Inside Story: The Second-Hand Church
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Image © James Work from GoodSalt.com

Pamela Obero sat beside her mud house in Kenya and listened to the preacher’s sermon over the loudspeaker.

Image © James Work from GoodSalt.com

She was curious about the Seventh-day Adventist meetings being held on a nearby vacant lot, though she belonged to another church.

The messages touched Pamela’s heart, and at times she felt that the speaker talked directly to her. So on Sabbath morning she took her five children to the meetings instead of to her own church. When the [...]

02: Love and Judgment: God’s Dilemma – Thought Starters
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“But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always” (Hosea 12:6, NIV)

Image © Linda Lovett from GoodSalt.com

[Thought questions for Love and Judgment: God's Dilemma April 10, 2013]

1. The senseless doves. Does it seem fair for God to compare his wayward Old Testament children to ignorant doves? Is God exaggerating when He uses language like this? Is God’s New Testament church in any way like the people of God in Hosea’s day? [...]

Thursday: Healed, Loved, and Nurtured
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Image © Janet Hyun from GoodSalt.com

Some ancient scholars viewed the Lord, as revealed in the Old Testament,

Image © Janet Hyun from GoodSalt.com

as harsh and unforgiving, in contrast to Jesus, as revealed in the New. Why is that such a wrong conclusion? How does the message of Hosea 14 help to show just how wrong that conclusion is? What does this chapter reveal about God’s character and love for His people?

The last chapter of Hosea is a fitting climax to the message proclaimed by the prophet. It [...]

Wednesday: Compassion Stronger Than Anger
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Image © Janet Hyun from GoodSalt.com

“How can I give you up, O Ephraim?

Image © Janet Hyun from GoodSalt.com

How can I surrender you, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart is turned over within Me, all My compassions are kindled. I will not execute My fierce anger; I will not destroy Ephraim again. For I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath” (Hos. [...]

Prodigal and Prostitute
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Image © Pacific Press from GoodSalt.com

“Forgiving the unforgivable is hard. So was the cross: hard words,

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hard wood, hard nails.”
William S. Stoddard

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8

You probably remember a man named Ted Kaczynski – the Unabomber. He’s the man who used to send mail bombs to people he didn’t like. He’s been in jail now for many years, but this week I read something I [...]

02: Love and Judgment : God’s Dilemma – Teaching Plan
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Key Thought: Hosea reveals more of God’s love in the challenge of justice and judgment.

[Teaching Plan for Love and Judgment: God's Dilemma April 8, 2013]

1. Have a volunteer read Hosea 10:12,13.

A. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
B. How do we sow righteousness? Is this a call for kindness and social justice, or a call to spend more time in our relationship with God?
C. Personal Application: What “securities” [...]

Tuesday: A Toddling Son
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Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son. . . . I taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by their arms; but they did not know that I healed them.” (Hos. 11:1-3, NKJV).

Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

In these verses, Hosea is saying that the Lord’s way is like the tender care of a new parent. Just as a parent tenderly and patiently teaches a child to walk, taking it up [...]

Monday: A Trained Heifer
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Read Hosea 10:11-13.

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What message is the Lord giving to His people here? How do we understand the phrase, “until he comes and showers righteousness on you”? (NIV).

In Hosea 10, God’s child Ephraim is compared to a trained heifer who loves to thresh grain because she could eat as she threshed. Thus, instead of being productive, Israel’s existence had become self-centered. When God yokes Israel to work in open fields as the nation should, righteousness and kindness [...]

Sunday: Easily Deceived and Senseless
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Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com

“‘Ephraim is like a dove, easily deceived and senseless—now calling to Egypt, now turning to Assyria.

Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com

When they go, I will throw my net over them; I will pull them down like birds of the air. When I hear them flocking together, I will catch them’” (Hos. 7:11-12, NIV). Read these verses in context. What warning is being given here? What principle can we take from these verses for ourselves?

Ephraim was the name of the [...]

Whatever
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Image © Krieg Barrie from GoodSalt.com

Image © Krieg Barrie from GoodSalt.com

Have you seen it?  The head-bob and the eye-roll?  You, the adult, have just said something that your teen has deemed – uh, less than intelligent or, at least, not pertinent to his or her current life situation.  I hate to admit, though, that I have also performed that little operation as well.  Usually just in my head, though.

But what is it that makes “whatever” so incredibly infuriating?  Is it the palpable [...]

Sabbath: Love and Judgment: God’s Dilemma
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Read for This Week’s Study: Hos. 7:11-12, 10:11-13, Matt. 11:28-30, Rom. 5:8, 1 Pet. 2:24, Hosea 14.

Memory Text: “But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always” (Hosea 12:6, NIV).

Key Thought: Hosea reveals more of God’s love for His wayward people.

A common way in which biblical authors talk about God’s love relationship with His people is by using metaphors. A metaphor conveys something profound about a lesser known subject through something that is already known or familiar. Metaphors are symbols, used [...]

Further Study: Spiritual Adultery
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“As time went by, Hosea became aware of the fact that his personal fate was a mirror of the divine pathos, that his sorrow echoed the sorrow of God. In this fellow suffering as an act of sympathy with the divine pathos the prophet probably saw the meaning of the marriage which he had contracted at the divine behest. . . .

“Only by living through in his own life what the divine Consort of Israel experienced, was the prophet able [...]