What does the book of Hosea have to do with teens and relationships? Teens often make relationships an idol in competition with God. In reality, every human heart is an idol factory committing spiritual adultery against God. Hosea’s life reflects the nation of Israel. God told Hosea to marry an adulterous wife. Hosea was to model God’s redeeming love for Israel, who was also unfaithful. Throughout the book there are numerous word pictures describing Israel’s spiritual unfaithfulness, like: A promiscuous wife (1:2, 2:2-3); A self-serving mother (2:3-5); A stubborn heifer (4:16); A sick person going to a bad doctor (5:13); A morning mist that disappears (6:4); An ungrateful son (11:1-5); A child lacking wisdom (13:13).

The point is to show how Israel had forgotten and ignored God. Israel was the Lord’s bride but she had whored herself to others. Spiritually speaking this was idolatry. The popular god was Baal. Baal was known as a god of fertility. He was to have power over the weather and agricultural productivity. Baal worship was often characterized sexual conduct, drunkenness, mutilation, human sacrifice and the likes. At such temples, persons could “worship” by selecting a prostitute saying “I beseech the goddess of Astarte to favor you and Baal to favor me”(ESV Study Bible). In other words, as one responds in sexual production so shall the gods give fertile seed and weather for productive crops. Israel was God’s chosen people to dwell among and bless. Yet, they forsook him. Hosea shows that though God will judge sin he also desires reconciliation.

God sees every teen and wants them to know and experience his amazing love. Because teens are highly relational they are often consumed with thinking and acting in ways for the opposite sex. They may go so far as to make the other person the center of their attention and world. YET, there is no one who will love you like Jesus. Jesus is faithful. Jesus is fulfilling. Jesus is forgiving. God told Israel that they would replace the name of this idol with a face to face, intimate relationship with the living God (2:16). Just as Hosea had to see that God’s love is far different than human love, we too must embrace God’s love and place Him above every other love in our life. Teen dating simply does not measure to God’s forever love.

· Do you think that teens “need” to date? How can this become an all consuming trap?
· Why do you think most teen relationships not last?
· What does Dave mean when he says “every human heart is an idol factory committing spiritual adultery against God”?
· How do you know when another person is becoming an idol you worship? Who can you ask to hold you accountable for when you are making this mistake?
· How does Jesus saying “ILYM” impact dating relationships for teens?
· What will you commit to doing to grow in a relationship with God? Seriously, are you really going to do what you say?

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