Published February 10, 2011
Bible Studies for Life, Feb 20
If God has shown anything to us, it is that He loves and cares for us more than our hearts can imagine. Throughout history He has gone to great lengths to prove that to us.
Ultimately, His love was proven to us on the cross of Calvary: “But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us!” (Rom. 5:8 HCSB)
Even before the cross, God showed His love to mankind. He constantly demonstrated that kind of compassion with Israel. In chapter 11 of Hosea, God’s love was shown in at least three ways.
Tenacious calling! - Hosea 11:1-2
God loves us first of all by calling us. We know that apart from Him calling us, our salvation would be impossible. As He calls us out of our sin, to our salvation, He also prepares us for service to Him. The Scriptures have much to say concerning the calling of God.
This text shows that God’s calling is motivated by His love for us. His love shows a tenacious and persistent calling in our lives. Unfortunately, when God calls, our common enemy is going to be calling also.
Satan is always going to counter God’s calling in our lives with his own calling to do evil. As Hosea states, the devil and his crowd will always be putting on the pressure to depart from God and His love and serve other idols.
The apostle Paul reminds us in his letter to the church at Ephesus “to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience …” (4:1-2).
It is a humbling experience to know that the Creator of the universe loves us so much that He calls us to be His children. However, too often His children are willing to turn from that love and turn to other idols.
Our idols today may not look like the idols of Hosea’s era, but anything that keeps us from responding to God’s love in worship and service to Him is still an idol.
Tender care! - Hosea 11:3-4
God’s love for us is further demonstrated in how He nurtures and cares for us. Just like a loving parent provides infinite care for his or her child, God does for His children also. What kind of parent would one be if after bringing their newborn home from the hospital, they carried him to his crib and left him there to provide for himself?
Our Heavenly Father will never do that. He graciously provides for all of our needs. Hosea reminds us that it was God that taught Ephraim to walk.
Everyone has seen pictures of a father carefully teaching his child to walk. He will gently put his hands under the arms of the child, holding him up while taking the child’s fingers and balancing him so he can learn to take his steps.
What a wonderful picture of what God does metaphorically for His children. As we learn to walk in the Lord, trusting Him for guidance and direction, He naturally and tenderly cares for us. When we fall in our spiritual walk, He is there to pick us up and help us again.
The first four verses of chapter 11 have been both about what God does for His children and how His children often rebel against Him in spite of His love. This is a beautiful portrait of Christ and His church today. It seems the more Christ calls us and does for us, the more we rebel against His love.
This is the ultimate act of spiritual immaturity. After a baby learns to walk on his own, and eat on his own, he doesn’t need the assistance of his parents to accomplish these elementary tasks. In fact, if you saw a twenty year old being assisted in his walk or eating, you would know there was something desperately wrong.
When a new Christian learns to walk in the Lord, he is starting the maturation process. As he continues growing, he becomes more mature in his walk with the Lord. When we rebel against our Savior, this is evidence that we are showing our spiritual immaturity.
We must always remember how much God loves us. When we are tempted to turn away from Him to our idols, stand tall and walk strong in the Lord.
Total consistence! - Hosea 11:5-11
God’s love is demonstrated in His consistency. No matter what His children do, He will still love them. The evidence is found in these verses.
His consistency is shown in His patience. God had many occasions when He could have utterly destroyed Israel, but He didn’t. His patience with Israel and the patience that Jesus has for His church are unparalleled.
During the exodus, God had rescued the nation from slavery, yet all they could do was complain about the food they were receiving. They were a free people with a slave mentality, and God was patient with them then and still is with us today.
His consistency is shown also in His promises. Verse 9 speaks of the rage and fury of God, yet He will not “vent the full fury of My anger.” He had a right to be angry, but did not show His rage.
His consistency is also seen in His power. He is omnipotent, all-powerful. In verses 10-12 we see that when He roars like a powerful lion, His people will return from their spiritual infidelity.
God loves us like a “Grand” father. Let’s respond to His love with faithfulness to Him. After all, He deserves no less.
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