Sunday School is a vital part of any ministry. In it one is able to experience a deeper knowledge of God’s Word. We here at “Word For Life Says” want to help you help others. Below you will find resources to help you prepare for your upcoming lessons. May God bless you!
January 17, 2016
“An Unfaithful Bride”
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Please Note: All lesson verses and titles are based on International Sunday School Lesson/Uniform Series ©2010 by the Lesson Committee, but all content/commentary written within is original to wordforlifesays.com unless properly quoted/cited. You are always encouraged to do your own personal studies as well. God bless you!
1) The word of the Lord that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.
2) The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea. And the Lord said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the Lord.
3) So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.
4) And the Lord said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.
5) And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel, in the valley of Jezreel.
6) And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.
7) But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the Lord their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.
8) Now when she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son.
9) Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.
10) Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.
11) Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.
In the beginning, after the rest of creation, God saw that it was not good for man to be alone and decided to design a companion compatible to him (Gen. 2:18). Out of that the idea of marriage was set forth where a man was commanded to “leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh,” (Gen. 2:24).
The two would come together to fill a void of love and loneliness through human companionship. Many in our day seek to marry for the same reason. They want to find that one special person to share their life with; one who eventually comes to know us sometimes better than our own parents. They become our best friends; our confidants.
Yes, we can always find love through God Himself, but let us remember that the idea of marriage began with God and He saw that it was not good to be without that special someone for us to link up with and share our life with.
This was and is God’s intent through marriage. To find that life-long person to partner up with and see each other through the thick and thins of life; for better or worse, if you will. They become so closely knit together that Adam in the beginning identified them as being of “one flesh,” (Gen. 2:24).
The intimacy was and is to be so great between the two that God took the role of marriage and applied it to His relationship with His people:
- “For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God,” (Isaiah 54:5-6).
- “’Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem: “This is what the LORD says: “‘I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the wilderness, through a land not sown,’” – (Jeremiah 2:2, NIV).
- “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion,” (Jeremiah 3:14).
- “And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies,” (Hosea 2:19).
. . . just to name a few.
This was and is considered a sacred union between husband and wife, and between God and His people. When something comes in to destroy and rob the sacredness of that pleasure of togetherness, God sets about correcting the situation.
This is where we find our studies in today’s lesson. The marriage relationship between God and His people had been defiled and corrupted through the worship of false gods. God used Hosea to illustrate in real life exactly what that looks like to him.
Some say a picture is worth a thousand words. I wonder how many words they can attribute to this real-life example that was lived out before them through this odd marriage. This illustration would no doubt be painful to Hosea as it had been to God in dealing with the unfaithfulness of His people. Yet, it was sure to get the people’s attention and get the point across.
God gives so many chances and by putting Hosea, his marriage, and his family on display God was giving them one last chance to get that point before He passed the judgment of the final sentence and allowed the Assyrian army (God’s present form of punishment at that time) to come and lay hold of the nation.
So with that, “the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD,” (Hosea 1:2). In essence, the command that Hosea was given was to marry someone who has been unfaithful and will continue to be unfaithful: a harlot (a prostitute). There is a lot of debate on whether or not she was a prostitute before she married Hosea or if she became wayward after the fact.
It really doesn’t matter in my opinion. The only thing that matters is that she was unfaithful; a “wife of whoredoms” according to what God already spoke and like it or not, she was going to be an object lesson they soon wouldn’t forget.
Not only would she be wanton and wayward, but her children would also be considered of “whoredoms.” They would be marked as being unfaithful and corrupted from the beginning. This is not the type of relationship anyone would willing seek after or enter in. But, God had a plan in it all. He had to show the people of the “land” the atrocities they have committed in “departing from the LORD.”
The people are accused of leaving their first love (as Revelation 2:4 put it). They have disobeyed God and broke the most important commandment of all which boldly, yet simply states, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” (Exodus 20:3).
Therefore, following God’s plan Hosea did exactly what he was asked of by God. We must stop right here and question ourselves and our faithfulness; our full devotion to God. Here, Hosea was asked to do the nearly impossible to illustrate unfaithfulness while he himself remained faithful in obeying what God asked of him.
A lot of people fill in the lines of what may have been going through Hosea’s mind, maybe some questioning he felt, and maybe some hesitation he had. But, the Bible doesn’t tell us any of that so I can’t say if he did or didn’t experience any or all of those feelings. But, what I can say is what the Word says. And, it says, “So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim,” (Hos. 1:3). Hosea obeyed God. His own devotion to God, which was completely uncharacteristic of everyone else around him, allowed him to squash whatever he may have been feeling and followed through on what was instructed.
Jesus once gave a parable of two sons who were both asked to do something for their father. The first said no but then eventually did his father’s will. In the meantime, the second said he would but didn’t follow through (read Matthew 21:28-32). Even though the first one initially didn’t want to the very fact that he did made him the obedient one. Hosea was an obedient follower of God, despite any misgivings; he followed through on His commands.
So, he took “Gomer” to be his wife and she “conceived, and bare him a son” which God instructed to give him the name “Jezreel” meaning “God sows.”
“Jezreel” was a place where much bloodshed had occurred. Ahab’s wicked wife Jezebel had an innocent man by the name of Naboth killed there because he refused to sell his vineyard to Ahab. It’s also the place where Jehu attacked and killed the line of Ahab of which he was anointed to do (see 2 Kings 9:7-8; 2 Chronicles 22:7). There too, Jehu killed the 42 princes of Judah (see 2 Chronicles 22:8 and 2 Kings 10:12-14). Jehu is also attributed to the killing of Ahaziah King of Judah.
