Welcome! Today in our Christian Religious Studies lesson, we will be looking at the topic ” Divine Love”. Do have a great time studying with us!
Topic: Divine Love
Learning Objectives: by the end of the lesson, the learners should be able to :
- Narrate the story of Hosea’s marital experiences;
- Compare the unfaithfulness of Homer (Hosea’s wife) with that of Is real to God;
- Recognise God’s steadfast love for Is real and all human beings despite our unfaithfulness;
- Discuss the need to respond positively to God’s love through penitence.
The love of God (Hosea 1,2,3,4)
Hosea is generally referred to as prophet of love. All his messages centered is on the love God has for the people of Israel in spite of their unfaithfulness. His marital experience acted as a practical input to his message of love. God commanded Hosea to:
“Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry, for the land commission great harlotry by forsaking the Lord”. (Hosea 1:2)
Hosea married Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim and she conceived and bore a son. God instructed him to call his name Jezreel which means God will ournish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel and will put an end to the Kingdom of the house of Israel (Hosea 1:4). Homer conceived again and bore him a daughter named ” Not Pitied” meaning God will no longer have pity on the house of Israel. She conceived the third time and bore him a son named “Not my people” for you are not my people and I am not your God.
After she had given birth to these children, Homer abandoned Hosea and ran after her lovers. Out of love, Hosea implored with her to come back but she refused. Hosea sent the children bro plead with her, but all was to no avail. Gomer was very much interested in the material things she would get from her lovers. In spite of Homer’s unfaithfulness and disappointment, Hosea’s love for her still persisted
Hosea’s marital experience was synonymous with the relationship between God and Israelstill Hosea, in his message, showed God as Israel’s husband and Israel as an unfaithful wife. As the husband, God had shown a lot of love to the Israelites right from the time he delivered them out of the bondage of Eqypt with a lot of signs and wonders. He established a covenant with them to be their God and they would be his people. Israel had never been faithful in keeping the Lord’s commandment, ordinances, and statutes. They indulged in sin, running after other gods such as Baal just as the harlot would run after her lovers.
As Hosea sent his children to appeal to their mother to come back but she refused, he had no option than to divorce Gomer. The same way, God had sent numerous prophets to appeal to the Israelites to change from their evil ways but all appeal was in vain. In this case, God would have no option than to divorce Israel through military might, although God’s love for Israel still persists. Despite their unfaithfulness, God still hopes to see if they would repent and come back to him. Then he would be their God and they would be His people.
The Significance Of Hosea’s Marital Experience
- God chose Israel as His people, He loved them and established a covenant with them, but Israel had never been faithful bro God. They were always forsaking God to worship other gods. Thereby, playing the role of a harlot in the relationship with God, just like Gomer, Hosea’s wife did.
- As Hosea tried to persuade his wife to come back, God, playing the role of a husband to Israel, had tried to persuade the Israelites to come back to Him through the prophets He sent to them in the past to warn them to turn from their evil ways and come back to Him.
- Hosea’s marital experience shows God’s love for Israel. God was like a husband to the Israelites. As a husband would be jealous to see his wife running after other men, God was not happy to see the Israelites forsake Him to worship other gods.
- As a husband would naturally divorce an unfaithful wife, so God threatened to divorce Israel by raising a nation that would defeat Israel and take them away into captivity.
- In spite of the unfaithfulness of the Israelites, God’s love still persisted. He provided for their needs and still promised them future glory and the unity of Israel and Judah.
- God’s love endures forever. In spite of the unfaithfulness of the Israelites, once they repented genuinely, God was ever ready to take them back to Himself.
Names of Hosea’s Children And the significance of the names in our society.
The names of Hosea’s children have been explained earlier. Hosea gave his children these names based on the instructions he received from God. In the same way, in our society, names parents give to their children often indicates the circumstances surrounding their birth. Names in most cases points to the position of the title held by the parents at the time if birth. Names at times express the desire of the parents I.e. what they wanted their children to be.
Names too are often given in remembrance of the ancestors. Names determine the position of the child in the family or commemoration of important events in the family or village. Finally, names indicates ethnic, tribal or religious identity.
Man’s Response to God’s love (Hosea 6:1-11, 14)
God genuinely loves man. He is faithful to man in all forms. He made a lot of provisions for man to enjoy. Man, on his part, is not faithful. Many people pretended as if they love God but their relationship with God is calculative. They only go to God when they feel they have a problem, just to know whether God would solve the problem or not. Some even make vows and pledge to God. Once God solves the problem, they would not only default in paying the vows, but they would go back to their sinful life styles. This was the case with the Israelites. Majority of them did not have genuine love for God in their mind. They only pretended to have avert any punishment from God. The following Bible portion portrays their attitude and motives;
“Come let us return to the Lord, for he has sworn that he may heal us; he has stricken, and he will bind us up. After two days, he will receive us; on the third day, he will raise us up, that we, may live before him. Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord”( Hosea 6:1-3).
No man can trick God. God is a spirit and whoever that worships Him must worship Him in truth and in spirit. Apparently, God knew the wickedness of their hearts. This was the reason why He made it clear what He needed from them as could be seen in the following Bible portion;
” For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6)
The people thought that they can win God on their side by numerous offerings, sacrifices which are nothing before God, without righteousness and holiness. The Bible says without righteousness and holiness, no man can see God. This is the basic truth that transcends every other thing. Let us forsake our evil ways and follow the ways of the Lord.
Moral Lessons To Learn From The Topic
- Many Christians today, in their relationship with God, play the role of a harlot. God is faithful to them but they are not faithful to God.
- Many are in the church, not because they love God but because of material gain. Once they get it, they forsake God.
- Once people forsake God, God forsakes them too and calamity takes over their lives, just as the Israelites went into captivity because they forsook their God.
- Christians cannot use tithe and offerings to appease God. What God requires from His children is steadfast love and faithfulness.
- People should therefore have genuine repentance and come back to God; He is ever ready to forgive and take them back.
Done studying? Use the following questions to assess your learning on the lesson topic.
- Describe Hosea’s marital experience on how it demonstrates God’s love for Israel (SSCE June, 1997)
- In what ways did the actions of the Israelites show unfaithfulness to God?
- In what ways do many Christians in Nigeria respond to God’s love?
- Mention the names of Hosea’s Children and explain the meaning of each of the names.
Did you answer those questions correctly? Bravo!!
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