Summary: God shows the loving Call of the Father in declaring His actions in 1) The Past (Hosea 11:1-4), 2) Present (Hosea 11:5-7) and 3)Future (Hosea 11:8-11) dealings with His children.
If you spend time around groups of kids, be it in sports, music, social or other setting, you will quickly notice some interesting interactions. One that I have seen repeated time and time again revolves around how parents treat their own children when other children are around. If they are in a position of leading a group of children where their own children are involved, one of the most tragic scenes is of the permissive child. This is a situation where the parent will fail to discipline a child for rebellious behavior. They may scold the child, probably because they are embarrassed of the action, but no real consequences follow the scolding. The result is usually a rebellious child, who has increasing rebellious tendencies. Character molded on the sports field will usually develop either of respectful fortitude, or rebellious intemperance.
In Hosea 11:1-9, we see the father whose hopes for his child have been frustrated by the child’s rebellious behaviour. The prophet who has himself known the depths of rejected love is privileged to portray the unfathomable depth of the love of God who will not relinquish those whom he has acknowledged as his own. Though their conduct has rendered punishment inevitable, God will work to achieve his objectives even through the imposition of penalty. No longer can exile be avoided, but the prospect of return after exile is presented.
There is no better father in the universe than God the Father. Not only do we see His dealings being loving, they properly balance that love with discipline and correction. Although experiencing rejection, and waywardness from His children, He does not disown them, but calls them back to covenant faithfulness. This is so instructive, not only to appreciate God’s love and dealings with us, but for our human relationships as well. There is no better blueprint for human fathers to follow, and for children, to see their rebellious inclinations. Mutual love, consequences for rebellion and a call for repentance and restoration is instructive for all our lives.
Desiring remembrance, present reformation and future hope, God the Father calls His people back to covenant faithfulness. This picture is one where we see God as Father to His children. As such is it a picture of love, longing and leadership that is both instructive and comforting for human fathers who have to deal with every day difficulties in their Children. God shows the loving “Call of the Father” in declaring His actions in 1) The Past (Hosea 11:1-4), 2) Present (Hosea 11:5-7) and 3)Future (Hosea 11:8-9) dealings with His children.
The loving “Call of the Father”, can be seen in:
1) The Past dealings with His children. (Hosea 11:1-4)
Hosea 11:1-4 11 When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. 2 The more they were called, the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols. 3 Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them. 4 I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them. (ESV)
In verse 1, “When Israel was a child/youth” looks back to the founding of the nation at the time of the Exodus and their formative years (2:15; Jer. 2:2; Ezek. 16:22, 43, 60). As a term for age, ‘youth’ may apply from infancy (cf. Exod. 2:6; 1 Sam. 4:21) through to late adolescence (cf. Gen. 37:2) and beyond (Gen. 41:12 when Joseph is 30 years old), but the picture here is of the early years when the people were still vulnerable and helpless, incapable of extricating themselves from the oppression of their situation in Egypt, and consequently also unable to bear the responsibilities placed on them (cf. 11:3). In this connection Solomon’s words are significant: ‘I am a mere youth: I do not know how to go out or come in’ (1 Kgs. 3:7). ‘Youth’ implies a lack of experience which requires guidance to make correct decisions or intervene effectively in public affairs (cf. Jer. 1:6–7). It is also possible that the word ‘youth’ is employed here because it sometimes has the sense ‘servant’ or ‘attendant’ (cf. Gen. 22:3; Neh. 4:16). In Egypt Israel had been not only immature but also enslaved.
• This is the beginning of our earthy fatherhood. Youth naturally want to advance at the fastest pace. In the early year, proper fatherhood recognized their vulnerability and inability for complex responsibility.
I loved him points to the intimate and fond relationship which the LORD instituted (and continued to maintain) between himself and the people (cf. 3:1–2; 9:15; 14:4) by setting his love on them (cf. Deut. 7:7; 10:15). ‘Love’ at a human level denotes the positive emotional attachment of one person to another, primarily in a family relationship. It gives rise to a special concern for the well-being of the individual who is loved. So, at a time when their situation was desperate and there was nothing to commend the Israelites to the LORD, the Father gave evidence of his love for them by sovereignly intervening to deliver them from oppression and to constitute them his own by taking them out of Egypt.