Summary: PENTECOST 20[25 (A)] - Our Lord’s love lasts forever. Even though we often turn away from God’s love -- God’s love turns us around time and again.
OUR LORD’S LOVE LASTS FOREVER
HOSEA 11: 1- 4,7-9 -- October 1, 2004 -- PENTECOST 20
1 "When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. 2But the more I called Israel, the further they went from me. They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images. 3It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. 4I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them.
7My people are determined to turn from me. Even if they call to the Most High, he will by no means exalt them.
8"How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboiim? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused.
9I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim. For I am God, and not man--the Holy One among you. I will not come in wrath
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Dearest Fellow Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
What is love? You can think about that for a bit and what that word love means to you. The word love in our society today, is so over used, misused, that it is often abused. People say it without even thinking. They say to one another I love you -- and yet divorce reigns rampant in our society. People say to one another I love you -- and yet children are abandoned, forsaken, and at times, even worse. Instead of love being something that comes from the heart and having a valuable meaning love has become just a sloppy sentimentality. Love is hastily added to cards, letters and conversations, just to seem sociable. Today we are going to look at the Lord’s love and understand that love is more than just words. The Lord’s love is an everlasting love. Only by understanding and knowing the Lord’s love for us can you and I begin to appreciate the deeper meaning of that word love. Scripture tells us: This is love: not that we loved God, but he loved us and sent his son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 JOHN 4:10). NOW that is love. God sacrificed his son on our behalf, so that we might love him.
Today Hosea the prophet tells us: OUR LORD’S LOVE LASTS FOREVER. Hosea reminds us that: I. even though you and I might turn away from God’s love II. it is God’s love that turns us around time and again.
I. WE OFTEN TURN AWAY FROM GOD’S LOVE
Hosea was a prophet sent to warn God’s people about their unfaithfulness and how they had turned away from God. Now they needed to turn back now. God was concerned about them. He was concerned about them from the very beginning. Verse 1 says: “When Israel was a child I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.” The Lord pictures himself as a father of this nation of believers. The Lord reminded Israel that when they were slaves in Egypt he heard their cries. And God called them, and he delivered them from the hands of Pharaoh. He protected them, God did, in the wilderness for 40 years. God delivered them to the Promised Land. But what was their reaction? Our text states, “But the more I called Israel, the further they went from me.” They forgot about God . They went away from him further and further and further. Why was that? Well, you know when Moses, he didn’t get to enter the Promised Land, but before he sent the children of Israel there had said to them he was concerned about them. Moses was concerned that when they got into the Land of milk and honey, a land of prosperity and wealth, they might forget about God. They would say to themselves, well we’ve got enough. We don’t need God anymore. You may recall that is what happened they lived in the Promised Land. They didn’t have to go out day after day and collect manna off the ground. And they forgot about God. Worse than that the Israelites followed after the gods of the land the people that were there worshipped. Hosea writes, “They sacrificed to the Baals and they burnt incense to images.” It got so bad at one time that Scripture implies that maybe even the children of Israel offered human sacrifices to these false gods. How does such a thing happen? Well they were sinners. They wanted to do things their way.