Summary: This sermon describes just how much God truly loves his peopl even when it may appear otherwise.
God Must Be Crazy!
At this stage in my life I believe that God is crazy. Some of you reading this will say to me, “You are crazy for saying such things about God.” I will answer you by saying that if you do not think so after reading this sermon then you are the one who is crazy.
In 1981, a movie, in Afrikaans, was released and it carried a very captivating title, “The Gods Must Be Crazy.” The movie tells the story of Xi, a Junt-wasi tribesman (bushman) who lived in the Kalahari. Xi and his little clan went about their lives in harmonious pursuit of the basic necessities. One day, a careless bush pilot tosses a coca-cola bottle out of his little airplane. The bottle fell in the clearing that doubled as home for Xi and his people. The tribe was astonished to see this shiny object that fell from heaven and assumed that it was a gift from the gods. However, as they explored various possibilities, they could not find any use for the bottle. Yet everyone in the tribe wanted to possess the bottle. This brought disharmony to the tribe. Xi concluded that this must be some kind of trick from the gods, and that it was a rather bad trick. So he picked up the bottle and went in search of the end of the earth so he could return the bottle to the gods.
Is God crazy because he delights in playing dirty little tricks on his people? Is God some sort of a cosmic trickster? Is this why God is crazy?
On December 26, 2004, the world awoke to the havoc caused by the so-called Asia Tsunami. A 9.0 earthquake in the Indian Ocean unleashed a watery fury such as the world had never witnessed before. In a few hours the tidal waves had lashed the coastal areas of 12 countries and, according to the latest count, taken the lives of over 200,000 people. One month later and the death toll is still rising and the dead are still being recovered. People of all the great religions of the world are now left to ponder the reasons (if any) for such mayhem and destruction.
Maybe God is crazy because he is capricious and sadistic and enjoys watching humanity suffer. Is this why God is crazy?
In the first three chapters of the book of Hosea, we read the story of a man, Hosea, who marries a woman named Gomer. Hosea’s wife proves to be very unfaithful. The couple has three children but it appears that none of them belonged to Hosea. Gomer is not satisfied with one man and her life is punctuated by one fling after another. Finally she tires of her family and abandons her children and her husband. She becomes a prostitute. It did not take long for Gomer to get into financial trouble and she ends up in the slave market. Hosea goes to the market and, using a fairly large investment, buys Gomer back and restors her as his wife. The odd thing about this story is that Hosea did all of this because God commanded him to.
Could it be that God is crazy for sometimes making people do incredibly irrational things? Is this why God is crazy?
I think that none of these reasons measures up to the craziness of God as portrayed in Hosea 11. The first thing to note about this chapter, are the many special things God had done for Israel. God actually lists his actions on behalf of his people.
“When Israel was a child, I loved him” (v 1). God loved Israel as a father loves his children. This love drove God to deliver Israel from slavery in Egypt. “. . . out of Egypt I called my son” (v 1). Like a father, God was there to assist Israel in its development. “It was I who taught Israel to walk, taking them by the arms; . . . it was I who healed them” (v 3). Picture if you can God, like a father, sitting by the bedside of his sick child keeping watch through the night, waiting for the fever to break. He gave them love and unburdened them. “I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them” (v 4). God did everything he could think of to make life better for Israel.
Like a rebellious teenager, Israel flaunted the goodness of God, tossing it back in his face. Their response was that of a genuine ingrate. When God called to them, they attempted to run away instead (v 2). “They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images” (v 2). They rejected his love and looked for it elsewhere. They were consciously ignorant of all his providence (v 3). Finally God has to deal with the ultimate rejection. “My people are determined to turn from me” (v 7). Israel was willingly ungrateful and turned their back on all that God was doing for them.