pride that make a person think God does not exist and will not see. He keeps telling himself, “there is no God.” It could be that he doesn’t entirely believe this, but through repetition slowly convinces himself that this is the case. Certainly he hopes this is the case. God’s judgments are far away from his thoughts. Out of sight, out of mind.
But God does see. He remembers all their evil. The statement seen here is in stark contrast to how God deals with the sins of the repentant.
Psalm 103:12 – As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
When a person places faith in the Lord and confesses his sins, God forgives and forgets. He remembers our sins no more (Hebrews 11:17). Of course God knows everything. His memory is not wiped. But He does not take our sins into account. He does not hold them against us. He doesn’t add them to a ledger and then call us to account. They are erased from the balance book, fully dealt with by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
On the other hand, God remembers every single sin committed by those who continue to rebel against him. Each person has books upon books of life deeds recorded and stored. These books will brought out and examined. The deeds inside will be the basis of the eternal judgment (Revelation 20:12).
Think for a moment about your deeds, big and little, seen and unseen, recent and long ago. Now imagine how you would feel if these books are opened up and read aloud in God’s presence for all to hear. What a terrible doom! What hope would any of us have to stand in the day of that judgment? But there is hope. Jesus. By His sacrifice your name can be written in another book, the Book of Life. And those deeds will be washed clean by the blood of Christ.
Application: If you have never placed your faith in Christ, do not delay. Confess your sins to Him so that you don’t have to face the judgment for them yourself. If you have, then spend time in prayer praising and thanking God for His amazing grace!
II. The Israelite’s lust burned like fire (4-7)
- What does it mean in verse 4 and 7 that they are “like a heated oven?”
- What do verses 4-7 show us about the people?
- What was their lust like?
- What is “their intrigue” in verse 6?
- How can a person deal with lustful thoughts?
1 John 2:16 – For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.
Galatians 5:16 – But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Colossians 3:5 – Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
Romans 13:14 – But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
1. They are like a heated oven – Their sinful lusts burned passionately like a fire left unattended. It is not only passionate lust. In verse 5 it says that they “become sick with the heat of wine.” In verse 6 the description continues “with hearts like an oven they approach their intrigue” and “all night their anger simmers.”
The description highlights their wild and unrestrained behavior. Their desires overpower their common sense, decency, and self-control. Drinking so much wine, they become sick. Their hearts are filled with plotting and intrigue. Israel’s history already proved this as coups, assassinations, and treachery ended many a dynasty.
My ten year old son read through 1 and 2 Kings. His conclusion? “I really wouldn’t want to be a king of Israel! They had a very short lifespan. One was only king for eight days!”
They chased after sex. They chased after pleasure. They chased after power. Wholly unrestrained, they allowed unchecked whims to guide them ever further from God. Their rulers were devoured by this behavior. And they would be too.
2. Believers need self control, a fruit of the Spirit – Lust is one of many powerful passions. Desire for power and pleasure are others (1 John 2:16). When we come to Christ we must walk by the Spirit and not by the flesh. That means surrendering control of even our thoughts to God. You should not let your thoughts control you, but you should control them. How is this possible? How can you control your thoughts?
- Feed your mind the right content. If you fill your mind with godly things it is natural that more time will be spend thinking of these things. But if you fill your mind with junk, then that is what you think about.
- Philippians 4:8. Meditate on pure and noble things. Proactively think about things that are edifying.
- Think about what you are thinking about. Evaluate your own thoughts. When a lustful thought just pops into your mind, then you need to think “this is wrong” and intentionally divert your mind from this.
- Pray. When a wrong thought enters you mind immediately take it to God in prayer. Don’t go down the rabbit hole by allowing a wrong thought process to take hold and lead your thinking.
- Sing. When a sinful thought enters your mind, change your thought’s directions by singing a praise song.
Application: You have to rewire your brain, to train yourself into different thought patterns by being very intentional and seeking help from the Spirit. Our brains are kind of like paths for water. Water flows in the path of least resistance. It will naturally flow toward well worn grooves, just as your thoughts will go along well worn paths. You have to intentionally divert that water (thought) by blocking destructive pathways and carving out new edifying pathways.
