1. Today we talk about something that is very hard for us to understand. Something that is not natural to our way of thinking. But it is something that we need to consider. For without some understanding of this, we fail to know God and we fail to comprehend our relationship with us.
2. Today we consider Godís love for us. For you and for me.
3. Do you know how much He loves you? We see His love in the birth, life and death of Jesus.
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.
4. Paul tells us that God loved us when we were still His enemies through our sin. We know that God is love. In the cross we see the depth, breadth and height of His love.
5. I have always considered the book of Hosea a book which gives us deeper and rare insight into the heart of God. And that is what we are going to do this morning. We are going to look into the heart of God. And if we really look, what we see will enable us to understand and appreciate His love more and also see how His love affect how He deals with us.
6. Throughout Hosea God tells the people that He loves them. That He has loved them as a faithful husband and a perfect Father.
7. They should see His love for them by how He looked after them.
Hosea 11:1 When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.
Hosea 11:3 It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms;
Hosea 11:4 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.
Hosea 13:4 But I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt.
Hosea 13:5 I cared for you in the desert, in the land of burning heat.
8. God describes His relationship with us in terms that reveal his love for us. Is there greater human love toward another human than a man or woman has for his or her spouse or a parent has for a child? There is not, although for us that love is tainted by sin, by selfishness. But such love is intimate, very intimate, very personal. A love that comes from our very core. And so by using these images of human love, God opens up His heart and reveals the depth of love He has for us. For these words to Israel are also words to you and me.
9. He has patiently cared for us, and taught us to walk and fed us. He has led us out of the Egypt of our sin into the promised land of our salvation. And if your journey has been like mine, He has repeatedly set me back on the right course and been very gracious and merciful. So often I find myself asking God how He can love me as much as He does.
10. But how did Israel respond to the love of God? How did they react to being chosen by God as His beloved?. Hosea 2:4-5 tells us that she was unfaithful. She chased after other lovers. Israel worshipped, Baal, the god of the Canaanites. And she believed that Baal would provided food and water and all her needs and wants.
11. As a parent who faithfully provides for our children, it hurts when our children run to others to get that which we have faithfully provide and still want to give.
12. Vs. 8 say that Israel did not even acknowledge that God was the one who had provided for her. Again we can see how this would hurt God. When a parent gives so much to a child, and that child says "youíve never done anything for me", it hurts.
13. And the same verses tells us that the very things God gave her, she used to for Baal. For making idols out of the silver and gold God had give them. Again, we can see the hurt we would feel. When that which we give is used to show love or dependence on another. Taking the family inheritance or the blessings of God and losing them at the Casino?
14. Chapter 4:1 shows how much they had rejected God:
Hosea 4:1 Hear the word of the LORD, you Israelites, because the LORD has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: "There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land.
15. Oh, there were times when they did call out to God. When they were in trouble.