30 Jul 2023
God's love for Israel is special. It is Hesed- a loyal love despite Israel's unfaithfulness. It is a love that endures even through betrayal like as from an unfaithful spouse. It is a love that never gives up like that of a father for a wayward son. This passage shows how God chose Israel to bless her. Not because of who she is. And not because she is worth it. God sovereignly and unconditionally set His love upon her to bless her and do good to her. And when she turns away in rebellion, God did not give up on her, nor give in to her, but disciplined her in love. And He assures her that He will ultimately bring her back to Himself in healing and restoring her. God's love for Israel is like God's love for His church. He adopts us into His family out of grace, to bless us and do good to us. He turns our gaze upon Him, using pain and trials if need be. And He is ultimately working out good for His people.
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Let's come to the chapter 11 of Hosea today. Just a month ago or so, I saw a viral, I think quite viral video of a father speaking to his future son-in-law at his daughter's wedding. It was reported in many mainstream news channel and it goes, Dad of Singapore bride touches world with moving words at wedding.
Well, what did he exactly say? This is just a short excerpt. He said to the son-in-law, "I'm passing my precious daughter to you. Put her every time in first place, in every situation. If one day you ever have a change of heart that you don't love my daughter anymore, please don't hurt her. Just bring her back to me and give her back to me."
I suppose the implication is that whilst other men may not love his daughter all the way to the end, as a father, he will love her all the way to the end.
This is a message that touches hearts because it is a message of a steadfast, loyal love. The book of Hosea is a minor prophetic book. It's in a, not that it's an unimportant message, but it's a shorter prophetic book. But this book really revolves around this one word in the Hebrew, which is hesed. The word hesed in Hebrew means loyal love. And the book of Hosea displays God's loyal love, steadfast, unwavering, unchanging love despite Israel's utter unfaithfulness.
In order for us to grasp what is this loyal love, what this is all about, and what it means to God, God told Hosea to marry a woman named Gomer and told him that this woman will betray you. She will be unfaithful to you. And Hosea and the whole of Israel will be able to experience the deep pain and anguish and frustration that Hosea would have.
And yet Hosea is called to still win back and love this unfaithful Gomer. And all that is meant to be a parable. All that is meant to be a picture, a portrayal of how God loves an unfaithful nation, Israel. That is hesed, loyal love.
Today in chapter 11, God uses a second picture. So Hosea is not just about adultery. Hosea is about hesed, it's about steadfast love, seen in example number one between a husband and an unfaithful wife. And now example number two, between a father and a wayward son, a rebellious son.
Very long time ago, God said to Pharaoh, Israel is My firstborn son. God has seen Israel to be His child and God has seen Himself to be Israel's Father. So in a very emotive, intense passage today, we're going to learn about the Father's love for Israel. It's His hesed love. But from this angle of a Father to a wayward son, and perhaps we're going to see some principles of God's fatherly love that can be applied to the modern church to you and I living today. So let's see what God says about how He has loved Israel.
1. Adopts His People
Number one, we see God says, I adopt Israel to be mine. He says in verse 1, when Israel was a child, I loved him and out of Egypt I called My son. In a sense, Israel was not God's child because they were slaves in the land of Egypt. But one day, God says, I'm going to call My son. I'm going to set My love upon Israel. They will be My special possession. I will be their Father and they will be to Me, My child, My son.
Why did God choose Israel? Why did God choose out of all the nations, all the races, to set His love upon this one particular family, this family that came from Jacob? Were they smarter? Were they stronger? Were they bigger? Were they more obedient? Hardly.
In fact, in verse 2, we are told, the more they were called, the more they went away. I, I chose them to be My son, but they were a very rebellious people. They were very unfaithful. They kept sacrificing to the Baals and burned offerings to idols.
God did not choose Israel because they were nicer or more obedient. In fact, there was something more direct. In Deuteronomy chapter 7, we read, for you are a people holy to the LORD your God. I've chosen you to belong to Me. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His treasured possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. Not Malays, not Chinese, not Caucasians, Israelites. You are to be My son.
Why? It was not, let me say that again, it was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set His love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all people. There was nothing spectacular about Israel except that they were a tiny people. But it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that He swore to your fathers.
So in a sense, there was nothing in Israel, in and of themselves, that predisposed God to say, oh, you are such a good people, I will have to choose you. God chose them unconditionally. God chose them because He's the God of love. He simply, sovereignly chose them.
