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God as a loving Father-- Hosea 11
The fatherly love of God
Hosea 11

Scripture reading: Luke 15:11-32

"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." I John 4:9-11

For the last couple of weeks we have been studying the Book of Hosea together

Hosea ministered in Israel (the Northern Kingdom) in the years leading up to the Assyrian attack and exile of 721/722 B.C

The central theme of the Book of Hosea is the love of God. This love of God is portrayed in two very striking ways

1. God as a loving husband

So loving that He is willing to forgive and restore Israel (his unfaithful wife)

2. God as a loving father

So loving that He is willing to forgive and restore Israel (his rebellious son)

Since we have already explored the theme of God as a loving husband, as depicted through the relationship of Hosea and Gomer in chapters 1-4, we are going to move to the depiction of God as a loving father as illustrated in Hosea 11

READ Hosea 11:1-11

As we read Hosea 11 together I want to you think about the tone of the text.

Before reading note the relation of Hosea 11:1 and Matthew 2:13-15

Hosea 11:1 is referenced in Matthew 2 in connection with the life of Christ. Matthew 2:13-15 it says; "When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son."

While, on the surface Hosea 11 seems to refer only to Israel as God's son, by the Holy Spirit Matthew was led to declare that Jesus' leaving of Egypt after the death of Herod is foreshadowed here. Hence the text does a sort of double duty.


THOUGHTS ON THE FATHERLY LOVE OF GOD

1. Not everyone has had a loving earthly father, so the subject of God as a loving father may pose as a challenge

The fact is, all earthly fathers are deficient, this contrasts with the perfect fatherhood of God and leaves Him alone as the ultimate model of what it means to be a good father

2. The depiction of Israel as a rebellious child, despite the very best from the hand of God, is one that resonates with a lot of parents who have a rebellious child that is breaking their hearts.

If you have a rebellious child who you love and their breaking your heart, Hosea 11 is a passage you want to look at for help and inspiration.

3. His love is often unreturned, rejected, and ignored

This explains the pain of heart that God expresses in the text

The obvious call is that we would acknowledge God's love, thank Him for His provisions, draw near to Him, and express our gratitude

4. His love is a redeeming love

The phrase "Out of of Egypt I called my son" reminds us of the 400 years in which Israel labored in Egypt as slaves, as captives, as chattel. From out of that situation, God redeemed His people. By His mighty hand and power he saved them from the clutches of Egypt and death. By His grace and love, He then guided His people to the Promised land and established them in it.

God's redemption of Israel out of Egypt- celebrated during the Passover- points us to Christ and His redeeming work on the cross-- that we who are in Christ may escape the judgment to come.

5. His love is sacrificial and generous

The picture of Hosea 11 is this: God gives and gives and gives. The ultimate fulfillment of God's giving love is spoken of in John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

6. His love is patient, persistent, and long suffering

A lot of us struggle with patience, particularly with our spouses and our children.

God is patient, so patient that 2 Peter 3:9 says; "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

7. His love is tender

Note the image of Hosea 11:4 "I drew them to me with affection and love. I picked them up and held them to my cheek; I bent down to them and fed them" (Good News Translation)

8. His love is nurturing and instructional

Note the phrase in v.3 "It was I who taught Ephraim to walk"

9. The depths of His fatherly love are hard to grasp

Hear the prayer of Paul from Ephesians 3:17b-19 "And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."

10. His love is a love that dares to discipline

There's a book written by Dr. James Dobson entitled "Dare to discipline". The basic premise is that if you want your kids to turn out alright-- as productive, obedient, God fearing/reverencing, responsible individuals- that as a parent, you need to correct and discipline your child when they do wrong.

God's love is not a love that overlooks or ignores disobedience and rebellion. In v.5-7 of our text God speaks of how Israel will taste defeat at the hands of the Assryians and captivity in the land of Egypt. Such was the loving discipline of the Lord.

This reminds us of the famous passage of Hebrew 12:5-11 which says; "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son." 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined-and everyone undergoes discipline-then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."

11. His love is a merciful and restoring love

In v 8-11 the abundant mercy and grace of God is expressed as God restrains the full expression of his wrath that Israel deserved. Instead of destroying them as Admah and Zeboiim -- towns that were destroyed along with Sodom and Gomorrah, God speaks of how in His heart He still loves Israel and how one day He will restore and shower His blessings afresh on His rebellious son.

The theme of the restoring love of God- which comes when one repents --which is the call of the Book of Hosea- reminds me of Jesus restoring Peter (who 3 times denied knowing Christ) John 21. Such is the grace of God lavished on those who humble themselves before Him

12. His love is ongoing

13. His love was supremely expressed in the coming of Christ to Earth and in His substitutionary death on the cross

"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." I John 4:9-11

HOW SHOULD WE RESPOND TO THE FATHERLY LOVE OF GOD?

"We ought to love one another" I John 4:9-11

We should acknowledge His Fatherhood

We should embrace His Fatherhood

We should praise Him for His love and mercy

We should tell others about it

We should meditate upon His love

We should obey Him- and not be like rebellious Israel was to Him