Hosea, Prophet to Israel

By | February 28, 2015

We have learned that because of the sin of Solomon, the Kingdom of Israel was divided into the Northern Kingdom and Southern Kingdom. The Northern Kingdom was known as Israel and the Southern Kingdom was known as Judah. The Northern Kingdom was comprised of ten tribes, one of which was Ephraim.

Manasseh and Ephraim were the sons of Joseph. When Joseph died, Jacob adopted Manasseh and Ephraim as his own, thus making them two of the tribes of Israel. The tribe of Ephraim was known for complaining against both the judges of Gideon and Jephthah. The conflict with Gideon ended peacefully, but the conflict with Jephthah resulted in the death of 42,000 Ephraimites. The tribe of Ephraim, led by Jeroboam, led the revolt resulting in a divided kingdom and Jeroboam becoming the first king of the Northern Kingdom.

Hosea, as well as other prophets, commonly refer to the Northern Kingdom as Ephraim. This is a reflection of the fact that Ephraim was the most powerful of the tribes in the Northern Kingdom. Keep this in mind during today’s Scripture reading.

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Review:  Last week we were introduced to the prophet Amos. God gave Amos a vision of how He was going to destroy Israel because they worshipped false gods and ignored God’s commands. God showed Amos in the vision that He was going to send locusts and fire—but Amos begged God not to send the locusts and the fire, because the punishment would be too great. God then gave Amos a vision of a plumb line that He used to show that Israel did not measure up to His standard. Even though the book of Amos is filled with judgment against Israel, God did not leave them without hope.

 

What was God’s promise to Israel? One day Israel would be restored and returned to the land that God promised them many years before

 

Scripture Reading: Amos 7:1–16 and Amos 9:11–15.  ****Reading God’s Word is the most important part of family worship. If you don’t have time to do anything else, be sure to do this section.


Talk:   God instructed Hosea to marry Gomer even though she would be unfaithful and love others. In chapters 1–3 of Hosea, God is using Hosea’s life to symbolize Israel’s unfaithfulness to Him and what was going to happen to the people of Israel because of their sin.

Gomer and Hosea had three children. The first was a son named Jezreel. By giving him that name, God was saying that He was going to punish the reigning dynasty that had rebelled against His purpose and His plan. Later, two more children were born.

 

  • What were the names of the other two children and what did their names mean?

Lo-Ruhamah means God will no longer show His love to Israel. Lo-Ammi means that God will no longer call Israel His people.

The prophet, Hosea, tells Israel why God is so upset with them. Hosea says there were three things that Israel was not doing and seven things they were doing.

  • What was Israel not doing that they should have been doing? (see Hosea 4:1)

Israel had no faithfulness, no love, and no acknowledgement of God. What was Israel doing that they should not have been doing? (4:2) Israel was cursing, lying, murdering, stealing, committing adultery, breaking all bounds, and causing bloodshed.

  • What warning does Hosea give the Israelites? (9:7–9)

Hosea warns Israel that because their sins are so many and their hostility is so great against God’s prophets, “God will remember their wickedness and punish them for their sin.”

  • From the names God gave to Hosea’s children, we know that He is telling Israel that He has disowned them. How is the message in chapter 11 different than the message in chapter 1?

Chapter 1 was a vivid description of God’s anger and coming punishment against Israel. Chapter 11 is filled with God’s compassion and love for Israel as a father loves his child. God is filled with sorrow because of the actions of Israel.

  • What does Hosea tell Israel to do in order to once again receive God’s blessing?

(14:1–2) “Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God . . . Say to him, ‘Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously’.”

  • If Israel follows the advice of Hosea, what will be God’s response?

(14:4) “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them.”

  • Hosea 14:9 says, “The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them.” God is good and wants to lead us in the right direction because He loves us. God did a wonderful thing because He loves us so much: He sent His son, Jesus. Romans 5:8 tells us that even while we were still sinners, Jesus died for us. God still loved Israel even though they were sinning and had not turned to Him. Just as God told Israel that He would forgive them if they returned to Him, God will forgive us.

