Summary: The model for what it means to love can be found in God, who describes his love toward us as a man loves his wife, and as a parent loves his child. But the most vivid expression of God's love is in the cross.
1. If you had to describe love, how you would describe or explain it?
a. People have various images, explanations, etc.
b. Wildflowers, a mountain, a story that does not end, song, etc.
2. Poets, songwriters, and authors have explored this for centuries
3. If want grow in love, and it be an abiding, strong one, need to understand it
4. Best place to go, the place to start, is the Bible
a. Here we find the origin of love - God
b. How do you describe the love of God?
c. Let's look at some images for God's love
I. Hos 2 - God's beloved bride
A. First part of the book is full of condemnation, wrath, anger
1. Look at what God says
a. Hedge up her way with thorns
b. Take back his grain at harvest, also wine, wool, flax
c. Destroy her fines and fig trees
d. Put an end to her feasts, gaiety, etc.
2. Why is God reacting this way?
a. v.5 - She has played the harlot
b. v.8 - She acted as though Baal blessed her, not Yahweh
c. His bride had committed "adultery" against Yahweh
3. So God is angry, jealous, pained, by this?
a. Of course, wouldn't you be if your spouse did this?
b. God's love is passionate, therefore his anger is too
B. This is not his final word though (Hos 2:14-20)
1. God will not cast her off, will woo her, rebuild relationship
a. She will sing her song again like when they young
b. She will call God "my husband" not "My master"
c. He will betroth her to him forever - Be like young love
d. He will betroth forever in lovingkindness
- The word is "Hesed"
- It means covenant compassion, loyalty
- God is saying that he will always be faithful
2. God's hearts desire is for his people
3. In New Testament, church is called Christ's bride (Eph 5:25-32)
a. Christ gave himself up for his bride, laid down his life
b. Sanctified her, means set apart, she is the special woman
c. Cleansed her, brings out the best in her
d. We the church are glorious to him, beautiful, like a bride
4. Nurtures and cherishes her, she is most precious to him
a. Godly love that that is very, very powerful
b. It has the power to change you
C. ILL: Woman with a list of chores from her husband
1. Dutifully had to do them, or he yell, mistreat, her
a. She so tired, but had to make sure it all done perfect
b. She always looked tired, worn out, haggardly
2. Husband died, she remarry a good loving husband
a. He loved her intensely, was patient, understanding
b. Her haggard appearance changed
c. Became vibrant, beautiful, like she was transformed
3. Years later, found one of those lists in the attic
4. As she reads it, she laugh to self, she still doing all those things
a. But she doing it not because she has to
b. She doing it because she wants to, out of love
c. All of it was not something vibrant and beautiful
D. This a good illustration of one way God's love changes us
1. It is rare for people to experience God's love directly
2. Most experience God's love through other people
3. Means that God is the model for how we are to love
II. (Hos 11:1-9) God's beloved child
A. The image of God's love is even more powerful
1. Child will always be your child
2. That child is your flesh and blood
B. Look at what God actually says here
1. Love for his people like a parent's love for a child
a. Taught him to walk
b. Took him in his arms
c. v.4 - Became like one who lifts the baby to his cheek
- Translational note - Difficulty translating
- The two readings result of a change in one vowel
- Vowels were not written in early Hebrew
- This reading actually fits the context better
2. God became angry with them
C. ILL: Have you ever been angry with the child you love?
1. You raise them, support them, guide them, love them
2. What happens when they start to do wrong, mistreat you?
a. This happens over and over, they make mess of life
b. Ever just felt like giving up? It would be easier
3. I remember when my oldest chose to leave home
a. He was bent on rebellion of every kind, real ugly to me
b. If I could just give up, it would be easier
c. But I couldn't. Sometimes would panic in worry about him
- God says his heart was turned over within him
- This is what God was talking about