And He chose them to bless them. I adopted you as My son and now I teach you to walk. I took you by your arms, but you did not know, they did not know that I healed them. It's a language of a father to a toddler, just beginning to learn how to walk, falling down, picking him up, being with this child all the way. It speaks of the loving, affectionate care of the Father.
And then the imagery switches, in a sense, to verse 4, animal husbandry. I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to feed, to them and fed them. Now this is a picture, I think, of animal farming. So you lead the animal with ropes and harnesses. You let down that bit and bridle system so that it's not so heavy on the animal and now the animal is able to feed.
So God uses a very tender picture of his loving care for Israel. How does God love Israel? He loves them like a father. He adopts these people who were formerly slaves, to belong to Him so that He may bless them. He chose them, not because they were good, not because they were spectacular, He chose them simply because He's love. And He chose to set His love uniquely on these people.
You know, the Bible speaks about how God today is our heavenly Father. And so in Ephesians chapter 1, we read that God has predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ. The language of adoption is seen in the Old Testament and the language of adoption is also seen in the New Testament for you and for me. We are adopted as sons. If we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, we become part of God's family in adoption.
Some time ago someone asked, what is salvation? I thought to myself and I said, the best way to answer you what salvation means is probably giving you the various word pictures of salvation in the Bible. For example, the Bible speaks about forgiveness, isn't it? We sin against God and we need forgiveness from God in order to be in a right position or right standing with God. Forgiveness is a concept that is important in salvation.
Then I thought about the word justification, just as if I've not sinned. It's a position of innocence before the Judge of all the earth. The Bible uses another word, redemption, just as you would buy something, pay something in the marketplace in ancient days to set the slave free. We today are slaves to sin set free by Jesus Christ and what He has done on the cross. That's redemption. That's an idea of salvation.
The Bible speaks about reconciliation. The Bible also speaks about being born again. But another word that displays salvation is adoption. What does it mean to be saved by God? It means that whilst we were formerly strangers to God, we are now part, we are now brought into, we are adopted into His family.
On what basis are we adopted into God's family? Does God choose smart people to be adopted into the church, into His family? Does God choose strong people, wise people, powerful people into His family? Well, the Bible tells us, that God does not choose anyone based on what that person can do or will do.
Romans chapter 9 tells us God's purpose of election is not because of works. Huh, the story here is Jacob and Esau. Before they were even born, before they could do anything, God has already chosen. It proves the point that God's purpose of election is not dependent on worthiness. It's not dependent on how good we are or how bad you are.
It goes on to say then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. It is totally independent of you and totally dependent on God alone. It's on God who sovereignly shows mercy.
In fact, it is very counterintuitive. In companies, in schools, people like to choose the best candidates. In God's Kingdom, He likes to do the opposite. Don't you realize that in the church, in the people of God, not many of you were wise or powerful or of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish, weak, low and despised. That's God's style.
He does not choose the rich and the famous and the smart and the strong. He chooses weak things to confound the wise, so that all glory belongs to Him.
So this is the amazing thing about God's love. He does not love you because you are worth loving. He does not invest in you because you are worth investing. He loves you simply because He is love. This is grace, this is mercy, this is the hesed, unconditional love of God. And He has chosen to adopt you into the family to bless you, to shower His love upon you.
And so the writer of the Bible in 1 John says, see what kind of love the Lord, the Father, has given to us that we should be called the children of God. He's amazed, he's thankful. Wow! I can be loved by God. And I have such tremendous privileges. I've been saved from my sin. Cleansed and washed, justified, redeemed, reconciled, adopted, born again. Now I can come to the Father. The world can't.
The world doesn't know Him. The world doesn't enjoy Him. But I can see His worth. My delight is in Him. I have a wonderful security in my soul and the future inheritance. I'm of all people most blessed because I'm a child of the God most high. Not because of who I am or what I've done. God simply chose me, to pour out His love upon me.
You know there are people in our church today, who have children, who are not theirs by natural birth. They adopted them. I know some of these couples. And I see and I hear of the way they love their child. It's amazing. They love their child as if the child is their own. I can't see any difference whatsoever. They love and they pour and they simply chose. And they simply set their love. And they simply bless their child over and over and over again.
That's the way God loves you. That's the way God loves any one of us. It's not because you are good. Not because I'm good. But because He is good. That's our Father's love.
2. Afflicts His People
But just in case you think that our Father is like Santa Claus or an indulgent old grandfather. You will realize that in this passage, God's love is also corrective. Because in verse 4 or verse 5, we quickly read about God's love manifested in His afflictions on Israel. Real love is not indulgent. Real love is not saying, aah, you can do whatever you like. No, real love is far better than that. Real love wants the best for the child and therefore will do anything to help the child walk in the path of righteousness.