III. The nation’s time is short but they don’t know it (8-16)
- What does it mean in verse 8 that Ephraim “mixes himself with the peoples?”
- In what ways do believers wrongly “mix with the peoples” today?
- What does it mean in verse 9 that “gray hairs are sprinkled upon him and he knows it not?”
- In what way is Ephraim silly (11)?
- What was keeping God from redeeming them (13)?
- What do you think was causing their wailing and gnashing in verse 14?
- What was the problem of their speech in verse 16?
- What lessons can you learn about God’s character in this chapter?
- What is the appropriate response to what we have learned?
- Write down one way you obey what you have learned in this chapter this week?
Isaiah 52:11 – Depart, depart, go out from there; touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of her; purify yourselves, you who bear the vessels of the Lord.
2 Corinthians 6:17 – Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you.
Ephesians 5:11 – Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
Romans 12:2 – Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Isaiah 55:6 – Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near.
1. Ephraim mixes himself with peoples –
Leviticus 20:26 – You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.
God had commanded His people to be set apart, holy. Commands like the above can be found throughout the Old Testament. The people were not supposed to intermarry with the peoples of the land (Deuteronomy 7:3). Even the food laws given by God were partially intended to keep them separate from other peoples who did not eat the same things as they did. God knew that the peoples in the land were wicked and would lead His people astray.
He wanted the Israelite nation to be an example of holiness, a light to shine to the nations. Instead they mixed with the nations and became like them. They lost their testimony. The light was quenched. They were like the New Testament reference to salt which loses its flavor (Matthew 5:13-20).
God calls us to be holy. We are to be set apart. We must not be conformed to this world. Instead we should shine the light of Christ, attracting people to the truth of the gospel.
Application: What are some ways that Christians “mix with the peoples?” What are some examples of things worldly people do that we should not? Since we called as ambassadors to win the world for Christ how can we balance the mission to win the world (meaning we can’t isolate ourselves), with the command to be different?
2. Verse 9 – “Strangers devour his strength and he knows it not; gray hairs are sprinkled upon him, and he knows it not.” This statement brings to mind the story of the King with No Clothes. Parading around with immense pride in himself, he was the only one who didn’t realize his own shame. The Israelites were like this. They proudly indulged in their own sin. All the while the clock was ticking toward their demise and they didn’t notice.
The nation was growing weak and old. Its foundation was crumbling. It was rotten to the core. The end creeping closer. In spite of loud warnings from God’s prophets their blissful ignorance blocked out anything that might have waken them up from their stupor.
It is not difficult to make a comparison to Western Civilization. Many countries which were once Christian are proudly abandoning their beliefs. Like the King with No Clothes they are parading around in their new found “woke” state. But the clock is ticking.
3. The pride of Israel testifies to his face – God sent many prophets who warned them of their conduct. In their pride, they spurned it. Pride goes before the fall.
4. Ephraim is like a silly dove with without sense – Israel turned to Assyria and Egypt for help. But these nations could not help them. The root problem was a spiritual one and only God could heal them.
5. Verses 12 – Even while they are seeking help from other sources, God was going to cast a net over them. Interestingly, God actually used Assyria (the one they turned to for help) to bring upon them His judgment. The very one they sought help from was the very one who destroyed them
Earthly wisdom only brought about disaster, but heavenly wisdom brings a harvest of righteousness (James 4:13-18).
6. Verses 13-16 – In these verses the rebellion of the Israelites is described in great vivid detail:
- They have strayed.
- They have rebelled against Me.
- They do not cry to Me from their hearts.
- They wail on their beds.
- They turn away from Me.
- They devise evil against Me.
- They are like a deceitful bow.
- They have an insolent tongue.
The main point of the whole chapter can be summed up: God is going to judge the Israelites for their rebellion Every person who rejects God and Jesus His Son will likewise face judgment. Therefore the main application from this passage can be summed up: sincerely seek the Lord and repent of your sins to receive salvation!
God’s patience will not last forever. The world’s sins pile up to heaven. We must each seek God’s mercy while we still can.
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