 

 

Pray: Using Romans 5:8, give God praise for His love. Thank God that we do not have to try and earn His love. Ask God

 

Do: Family Night – Ahead of time, cut out the Prophets pictures and staple them together to make a booklet. Answer the following questions and write your answers inside the prophet image of Hosea.

  1. What message did God have for His people?
  2. What judgment did God say He would send upon His people? 3. How did the people react?
  3. Was there any good news for the people?

Keep the booklet to answer the questions about each of the prophets as we study each one over the next few weeks. Amos is already completed for you.

(Vista Dublin lesson March 1st,  Vista Worthington lesson March 15th) 

Amos, Prophet to Israel | Amos 1-9

By | February 22, 2015

Can you recite the books of the Bible? Maybe you learned a song that helped you remember the order of the books. The song comes in handy when you need to locate a specific book of the Bible. What you may not be aware of, though, is that the order in which the books are arranged is not entirely chronologically correct— they aren’t all placed in the Bible in the order that they were written or in the order that the events recorded there occurred. That does not mean that the content of the books is inaccurate or was not inspired by God. Every word of the Bible is from God. In 2 Peter 1:21 we read, “For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

Scholars of the English Bible arranged the books according to subject categories. For example, all of the prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, etc.) were arranged together.

As we turn to the book of Amos this week, we can understand it better if we know that the events recorded

in Amos took place at the same time as the events in 2 Kings, which is found much earlier in the Old Testament. Amos is giving the prophecy from God to the nation of Israel during the reign of Jeroboam, recorded in 2 Kings.

We learned in 2 Kings 17 that God was done being patient with Israel and that they were going to be exiled from their country. Amos is the prophet that delivered the bad news to Israel.

Review : Last week, we learned how the Northern Kingdom, Israel, continuously sinned against God. They worshipped other gods and built high places to worship their false gods. As a result, God had run out of patience with them. “So the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence” (2 Kings 17:18).

What was the result of Israel’s continuous sin against God? They were taken captive and deported to Assyria

Scripture Reading: Amos 7:1–16 and Amos 9:11–15.

Reading God’s Word is the most important part of family worship. If you don’t have time to do anything else, be sure to do this section.

Memory Verse: Jonah 4:2b: “I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.”

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The first chapter of Amos talks about God’s judgment against the nations surrounding Israel. At first, Israel felt good about Amos’ message because they felt that the other nations deserved God’s judgment.

 

  • How often do we look at what other people are doing wrong instead of looking at our own hearts? Are we happy when someone gets punished?

Take this time to talk about accountability for our own actions and judging other people. Using this week’s memory verse, discuss God’s compassion and His great love to all people, and His desire to not send His judgment.

 

  • Amos 2:4 states the reason that Israel will be judged. What was the reason?

They rejected the law of the Lord and have not kept His decrees; they worshipped false gods.

  • Amos was given visions by God as to how God was going to send His judgment against Israel. What were the first two visions showing?

God was going to send locust to devour the land; God was going to send fire to consume the land.

  • Why did God not send the locusts or the fire?

Amos begged God not to send them; that the punishment would be too great. Moses had done the same thing for Israel many times in the desert.

  • How did King Jeroboam react to Amos’ message?

He told Amos to leave Israel and go back home to Judah. The hearts of the people were not willing to listen. How does your heart react when you have been corrected or disciplined? Do you admit your mistake and ask forgiveness, or do you refuse to listen to what God is trying to teach you?

  • Although God’s message to Israel was one of despair, the book of Amos ends with a word of hope for Israel. What was God’s promise to Israel?

One day Israel would be restored and returned to the land that God promised them many years before.

 

Pray:   Using handwritten chain links, confess to God the ways you sin against Him. Ask God to help you to have a heart willing to receive discipline and change your ways so that you can be restored to Him. Give thanks to God for loving you so much that He desires you to be in fellowship with Him.