When God says “vengeance is Mine” (see Deut. 32:35 and Rom. 12:19), that’s exactly what He means. God would repay and this firstborn son of Hosea would be a symbol of that.
Then Gomer, “conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him [Hosea], Call her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away,” (Hos. 1:6). The illustrations with each birth of each child seem to become more intense. First, “God sows.” God is going to repay. Now, we have before us a child whose name means “no mercy” toward that nation of Israel.
If one thing God is known for is His mercy toward His people. Some of our favorite Bible verses tell us, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need,” (Heb. 4:16); and, “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness,” (Lam. 3:22-23). And here, this child’s name means that God’s compassion for these sinful people has come to an end and they will find no more mercy with Him.
It makes me wonder how we would feel today if we heard those names pronounced over our nation. I personally don’t want to know. It was truly a horrible scenario playing out that was about to get much worse.
At the same time God said, “I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen,” (Hos. 1:7). From one of my favorite Bible stories that involve Sennacherib coming against Hezekiah and the people of Judah. During that siege, after laying out the threatening letters from the enemy before the Lord in prayer, God performed the miraculous in the middle of the night. 185,000 of the enemies soldiers were killed (see 2 Kings 19:34-35). God would spare Judah in the siege.
It wasn’t done with the help of man or his weapons – God did it! “And the LORD sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valour, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria . . .” (2 Chronicles 32:21).
Now for the worse (which I spoke of previously). When Gomer “had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son. Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God,” (Hos. 1:8-9). God was repaying. Then, there was to be no more mercy. Lastly, “ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.” That is the last thing that anybody, any nation, should ever want to hear God say. This was a proposed total write off for Israel.
The “marriage”/covenant relationship was broke between God and His people. They, like Gomer, had been an unfaithful bride, and God had had enough. His desire was for this illustration to really grasps the people’s attention and urge them toward repentance.
“Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God. Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel,” (Hosea 1:10-11).
The word “yet” brings with it a measure of hope in the midst of all this bad news. What once was spoken against them saying, “Ye are not my people,” shall be reversed, saying, “Ye are sons of the living God.”
This will all happened under the coming King; the “one head” that will gather together all the children of “Judah and Israel.” There will be no longer a divided kingdom of the northern and southern tribes. All will be united under the umbrella of the Messiah.
Restoration was coming. “For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king . . . Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days,” (Hos. 3:4-5). That king from David’s line would be Jesus Christ our Savior.
In Genesis 22:17 God promised Abraham, “That in blessing I will thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies.” In the above verses we see, as always, God holds true to His promises despite the unfaithfulness of His people.
Does this give them and us a license to sin? Absolutely not! Paul said, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1-2).
The repercussion they faced through years of rebellion was not worth it. And, it isn’t worth it for us either. That’s why we have the admonishment to be a faithful bride instead of an unfaithful bride.
When Christ comes back He’s coming for His bride who has made herself ready. Revelations 19:7-9 tells us, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” She is a faithful bride clothed in righteousness.
Hosea’s marriage to Gomer sends a strong message, not just for Israel then, but for us now, that God demands faithfulness from His people.
(Click here for PDF: An Unfaithful Bride Sunday School Lesson, or click print button below. Enjoy!)
Below you will find activities to support this week’s lesson. Enjoy!
Draw the Scene: An Unfaithful Bride Draw the Scene
Printable Puzzle: Unfaithfulness Breaks God’s Heart Puzzle (Print on cardstock or glue to construction paper to make a puzzle reminder of this week’s lesson. Have students color and cut out the pieces to put back together again. A puzzle is a sort of symbol of a broken heart that’s waiting for the pieces to be joined together again. Enjoy!)
Coloring Sheet: Unfaithfulness Breaks God’s Heart Coloring Sheet (The same as the puzzle above but without the lines. Use as a coloring sheet or for students to make a frame or plaque as a lesson reminder. Enjoy!)
How Many Words?: An Unfaithful Bride How Many Words
Memory Verse: An Unfaithful Bride Memory Verse
Ring crafts that can be used to symbolize the wedding ring and faithfulness for this lesson. Enjoy!
“How To Make Ring Crafts for Children” (Several styles and techniques to choose from. Enjoy!)
Below you will find Activities/Links/Resources for this week’s lesson. Enjoy!
“Hosea’s Children” (Scroll down to find a cartoon illustration and explanation of Hosea’s children. This would be good for younger students. Also, there’s more information on the study found here. Enjoy!)
“Printable Wedding Coloring Book” (A reminder for students of the importance Hosea’s wedding played in demonstrating faithfulness. Enjoy!)
“Live Your Life for God” (Games and Activities)
“Hangman”: This old game is excellent for lesson reinforcement. Simply print the worksheet from Printactivities.com, get your verses or phrases from the lesson you want to use or the students want to use with each other, play and enjoy! (A single hangman page can be found at Thetripclip.com. Enjoy!) (Great for memory verses!)
“Prophets” (Old Testament prophets in review for reading age children to understand. Enjoy!)
“Bible Baseball” (A great lesson review game. Enjoy!)
“Bible Verse Balloon Batting” (A great memory verse game. Enjoy!)