Summary: A sermon on Hosea 11 focusing on God as our Heavenly Father and God as a Being with Emotions (Thanks to Clark Tanner of Sermon Central for his sermon entitled "God is Just and Justifier" on Hosea 11)
There was a little boy who had a new winter coat. He and his dad were walking in town up and down ice covered streets. The boy didn’t have gloves so he kept his hands deep in the pockets of his new coat. At the beginning, the father said, “Give me your hand.” The boy refused. After a while the boy fell down. The father said, “Give me your hand.” The boy said, “No, daddy, I’ll be alright.” After a while the boy fell again and hurt his knee. The father said, “Son, please give me your hand.” This time the boy was more than happy to take his father’s hand.
The major events of the OT is the exodus and Sinai.
The exodus is where God “saw” the affliction of his people in Egypt, he “heard” their cry of distress in slavery- and he decided to involve himself in their predicament. He brought them out of Egypt with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. Two of the most important being the Passover and the parting of the Red Sea.
At Sinai God gave them the law and the conditions of the covenant.
Beyond exodus and Sinai, OT prophets foretell of a day when the Israelites will be taken into exile because they broke the covenant and sinned. We see God getting involved in their lives again by bringing them back from captivity and resettling them in the Promised Land. The exodus and the return to Promised Land after captivity (new Exodus) are talked about here.
We see that God gets involved with His people. Throughout the OT we see that God gets involved in various ways. He could supply His people’s needs; He could inflict punishment upon them as is talked about in Hosea and Amos.
The point is that God cares- whether He is for or against His people. God cares enough to get involved in the human story. Amos 3:2: You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your sins. We see here that God is not indifferent to Israel’s way of life, but He takes His people seriously. God decided to be present with, and go with, Israel so that His people might be a model to the world of what it means to be “known” or “cared for” by God.
There are times in OT prophets where we find that God is a God of strong emotions and feelings. We find themes of God’s wrath but also God’s compassion. We find that God is not a God who is aloof from His people.
We get from the Gentiles the idea that God is apathetic toward mankind. The idea that God is untouched by concern or care, unaffected by the things of earth. Many have the idea that God is “up there” or “out there” but not “with us”.
The living God is not apathetic, but passionately concerned, not aloof but personally and intimately concerned about the world. Does Jesus care when my heart is pained Too deeply for mirth and song; As the burdens press and the cares distress, And the way grows weary and long? O yes, He cares; I know He cares, His heart is touched with my grief; When the days are weary, the long nights dreary, I know my Savior cares.
How do we know? Well, we see glimpses of this in Hosea 11. Here God’s involvement with, and commitment to, his people is portrayed in human terms (Father in relation to his son), and in terms of anguish that are expressed with human emotion.
The poem here deals with the problem of a rebellious son. Deuteronomy 21:18-21: If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard.” Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.
Tonight we are not going to discuss our feelings about these verses in Deuteronomy, but how does this law apply to Hosea 11:1-11 in dealing with God’s son, Israel, who has proven to be consistently stubborn in his evil and sinful ways
Thesis: These verses fall into two parts, each of which deals with a dimension of God’s emotions
The Emotion of Anger (Vs. 1-7)
In these verses God speaks in the first person (I), but Israel is spoken about in the third person (my son, they, them, their, my people). It is as if the parents of a profligate son are laying out their case before the elders at the gate of the town.