 

 

Do:

Materials: a handheld mirror

Invite each family member to take a long look in the handheld mirror. Ask family members to put the mirror down and then describe what they look like in as much detail as they can. See who can describe the most features without looking back in the mirror.

Read Colossians 1:19-20. Say: “Jesus is the earthly representation of God. The Bible shows us through Jesusʼ life what God is like. When we read about Jesus and how He never sinned, we know how God wants us to live.”

Remind your kids that Amos was a shepherd and a farmer. Ask your kids to tell what they want to be when they grow up. Affirm their choices and tell them that no matter what God leads them to do, He also wants them to tell other people about Jesus Christ.

 

(Vista Dublin lesson February 22nd and Vista Worthington lesson March 8th)

Family Resources for Lent

By | February 21, 2015

The season of Lent has begun! This Christian tradition started on Ash Wednesday (February 18th) and ends on Holy Saturday (April 4th) – the day before Easter Sunday.

The 40 days of Lent (Sundays are not counted in the 40 days, because Sunday is the day of resurrection) reflect the 40 days that Christ was tempted in the desert, and are a time of preparation for Easter. The focus of Lent is on self-denial, sacrifice, and simplicity; a time when Christians reflect on all that Christ “gave up” by dying on the cross. Many Christians use this time for fasting and prayer; as a period of spiritual reflection, soul-searching, and renewal, and many choose to “give up” something as a personal sacrifice during this period.  The Holy Spirit ministers to our souls and changes our hearts… but our part is not passive! Do we cultivate the disciplines (like solitude, fasting and prayer) that put the plow to the ground for the Spirit to work? Having spent the first part of 2015 growing as Worshipful, Relational and Missional people through our “Kingdom DNA” series, let’s plant some seeds of discipline to allow the Spirit to grow us and our families into more of who He’s made us to be — fruitful followers of Jesus!

Below are some wonderful resources for families to participate together:

  • Sense of the Resurrection -12 activities leads families through Jesus’ anointing to the empty tomb – Please email Melinda Woody for more information.
  • Recreate the Passover meal – Help children experience the Passover meal that Christ partook with his disciples as the last supper
  • Easter tree – Similar to a Jesse tree at Christmas time, the Easter tree is a fun way for kids to celebrate and learn about the different aspects of the Easter story by placing symbolic ornaments on a homemade tree.
  • Give up something – Lent is a time of sacrifice. Have each member of the family choose something they will give up during the season of Lent. Some suggestions: television, chocolate, a favorite toy, computer games, certain music.
  • Make Resurrection Rolls. This is a favorite activity for my kids! Marshmallows represent Jesus’ body going into the “tomb” of crescent rolls. When they come out of the oven, Jesus’ body (the marshmallow) is gone!
  • Act out the Resurrection Story, or Passion Play, as a family.

Share with us how your family is participating in Lent together.  We would love to hear and see the pictures.

Don’t forget about other opportunities to be together as a family.

Mid-40 days reflective gatherings

Vista Dublin: Wed., March 4, 6 – 8 p.m. Come and go as you please | Dublin Rec. Center

Vista Worthington: Wed., March 11, 7 p.m. Griswold Center ~child care provided for gatherings

Easter Sunday Services  Sunday, April 5th

Vista Dublin: 9 & 11 a.m. at Dublin Jerome High School

Vista Worthington: 9:45 a.m. at Marcus Theatres

Lent 101

By | February 17, 2015

Lent is a season of the Christian Year where Christians focus on simple living, prayer, and fasting in order to grow closer to God.

 

When is Lent?

It’s the forty days before Easter. Lent excludes Sundays because every Sunday is like a little Easter. This year it’s from Ash Wednesday February 18th to Holy Saturday April 4th.

 

So the real beginning of Lent is Ash Wednesday?

