Have you ever felt betrayed or abandoned by...
A favorite television show? A book ending?
An inanimate object?
Explain and explain how it felt.
Before you jump into discussion, you may want to watch the video linked in the “TO WATCH” section of this guide.
This week’s sermon was pretty heavy. Because of that, this week’s discussion questions are heavy too. Before you jump in, say a prayer that God would enable you to speak freely, to be vulnerable, and to welcome your brothers’ and sisters’ vulnerability with compassion and grace.
Were you familiar with the story of Hosea and Gomer before this Sunday (If your group members didn’t make it Sunday, have a member summarize the text)? How does this story sit with you? Does it make you uncomfortable at all? Is it surprising? Do you connect with it?
- What does Hosea teach us about who God is?
- How do you feel about God after reading Hosea’s prophecy?
- What do you realize about yourself after reading Hosea’s story?
- Where do you see yourself in it?
Remember, there are no bad answers.
How does God’s response to Israel in Hosea affect you and your behavior/allegiance/faithfulness? If leaving makes God feel the way He does in Hosea, does that motivate you to stay? Why or why not?
Have you ever been unfaithful to God for a season? Take a minute to let members write an apology to God on an index card. This isn’t a request for forgiveness; likely you’ve received that already. Rather, have members identify one “season of leaving,” meditate on the pain that must have caused God and talk to Him in prayer about how He must have felt and the pain He must have endured. In this exercise our goal is to feel with God.
As you think about a time when you left God, think too about your return. What motivated you to come back? How were you received by God?
Are you currently tempted to be unfaithful to God, your Master? Do you feel other things pulling at your heart, calling you to make gods of them (food, sports, approval, physical attractiveness or health...)? Share with your group. Let this be an opportunity for all of us to confess our temptations to be Gomer and to be encouraged by our spiritual family to stay close to God.
Next week we’ll have the opportunity to be baptized during worship. Do any of your group members have questions about baptism? Interest in being baptized? Group is a great time to discuss it!
Read Jeremiah 13:25-27.
- How does it feel to be God in this passage? Use as many emotion words as you can to describe His temperament.
- How does God as jilted lover strike you? Is God’s reaction surprising or confusing or maybe embarrassing? Share what you’re feeling and thinking.
Who do you know who needs to come home to God? Make a list and pray over those people. Thank God for His love and grace, for promising to receive us ever after we leave.
Maybe tonight you could pray for God. Sounds weird, but before you dismiss it, consider telling God how sorry you are that He has to carry these burdens--our sin, our unfaithfulness, our pain. Talk to Him as you’d talk to someone you love who’s hurting.
Have you spent much time studying the book of Hosea? If not, consider this cool, illustrated, well-made summary of the book and what God’s trying to teach us in it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kE6SZ1ogOVU