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Summary: OVER THE LAST TWO WEEKS, WE HAVE BEEN STUDYING HOSEA CHAPTERS 10 AND 11. WE HAVE EXAMINED WHAT THE WORD OF GOD HAS TO SAY REGARDING THE ISSUES OF HARDHEARTEDNESS AND SPIRITUAL MATURITY IN THESE TWO CHAPTERS. ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS ABOUT THE BIBLE IS TH

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THE IMMENSE LOVE OF GOD

Hosea 11:1-9 "When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. 2 But the more I called Israel, the further they went from me. They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images. 3 It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. 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. 5 "Will they not return to Egypt and will not Assyria rule over them because they refuse to repent? 6 Swords will flash in their cities, will destroy the bars of their gates and put an end to their plans. 7 My 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. 9 I 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.

INTRODUCTION: OVER THE LAST TWO WEEKS, WE HAVE BEEN STUDYING HOSEA CHAPTERS 10 AND 11. WE HAVE EXAMINED WHAT THE WORD OF GOD HAS TO SAY REGARDING THE ISSUES OF HARDHEARTEDNESS AND SPIRITUAL MATURITY IN THESE TWO CHAPTERS.

ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS ABOUT THE BIBLE IS THAT IN EACH AND EVERY VERSE THERE IS A MULTITUDE OF THEMES THAT CAN BE EXPRESSED, DISCOVERED AND APPLIED. SO, TODAY, WE ARE RIGHT BACK IN HOSEA 11,, RIGHT BACK IN THE VERSES WE STUDIED LAST WEEK. THE TOPIC THOUGH HAS CHANGED. WE ARE NOT LOOKING AT SPIRITUAL MATURITY. RATHER, WE ARE LOOKING AT THE IMMENSITY OF THE LOVE OF GOD.

I. THE IMMENSITY OF GOD’S LOVE IS SEEN IN HIS AFFECTION – 1:1

A. GOD LOVES US LIKE A SON

In February, 1862, after months of negotiation, a mutually acceptable program of prisoner exchange was adopted between the North and South. It remained in effect throughout the Civil War with only slight variations. The agreement stipulated that the basis for exchange would be "man for man and officer for officer." Men and officers of lower rank would be exchanged for officers of higher grade.

Men of higher rank had different value than those of lower rank. A general for example, was worth sixty privates. A colonel was equal to fifteen men, a major equaled eight privates, a captain was worth six, a lieutenant equaled four, and a sergeant was two. The value of men may be different according to men's standards, but according to God's standards, we are all valuable to Him.

B. GOD LOVES US WITH EQUALITY

1. GOD’S EQUALITY IS SEEN IN SALVATION.

2. GOD’S EQUALITY IS SEEN IN HIS INTERACTION WITH US.

3. GOD’S EQUALITY IS SEEN IN HIS PREDICTED RETURN.

II. THE IMMENSITY OF GOD’S LOVE IS SEEN IN HIS DIRECTION AND PROVISION – 11:3-4

A. GOD’S DIRECTS US THROUGH TEACHING

1. TEACHING US HOW TO WALK

2. THERE WHEN WE FALL DOWN

3. THERE TO PICK US UP

B. GOD DIRECTS US WITH HIS GUIDANCE

1. CORDS OF HUMAN KINDNESS/LOVE

2. THESE WERE CORDS USED TO HELP CHILDREN WALK

3. CORDS PROVIDED A PATH TO TRAVEL

4. CORDS PROVIDED CONFIDENCE WHEN WALKING

5. CORDS ASSURED THE PRESENCE OF GOD ON THE OTHER END

NOW PERHAPS WE NEED TO STOP A MOMENT AND UNDERSTAND THAT THERE ARE OTHER CORDS WE CAN HOLD ON TO IF WE CHOOSE NOT TO HOLD ONTO THE CORDS OF LOVE GOD HAS POSITIONED FOR US. LET ME GIVE YOU A FEW OF THE ALTERNATIVES:

ü Psalm 119:61 Though the wicked bind me with ropes, I will not forget your law. WE CAN CHOOSE THE CORDS OF THE WICKED

ü Proverbs 5:22 The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast. WE CAN CHOOSE THE DEEDS OF THE WICKED

ü Isaiah 5:18 Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit, and wickedness as with cart ropes, WE CAN CHOOSE THE CORDS OF DECEIT

C. GODS PROVISION FOR US IS SEEN IN HIS ACTION TOWARDS US

1. THE ILLUSION OF THE YOKE IS THAT OF PULLING IT FORWARD – OFF THE NECK OF AN ANIMAL THAT IS WORKING HARD

2. IT WAS AN ACT THAT REFRESHED THE ANIMAL

3. IT IS AN ACT THAT PREVENTED THE HEAT AND SWEAT OF WORK FROM DAMAGING THE SKIN OF THE ANIMAL.

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