Yes. Ash Wednesday, the day after Mardi Gras, usually begins with a service where we recognize our mortality, repent of our sins, and return to our loving God. We recognize life as a precious gift from God, and return our lives towards Jesus Christ. We may make resolutions and commit to change our lives over the next forty days so that we might be more like Christ. In an Ash Wednesday service, usually a minister or priest marks the sign of the cross on a person’s forehead with ashes.

 

Why ashes?

In Jewish and Christian history, ashes are a sign of mortality and repentance. Mortality, because when we die, our bodies eventually decompose and we become dust/ dirt/ash/whatever. Repentance, because long ago, when people felt remorse for something they did, they would put ashes on their head and wear “sackcloth” (scratchy clothing) to remind them that sin is pretty uncomfortable and leads to a sort of death of the spirit. This was their way of confessing their sins and asking for forgiveness.

 

Where do the ashes come from?

On what we now call Palm Sunday, Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem while people waved palms and cheered him on. Less then a week later, Jesus was killed. The palms that were waved in joy became ashes of sorrow. We get ashes for Ash Wednesday by saving the palms from Palm Sunday, burning them, and mixing them with a little water (like tears) or oil. It’s symbolic.

 

What do Christians do with ashes?

At an Ash Wednesday service, folks are invited to come forward to receive the ashes. The minister will make a small cross on your forehead by smudging the ashes. While the ashes remind us of our mortality and sin, the cross reminds us of Jesus’ resurrection (life after death) and forgiveness. It’s a powerful, non-verbal way that we can experience God’s forgiveness and renewal as we return to Jesus.

 

So what is LENT?

At Jesus’ baptism the sky split open, the Spirit of God, which looked like a dove, descended and landed on Jesus, and a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, My Beloved, with whom I am pleased.” Afterward, as told in Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus was sent into the wilderness by the Spirit. Where he fasted and prayed for 40 days. During his time there he was tempted by Satan and found clarity and strength to resist temptation. Afterwards, he was ready to begin his ministry.

 

Why “DO” Lent? How do I start?

Are you searching for something more? Tired of running in circles, but not really living life with direction, purpose or passion? It’s pretty easy to get caught up in the drama of classes, relationships, family, and work. Our lives are filled with distractions that take us away from living a life with Christ. We try to fill the emptiness inside us with mindless TV, meaningless chatter, stimulants, alcohol, too many activities or other irrelevant stuff. We run away from life and from God.

Lent is a great time to “repent” — to return to God and re-focus our lives to be more in line with Jesus. It’s a 40 day trial run in changing your lifestyle and letting God change your heart. You might try one of these practices for Lent:

 

  • FASTING: Some people have been known to go without food for days. But that’s not the only way to fast. You can fast by cutting out some of the things in your life that distract you from God. Some Christians use the whole 40 days to fast from candy, tv, soft drinks, cigarettes or meat as a way to purify their bodies and lives. You might skip one meal a day and use that time to pray instead. Or you can give up some activity like worry or reality tv to spend time outside enjoying Gods creation. What do you need to let go of or “fast” from in order to focus on God? What clutters your calendar and life? How can you simplify your life in terms of what you eat, wear or do?

 

  • SERVICE: Some Christians take something on for Christ. You can collect food for the needy, volunteer once a week to tutor children, or work for reform and justice in your community. You can commit to help a different stranger, co-worker or friend everyday of Lent. Serving others is one way we serve God.

 

  • PRAYER: Christians also use Lent as a time of intentional prayer. You can pray while you walk, create music or art as a prayer to God, or savor a time of quiet listening. All can be ways of becoming more in tune with God.

How will your family use the time to grow closer to God?  Over the next 40 days we will be sharing ways your family can participate in Lent together.