Uh, this is counterintuitive. But you know, for the Chinese, we know this very familiar phrase. 打是疼,骂是爱. One of the favorite sentences in many homes, I think. You know why I have to cane you? Because I love you. I hope you say that. I hope you say that. I hope you will not avoid disciplining your kids. Neither do I and I hope you will also assure your kids of your love.
My mom, I always crack this joke. When I , not a joke, it's real. Uh, my mom, when she disciplines me in the past, and when she gets really angry, she will say, you're so useless, I'd rather give birth to a piece of char siu than you. At least char siu I can eat. You are good for nothing. Well, when you discipline your kids, you've got to understand it's got to be the context of love. You want the best. It's not out of frustration. It's not because they have inconvenienced you, but that because you love them and want the best for them.
The English version is, God scourges whom He loves. I mean, that's in the Bible. In this case, Israel needed discipline because they were an unfaithful people. They were ruining themselves, chasing after idols and wooden statues and false gods that cannot save. So, God now has to discipline them.
God says to them, I'll discipline you by putting you in exile. You will now be captured soon, if you do not repent, you will soon be captured, and you will live under the Assyrian king. You'll be no more your own people. And He uses very strong language. The sword shall rage against the cities, consume the bars of their gates, devour them because of their own counsels. You see, you're going to bring all this upon yourself. Fierce punishment will be meted out upon you. My people, however, are bent on turning away from Me. It's like a rebellious wayward son.
I think if I were to preach this message 15 years ago, I would preach this quite theoretically without any feeling. But now that I have two sons, I absolutely can have a greater understanding of what it feels like. I won't say my sons are terrible monsters, although they are all sinners. But this is what it is. The wayward, rebellious son.
But then, you see, God's punishment on Israel is not out of vindictive vengeance, but one that is deeply grieved and and concern. He says, how can I give you up? It's very emotive language. You've got to get that. This is God speaking. How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel? I, I can't let you utterly perish because I love you. Like a father would be to a son, like that father of the bride who would say, no matter what, bring her back to me. My love for her will never end.
How can I make you like Admah or Zeboiim? These are two cities that are around Sodom and Gomorrah. You can check them out in Genesis 14. So, how can I let them be utterly destroyed like Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim? How, how can I do that? My heart recoils within Me. My compassion grows warm and tender.
So, we must read this understanding that though there are fierce words, of threat, of severe punishment, it is still God's love when He afflicts His people. 打是疼,骂是爱.
I remember once when my dad disciplined me. I hated him for it. I really, in my heart, hated my dad. I don't hate him anymore. But at that point, when I was afflicted, when I was in pain and punishment, I hated my father. And that, truth be told, I can't remember a single time when he disciplined me that I began to say, I love him. How to? Wah, sie eh tiah leh, wah, very painful leh.
But now I, I understand. I understood why he had to do it. I understood that it is not easy because I have to discipline my kids. I'm 100% sure when I discipline my kids, they hate me. They want to fight me. And so it's probably easy not to discipline. But I want to tell you that God did not give up on Israel.
He could have said, wah, I, I called you out of Egypt, I saved you guys, I fed you in the wilderness, I led you to the promised land, I've given you so much over the years and now you still do this to Me? Recalcitrant offenders? Alright, I'm going to give you up, Israel. I'm just going to move on to the Chinese. Whoa, not bad. Too bad God never said that. He stuck with Israel. He never gave up on Israel. You realize that? He never gave up on these people.
They will have their valleys and their troughs, they will have their low points, but God never gives up on Israel. And He never gives in to Israel. He never says, well, you like Baal so much, you like these wooden statues so much, okay, I'll let you worship ah. I'll just tolerate lah. You go, you go enjoy yourself with all these foreign gods. He never did that. Because it's number one, wrong, and number two, it's highly destructive to them.
You know, real love is not, as I've said, giving in to your child to do whatever he wishes. You don't love the child and accept all his sins and allow him to continue in his sins. That is not love. Real love is loving him despite his sins and helping him out of his sins. That's what real love should be because that's what God does for the people of Israel.
And I want to say today, perhaps, as you go through the pains and sufferings in life, it's not because God has given up on you, but that God has loved you and wants to turn you.
