Summary: When we touch upon the love of GOD, we plunge ourselves into an ocean whose depths have never been fathomed. It is all-embracing, all-inviting, all-supporting, and all-supplying.
Opening illustration: For thousands of families in Kenya, seven cows are more valuable than a girl’s future. Those cows, a typical bridal dowry in Maasai culture, prove so tempting that most fathers in rural areas decide their daughter’s education will end and marriage begin by age 13. Traditionally this event is preceded by female genital circumcision, a mutilation that remains a mystery to the girls until the moment it is performed. For generations, this ceremony was a rite of passage for every Maasai girl, some as young as 10; soon afterward, they would marry and drop out of school.
But when Kakenya Ntaiya endured the painful ritual in 1993, she had a plan. She negotiated a deal with her father, threatening to run away unless he promised she could finish high school after the ceremony. "I really liked going to school," she said. "I knew that once I went through the circumcision, I was going to be married off. And my dream of becoming a teacher was going to end." Engaged at age 5, Ntaiya spent her childhood learning the skills she would need to be a good Maasai wife. But her mother encouraged her children to strive for a better life, and Ntaiya heeded her advice, postponing the coming-of-age ritual as long as she could. When her father finally insisted, she took her stand.
Ntaiya's bold move paid off. She excelled in high school and earned a college scholarship in the United States. Her community held a fundraiser to raise money for her airfare, and in exchange, she promised to return and help the village. Over the next decade, Ntaiya would earn her degree, a job at the United Nations and eventually a doctorate in education. But she never forgot the vow she made to village elders. In 2009, she opened the first primary school for girls in her village, the Kakenya Center for Excellence. Today, Ntaiya is helping more than 150 girls receive the education and opportunities that she had to sacrifice so much to attain. [National Geographic and CNN Heroes 2013]
If Kakenya Ntaiya could sacrifice so much to save and care for the Masai girls, how much more our loving God cares for His children. Let us turn to Hosea 11 and learn just that …
Introduction: The Old Testament book of Hosea is the story of God’s faithful love for His unfaithful people. In what seems strange to us, the Lord commanded Hosea to marry a woman who would break her marriage vows and bring grief to him (Hosea 1:2-3). After she deserted Hosea for other men, the Lord told him to take her back — a picture of “the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods” (3:1).
This passage contains the most poignant yet touching words in all of Hosea. It features a sharp contrast between God’s tender reminiscences of His early relationship with Israel and yet His sorrow at their rejection of Him for Baal despite all that He had done for them (vv. 1-4). When we touch upon the love of GOD, we plunge ourselves into an ocean whose depths have never been fathomed. It is all-embracing, all-inviting, all-supporting, and all-supplying. And it is this matchless love which underlies every divine warning, the spurning of which, as was true with Hosea's people, makes more terrible the fearful storms of judgment when they break.