TiO 45 – The Art of Relationship – The Lost Art of Loyalty
The Main Idea
Loyalty is not just about the faithfulness of a beloved dog, it is expected in the relationships that we have with other people and with God.
Warm Up Questions: (Choose 1 or 2)
Q1: What kind of pet do you think is the most loyal? Which is the least?
Q2: How many customer loyalty cards do you have, either physical or online?
Q3: Can you think of a personal example of loyalty in your own life, either given or received? Tell that story.
Dig a Little Deeper
Loyalty is a good thing, it is something to be desired and something that God has told us we have to strive for in our relationships. We also call this faithfulness—the terms faithfulness and loyalty are used interchangeably throughout this study.
Read Proverbs 17:17, 19:22, 3:3, and 20:6
Loyalty is seen as a desirable thing. But, is loyalty just a “good” thing, something that is nice to be but really optional? The story of Hosea shows us how very important loyalty and faithfulness is: God used the life of Hosea the prophet as an object lesson to Israel, first to show the terrible effects of unfaithfulness but then to show the faithfulness of God and the call to his followers to be faithful.
Read Hosea chapter 1
Chapter 1 is divided into two major parts. The first part, 1:1-9, is an object lesson about unfaithfulness, but 1:10-11 speaks of a promise.
Q1: What are the characteristics of Hosea’s relationship to Gomer?
Q2: What does the relationship between Hosea and Gomer show us about God’s relationship between himself and the people of Israel?
Q3: Even in the middle of this horrible circumstance, at the end of Chapter 1 God makes a promise to Israel. What will be the result of the faithfulness of God and the repentance of Israel?
Read Hosea chapter 2
This chapter is divided into two major parts. The first part, 2:1-15 talks of the consequences of unfaithfulness and 2:16-23 talks of the consequence of repentance and a return to faithfulness.
Read Hosea chapter 3
Once again, we see faithfulness and unfaithfulness played out.
Q4: What was Hosea telling the people of Israel about faithfulness and unfaithfulness?
The story of Hosea and Gomer show clearly how God sees unfaithfulness and how his faithfulness both provides security for us and eventual blessing when we return from unfaithfulness to faithfulness.
Q1: How do you define faithfulness/loyalty?
Faithfulness is so much more than the sexual part of our relationships but tends to be seen as a yes/no sort of thing. However, Jesus told us that giving in to desire is seen as the same as committing the physical act of adultery.
Q2: In addition to faithfulness and loyalty in the sexual parts of our relationships with our current/future spouse, what are other examples of faithfulness in relationships and how do they play themselves out?
Q3: Does faithfulness/loyalty mean the same as 24/7/365 availability? If not, how do you remain faithful/loyal even when you are not always available to others?
Pray together that God would give you open hands, especially in those areas where you find it difficult to let go, and even with your chicken sandwiches.
The Depth (for optional study)
In this section we are providing an in-depth look into the scriptures that the message came out of. There are two critical steps in good interpretation of the Bible. First, we try to understand what the author meant when he wrote the words and how that would have been applied by the original audience. Second, we then take the principles that the original author was trying to get across to his audience and we apply those principles to our own lives. You may want to read some of these passages yourself and/or have people in your group read them together.
A friend loves at all times,
and kinsfolk are born to share adversity.
What is desirable in a person is loyalty,
and it is better to be poor than a liar.
Do not let loyalty and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good repute
in the sight of God and of people.
Many proclaim themselves loyal,
but who can find one worthy of trust?
Hosea Chapter 1
The word of the Lord that came to Hosea son of Beeri, in the days of Kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah of Judah, and in the days of King Jeroboam son of Joash of Israel.
When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take for yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.” So he went and took Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.
And the Lord said to him, “Name him Jezreel; for in a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. On that day I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.”
She conceived again and bore a daughter. Then the Lord said to him, “Name her Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer have pity on the house of Israel or forgive them. But I will have pity on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the Lord their God; I will not save them by bow, or by sword, or by war, or by horses, or by horsemen.”
When she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son. Then the Lord said, “Name him Lo-ammi, for you are not my people and I am not your God.”
Yet the number of the people of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which can be neither measured nor numbered; and in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children of the living God.” The people of Judah and the people of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head; and they shall take possession of the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel.
Hosea Chapter 2
Say to your brother, Ammi, and to your sister, Ruhamah.
Plead with your mother, plead—
for she is not my wife,
and I am not her husband—
that she put away her whoring from her face,
and her adultery from between her breasts,
or I will strip her naked
and expose her as in the day she was born,
and make her like a wilderness,
and turn her into a parched land,
and kill her with thirst.
Upon her children also I will have no pity,
because they are children of whoredom.
For their mother has played the whore;
she who conceived them has acted shamefully.
For she said, “I will go after my lovers;
they give me my bread and my water,
my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.”
Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns;
and I will build a wall against her,
so that she cannot find her paths.
She shall pursue her lovers,
but not overtake them;
and she shall seek them,
but shall not find them.
Then she shall say, “I will go
and return to my first husband,
for it was better with me then than now.”
She did not know
that it was I who gave her
the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and who lavished upon her silver
and gold that they used for Baal.
Therefore I will take back
my grain in its time,
and my wine in its season;
and I will take away my wool and my flax,
which were to cover her nakedness.
Now I will uncover her shame
in the sight of her lovers,
and no one shall rescue her out of my hand.
I will put an end to all her mirth,
her festivals, her new moons, her sabbaths,
and all her appointed festivals.
I will lay waste her vines and her fig trees,
of which she said,
“These are my pay,
which my lovers have given me.”
I will make them a forest,
and the wild animals shall devour them.
I will punish her for the festival days of the Baals,
when she offered incense to them
and decked herself with her ring and jewelry,
and went after her lovers,
and forgot me, says the Lord.
Therefore, I will now allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.
From there I will give her her vineyards,
and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she shall respond as in the days of her youth,
as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.
On that day, says the Lord, you will call me, “My husband,” and no longer will you call me, “My Baal.” For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be mentioned by name no more. I will make for you a covenant on that day with the wild animals, the birds of the air, and the creeping things of the ground; and I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land; and I will make you lie down in safety. And I will take you for my wife forever; I will take you for my wife in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy. I will take you for my wife in faithfulness; and you shall know the Lord.
On that day I will answer, says the Lord,
I will answer the heavens
and they shall answer the earth;
and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and they shall answer Jezreel;
and I will sow him for myself in the land.
And I will have pity on Lo-ruhamah,
and I will say to Lo-ammi, “You are my people”;
and he shall say, “You are my God.”
Hosea Chapter 3
The Lord said to me again, “Go, love a woman who has a lover and is an adulteress, just as the Lord loves the people of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.” So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer of barley and a measure of wine. And I said to her, “You must remain as mine for many days; you shall not play the whore, you shall not have intercourse with a man, nor I with you.” For the Israelites shall remain many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or teraphim. Afterward the Israelites shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; they shall come in awe to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days.