I've been meeting a few people who have yet to know the Lord Jesus Christ in recent weeks. And there's this young man, I think he has had a very difficult, troubled past. Grew up in a broken home. The father abandons the family. He's a drunkard, he's a gambler, he's an abuser. This young man grew up with inferiority complex, with stress, anxiety. He soon went into drugs, into all kinds of crimes, all kinds of sins. He suffers till today.
And as a result of his pain of his soul and his mind, he has sought all kinds of help. All kinds of philosophies, science, stones, astrology or astrono..., astrology or astronomy. My English not so powderful. One of these things. And he said, I came to church because this is my last resort.
We have been looking into the Bible together. And when we first met, he has a lot of emotional issues. I hardly could get a word in. He was just talking and just shared a little bit of the Bible and said, would you read a passage and let's meet up again? The next time we met, dramatically less emoting and venting about himself, but a quick desire to go to the Scriptures.
He says, can I meet again? Let's meet. And we meet again in another passage. This time, after two minutes of talking about himself, he goes right into the Bible. And he was like a pastor to me, because he was trying to explain verse by verse by verse by verse what this means, what this means, what this means. He has done his research. He's hungry. Just met him last week again.
He's, after meeting him on a Tuesday, he said, uh can I meet again? Alright, let's meet on Wednesday. And, and he says, yesterday, can we don't just discuss one chapter, can we discuss two chapters? He has come to understand the amazing grace of, he was shocked when he understood that God would save man not because of anything man will do or have done or can do, but all because of Jesus Christ. He was shocked at the concept of grace.
And he says, this is life-changing. He says, it's a deep joy. He says, right now, even if he's, he's to lose an arm and a leg, he's willing to do it. Now, I know better than to just ah say, ah you're definitely saved. I say, I love to continue to follow up and to see how your life changes and to see fruit that is born. But I'm absolutely delighted that you've come to understand these things and want to believe these things.
And on looking back, he and I would say, his journey to this narrow gate is made possible because of afflictions. If not because of pain, he will not be humbled, he will not be desperate, he will not turn to God who alone saves. I can go on and on. I have so many examples in recent weeks of people who are coming to God in the Bible because of afflictions in life.
Now, they are not coming to God to say, remove my afflictions. But through afflictions, they are searching the real meaning and the satisfaction of life. And I believe God has set His love on these dear folks. And whilst they may be going in wrong directions in time past, by pain and afflictions are drawing them back to Himself.
Maybe today you're going through hardships, and you're tempted to be angry, you're tempted to doubt God. Maybe today God is calling you back to Himself, that's all. Would you, hear Him and listen?
3. Assures His People
Finally in this text, I share with you God's love, not just in adopting them to bless them, not just in afflicting them to turn them, but God would assure His people about their future. You see, it's devastating, it's, it's crushing to to know that or to go through sufferings like what the Israelites would go through. But through it all, God assures His people that their suffering will not be the full stop or the period of their lives.
I will not execute My burning anger. I will not again destroy Ephraim. For I am God and not a man. I'm not like you guys. Huh, you may execute fierce vengeance, but, on on the people you have said to love, but I will not do that. I'm faithful, I'm merciful. I will not come in wrath. There will come a day where they shall go after the LORD. He will roar like a lion and when He roars, He gathers His children, trembling from the west. They shall come trembling like birds from Egypt, like doves from the land of Assyria. And I will return them to their homes, declares the LORD.
So I will allow you and indeed send you to Assyria, but I will not leave you there forever. There will be a day you'll come back home. Now I want to tell you, actually Israel, the northern kingdom, never came back at all, up to today. Very strange. Judah that was captured by the Babylonians eventually came back to Jerusalem because God brought them back after 70 years.
But the northern kingdom of Israel, captured in Assyrians, settled and never really came back in a sense. So this sounds like, eh does not quite fulfill that promise. There was no edict from the emperor or from the king that northern Israel can come back. Maybe isolated people can come back, but not as a whole.
Another interesting thing is that we see this phrase, trembling from the west. Now this is weird, because if you look at a map, you'll see that Samaria, Jerusalem, this is Israel. To the west is the sea, just to get your geography oriented. I know a lot of people don't know what is west and east one. This, this is west. I I always remember Changi Airport in the east. So west, alright, this is west.
To the west, how to come to the west? Because the Israelites when they were captured, they were captured to Assyria, which is to the east. Why then did God say come back from the west? Well, the word west literally in the Hebrew is the seas. Really, because that's their geography, that's their mindset. The west is the sea, the Mediterranean Sea.
