“November 7–13. Hosea 1–6; 10–14; Joel: ‘I Will Love Them Freely,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Old Testament 2022 (2021)
“November 7–13. Hosea 1–6; 10–14; Joel,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2022
Record Your Impressions
Israel’s covenant with the Lord was meant to be so deep and meaningful that the Lord compared it to a marriage. The covenant, like a marriage, included eternal commitment, shared experiences, building a life together, exclusive loyalty, and most of all, wholehearted love. This kind of devotion came with high expectations—and tragic consequences for infidelity. Through the prophet Hosea, God described some of the consequences the Israelites faced for breaking their covenant. And yet His message was not “I will reject you forever for being unfaithful.” Instead it was “I will invite you back” (see Hosea 2:14–15). “I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness,” the Lord declared (Hosea 2:19). “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely” (Hosea 14:4). This is the same message He gives us today as we seek to live our covenants with love and devotion.
Joel shared a similar message: “Turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness” (Joel 2:13). “The Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel” (Joel 3:16). As you read Hosea and Joel, ponder your own relationship with the Lord. Think about how His faithfulness inspires you to be faithful to Him.
Hosea’s wife, Gomer, was unfaithful to him, and God pointed to this sad event to teach the Israelites how He felt about them and their covenants with Him. As you read Hosea 1–3, ponder how the Lord views His relationship with His covenant people. You might ponder ways that you, like the Israelites, may have been unfaithful to the Lord and how He has reached out to you. For example, what do Hosea 2:14–23 and Hosea 14 teach you about the Lord’s love and mercy? How do you show Him your love and loyalty?
See also Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Point of Safe Return,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 99–101.
The Lord had commanded His people to offer animal sacrifices. But even though the people in Hosea’s day were obeying that law, they were breaking commandments of greater importance (see Hosea 6:4–7). What do you think it means that the Lord “desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings”? (Hosea 6:6). What do you think it means for righteousness to be like a cloud or like dew? What should our righteousness be like? (see Isaiah 48:18; 1 Nephi 2:9–10).
When reading Joel 2:12–13, it might help to know that rending or tearing one’s clothing was traditionally an outward sign of mourning or remorse (for example, see 2 Chronicles 34:14–21, 27). How is rending our hearts different from rending our garments?
When Joel prophesied of “the day of the Lord,” he described it as “a day of darkness and of gloominess,” “great and very terrible” (Joel 2:1–2, 11). Israel has faced many great and terrible days throughout its history, and God’s covenant people will face more in the future. What impresses you about the counsel the Lord gave in Joel 2:12–17? Also notice the blessings He promised in Joel 2:18–32. Why might the blessings promised in verses 27–32 be especially valuable in days like those described in Joel 2, including our day?
What do you think it means that the Lord would “pour out [His] spirit upon all flesh”? (Joel 2:28). How are the prophecies in Joel 2:28–29 being fulfilled? (See Acts 2:1–21; Joseph Smith—History 1:41.)
You might ponder these words from President Russell M. Nelson: “In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost” (“Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2018, 96). Why is revelation essential to our spiritual survival? How can you increase your capacity to receive personal revelation?
The Lord used the metaphor of marriage to describe His covenant relationship with Israel (see also Guide to the Scriptures, “Bridegroom,” scriptures.ChurchofJesusChrist.org). Your family could discuss why marriage can be a good metaphor for our covenants with God. How does Hosea 2:19–20 help us understand how God feels about us? How can we be faithful to our covenants with Him?
Children might enjoy drawing a clock and planning ways they can seek the Lord at different times throughout the day.
To help your family talk about Joel 2:12–13, you could place a picture of the Savior on one side of a room and the word sin on the opposite side. Invite family members to take turns facing the sign and then turning toward the Savior as they share things that can help us turn to Him “with all [our] heart.” Encourage family members to think about all aspects of their lives, including activities, work, school, and relationships.
What could it mean for the Spirit to be “poured out” upon us? Maybe you could demonstrate this by pouring a liquid and then contrasting it with a drip or a trickle.
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested song: “Come unto Jesus,” Hymns, no. 117.