 

The Nothern Kingdom was Destroyed

By | February 14, 2015

The nation of Israel was familiar with captivity. They were slaves in Egypt for over four hundred years before God delivered them. Throughout their wilderness travels, they constantly turned their backs on God and worshipped idols. After entering the Promise Land, God sent judges to rescue them against enemies because they had turned against God. They had numerous kings that led them in doing evil in the eyes of the Lord. The Bible talks about God’s anger burning against the people, but He always forgave and rescued them when they repented and turned back to Him. Today’s story ends quite differently. God has been pushed too far, and a new phrase appears on the pages of 2 Kings…God ”removed them from his presence”. God has now turned His back on Israel. He will allow them to once again be taken into captivity.

Although Israel seemed to have no hope, God did promise that He would someday return Israel to their homeland (Isaiah 11:10-12). Even more importantly, God promised to send a Messiah. That promise was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. God turned His back on His own Son because of our sin, but then Jesus was raised from the dead, and the perfect sacrifice was given for us.

 

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 9.32.42 AMLast week we learned how God healed Naaman. Naaman, a valiant soldier in Aram’s army, had leprosy. A servant girl told him to go see Elisha for healing. Naaman was told to wash in the Jordan River seven times for healing. At first, Naaman refused, but his servants convinced him to obey. Naaman was com- pletely healed.

What did Naaman say after he was healed? “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel”

 

Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 17:1-23

Memory Verse: “Turn from your evil ways. Observe my commands and decrees in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your fathers to obey” 2 Kings 17:13b

 

 

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  1. Who was the king of Israel during this time? Was he good or evil?

King Hoshea did evil in the eyes of the Lord.

  1. What king attacked Israel?

Shalmaneser the king of Assyria.

  1. What did the king of Assyria do with the Israelites?

He took the Israelites captive and de ported them to Assyria.

  1. Reread verse 7; what does the Bible say is the reason Israel was taken captive? “All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God.”
  2. List some examples of things the Israelites did to sin against God.

They worshipped other gods; they secretly did things against the Lord; they built high places, set up sacred stones and Asherah poles, practiced witchcraft.

  1. God had warned all the nation of Israel against such evil practices, but they ignored God time and again. What phrase tells us that God had enough? (v 18-20)

“So the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence…the Lord rejected all the people of Israel.”

  1. The nation of Israel not only went against the Sinai covenant with God, but they also ignored the words of the prophets that God had sent to them as warnings. God describes them as stiff-necked people comparing them with stubborn oxen refusing to move when needed. Are you sometimes stiff-necked? Talk about things we do that would ignore God’s Words. What should we do right away when we have sinned against God?

 

PRAY:

Adoration: Praise God that He is the one and only true God.
Confession: Confess a specific time when you ignored God’s Word and did evil in His eyes. Thanksgiving: Offer thanks to God for His patience and forgiveness.
Supplication: Ask God to help keep the idols out of your life and to obey His Word.

 

DO:

True or False Wall Instructions

  1. Choose 2 opposite walls—label one as FALSE and the other as TRUE.
  2. Use the questions below to review the five lessons from this unit.
  3. Have everyone stand in the middle of the room.
  4. After reading a question, each person will run to the wall he thinks is the correct answer. 
Questions
  5. After the nation of Israel was divided, the Northern Kingdom had several kings that loved and obeyed the Lord. False—they did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord.
  6. King Ahab was married to Queen Jezebel. True
  7. The prophet Samuel challenged King Ahab and the prophets of Baal. False—Elijah challenged.
  8. Israel was guilty of worshipping Baal. True
  9. Queen Jezebel threatened to kill Elijah. True
  10. On Mt. Carmel, Elijah poured oil on the sacrifice. False—he poured water
  11. On Mt. Carmel, God proved He was real by sending fire from heaven. True
  12. Elijah was afraid of Queen Esther. False—it was Queen Jezebel
  13. Commander Naaman was cured of blindness. False—it was leprosy
  14. Naaman was told to wash in the Jordan River. True
  15. The last king of the Northern Kingdom was Ahab. False—it was Hoshea
  16. The prophet Elijah took the place of Elisha. False—Elisha replaced Elijah

 

(Vista Dublin lesson February 15th, Vista Worthington Lesson, March 1st)

 

 

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