So, God is saying there will come a day where people will come in from the seas. But we are captured to the east leh. So, the best gauge of this is that God is saying, not that Israel will come back from Assyria, but there will come a day when the people of Israel from all over the world would come back home to Me, via the seas, from the whole world.
In other words, this prophecy is not looking to a day of just physical migration back from exile. But this is a prophecy I think that is further into the future, something that we have not even seen in our day, where Israel as a people would repent of their sins, by and large, and come back to God, Jehovah.
You see, that's the promise even in the days of Moses. I mean, this is centuries even before Hosea. Moses, I mean, a long time ago, said, God said via Moses, if your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there the LORD your God will gather you. I think this is more than Assyria and Babylon. From all over the world, you know. And the LORD your God will not just bring you back to Israel physically, but will bring you back spiritually. There will come a day where God will circumcise your heart. This is something that other people got to do. You don't do it yourself. You can't. God will do it for you. He will circumcise your heart, so that you will love the LORD.
For, for centuries, Israel, by and large, doesn't love the LORD. But there will come a day where you will love the LORD, and you will obey the voice of the LORD. Fast forward to contemporaries, times, very close to Hosea's day. Jeremiah would say, for this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD. I will put My law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. I'll do something.
Since they are impotent to turn to Me, I will do something for them now. They can't seek Me. They can't find Me. So I'll do this for them. I'll put My law within their hearts. They shall know Me. I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
And again, this is also corroborated by Ezekiel. Now, please don't be, don't be, like, wah, so chim, Ezekiel. It's just a name lah. Wah, very chim ah, must mean very complicated. It's just a name. It's just a name of a prophet. And God used the name of this person to say, I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean. And from all your idols, I will cleanse you. I will do this for Israel. And I will give you a new heart and a new spirit. And therefore, when God says, I will gather them from the West, I think He's talking about something in the future. Not just a physical salvation, but a total salvation, a spiritual salvation.
And therefore, I think, I think the, the double emphasis of trembling speaks of the fear they will have of God. It's a reverential fear, different from Israel during Hosea's days.
See, this is God's assurance to the people of Israel. I have adopted you, I may afflict you, but I am still for you. That's His amazing assurance. Those whom I have chosen, those whom I have set My love upon, I will never abandon you. I will always work to bring you to Myself.
You know, there's a very popular verse we read off, and we use, and we pray, and we believe upon. That's Romans 8:28. This is a, like that super catch-all verse, that is like the anchor and rock to any soul who goes through sufferings. By the way, I want to tell you that Romans 8 is spoken in the context of sufferings. Verse 17 talks about the, the present sufferings we are in, and the subsequent verses speak about the groanings and the travail of this creation and how we also groan and we are pained in this broken, fallen, sinful world.
But in the midst of this suffering and brokenness of this world, we can rejoice because we know all things work together for good. God is orchestrating, working, everything for the good of those who love God, to those who are called. You say, who are the called? It's important, right? Because if you are not part of the called, then not all things work together for your good. But if you are part of the called, all things work together for your good.
Well, this is super important to determine. Am I in or am I out? So let's look at who are the called. The Bible says, for those whom He foreknew. Let's stop there. The word foreknew, I'm a bit chim now, a bit chim. Uh, this one is not Ezekiel, Jeremiah. This one is a word you need to know. Foreknew, proginōskō, which means to know before.
For those whom He foreknew, means God has, even before you and I were born, chosen to set His love on a few, on some. Not all, but He has chosen to set His love on some. For those whom He foreknew, I want to emphasize that this foreknowledge is not as if God is looking through the tunnels of time and see which one would believe and therefore after seeing who will believe, He then sets His love on them. No, that's not how it is, because Jesus was foreknown, was sacrificed, according to the foreknowledge of God. It's not that God saw Jesus dying and so on, but God chose.
So, the Biblical understanding of foreknowledge is not predictive love, but sovereign love. He sets His love on some, those whom He foreknew. He also predestined, now this is the word, if the previous one is proginōskō, this is proorizō. You know horizon? When you go to East Coast Park and you look out into the sea, there's this line between the sky and the sea. That's the horizon, that's as far as you can see.
Proorizō means to set in advance the destination, that line that you would see. So those whom God foreknew, He also predestined. If foreknowledge is about the who, the predestined is the where or what it would be. So those whom God has foreknown, chosen, He has determined beforehand that they will arrive at a certain stage, or a certain state. And what is that certain state? That they will be conformed to the image of His Son.
