READ: Hosea 11-14
THINK: Have you ever seen a loving father teaching his toddler to walk, both he and child with arms outstretched, little fingers wrapped around big ones, and both faces equally anxious and increasingly excited with each new step? It's difficult to imagine that child growing up to reject the loving father, but that's the picture in this passage. The Lord had loved, cared for and led His people with kindness and compassion. He had been both a Father who guided them and a Physician who healed them, but now they had drifted so far from Him that they didn't even remember what He had done for them. We must never forget the love God has shown by saving us from sin and giving us a personal relationship with himself-and those blessings are just the beginning of an eternal life with Him.
RESPOND: What word picture does God give in 11:1-4 regarding His relationship with Israel, and why is it hard to believe that the nation would reject and forget God? (See 11:2-4 note.) What does 11:8 reveal about God's heart for spiritually lost people? (See 11:8 note.) In what ways are God's responses to people more gracious and compassionate than people's responses (11:9)? Through whom had God warned His people in the past (12:10), and how had these messengers been treated? What kinds of behaviors brought spiritual death to the Israelites (13:2)? (See 13:2 note.) What progression toward sin does 13:6 describe, and why must we be careful of this tendency? (See 13:6 note.) What does it mean that God would "redeem them from death" (13:14), and how has He done this for us? (See 13:14 note.) What did people need to acknowledge to receive God's forgiveness (14:1-3), and how could they prove their sincerity? (See 14:1-2 note.) What's God's promise to those who humbly endure His discipline (14:4-7)? (See 14:4-7 note.) What does Hosea's final verse say about those who are truly wise and righteous? (See 14:9 note.)
PRAY: Give God thanks for being a loving Father, and for teaching you to walk spiritually. Pray that you'll respond to others with godly attitudes and actions and that you'll have compassion toward those who don't know Christ. Praise Jesus for His ultimate victory over death.
ACT: Make a deliberate effort to treat everyone you encounter as Jesus would. Respond to them with His patience, kindness and compassion rather than reacting with your own emotions.
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