This is the amazing thing. Whoever God has chosen, even before we were born, God has decided that one day they will be like His Son. So that Jesus might be the firstborn. The word idea of firstborn is that He may have the preeminence with His brothers, amongst His brothers who are like Him. Those whom He has foreknown, He has predestined, and those He has predestined, He now also calls.
Hello! Come home! He calls men and women today with the call of the Gospel. Today I'm a preacher. I call out to every single one of you. But I believe God uses preachers to call His people to respond. And who are those who will respond? Those who are foreknown. Those who are predestined, they will be called. They will respond to God's voice. My sheep will hear My voice, Jesus says.
So these will be those who will be called, and those who are called will be justified. As I've mentioned before, pronounced innocent, just as if they've never sinned, because Jesus paid for them. And this is the interesting thing. He also glorified. None of us, in a sense, are glorified, because Jesus has yet come. We have, none of us, in from history to now, has received that resurrection body, but this is spoken as in a certain way. We call that a prophetic certainty. If God says so, it is as good as done, so we can say it in a past tense. It's as if it's done.
So look at this, these two verses gives you these five words that are like five links in a golden chain. Whoever God foreknows, He predestines. Whoever He predestines, He calls. And whoever He calls, He justifies. Whoever He justifies, He glorifies. And you know something? God is the One doing all of this. None of it is by you.
And there is a hundred percent conversion rate. Whoever He foreknows will be predestined, and it will go all the way, they will be glorified. No one gets off the bus. It is absolute bao jiak, better than your Mao Shan Wang at Geylang, sure to happen.
So if you're called, if you're called, if you're someone who believes in Jesus Christ and you love God because He has given you that heart to love Him, I tell you, you must be one who has been foreknown, predestined, justified, and glorified, therefore for you who are called, all things work together for good. This is the basis for Paul's writing of that deep assurance of God's sovereign care for His child, because it's bao jiak. God guarantees it.
The question is, am I called, huh? The greatest evidence of whether you're called is not whether you've been baptized, or whether you wear a cross, but whether you love God. And the love for God is best seen in obedience. If you love Me, keep My commandments. Now you don't keep the commandments to save yourself, but if you know that Jesus died to save you from your sins, you will love Him, and you will obey Him, and that will be the evidence.
And for those who are called, those who are evidenced by a love for God, by obedience to Him, all things work together for your good. And today you may go through a deep trial or pain, you know one day, it will still be for your good. Therefore, Paul says at the end of chapter 8, what then shall we say to these things? Oh yes, we are in a world that is broken, and sinful, and suffering, but if God is for us, who can be against us? Nothing, nothing at all will separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. This is what hesed is all about. This is God's loyal love despite our unfaithfulness.
I hope today, you'll be stunned at the Biblical revelation of God and His love. Let's bow for a word of prayer together.
Hosea is not a book about Hosea and Gomer alone. It is far greater than that. Hosea is a book about God, and specifically His loyal love upon those He has set His love upon. God demonstrated His loyal love upon the nation of Israel, how when they were wayward, and unfaithful, and treacherous, God never forsook Israel.
He may discipline them, but it is always with the ultimate goal to bring them back home to Himself. The God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament. Our God is unchanging. Our God remains the same. He is the God of hesed love and He speaks to men and women today. Now we may not know who are the foreknown. We do not know whom God has elected or chosen, but we do know that if you respond to the call of the Gospel, if you like a sheep will hear the Shepherd's voice. He says, whosoever believes in Jesus Christ shall not perish but have everlasting life. They that believe in Jesus shall be saved.
I say to you, if you hear this call and you respond to this call in humility, in repentance and in faith, then God will justify you. Then I know that He has foreknown you, predestined you, called you, justified you and will one day glorify you. Then I know that all that you have gone through are not curses, but blessings, in turning you from sin, from the baals and the idols of this world, to worship Him and to know Him and to enjoy Him. And my friends, it is all made possible because Jesus paid it all. God sent His Son to die and to pay for your sins.
Maybe today you're here with us, you're not a Christian, you're not a believer as yet, but you know that God is somehow working in your life, drawing you back to Himself. Don't hear my voice, go further, hear God's voice in the Bible as has been preached. And recognize today, maybe your Father, your Shepherd, your God, your King is calling you to bow your knee, humble yourself, repent and return. Would you do that? Would you turn from sin and believe in Jesus Christ that you might be saved? I pray this will be true for you.
And my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I, I think Hosea is not primarily about the Church, it's about an unsaved people in Israel. But perhaps as we think about the Father's love, we may be reminded again of His tender care and affection in our lives, that if He loved us while we were sinners, how will He not love us today now that we are His child? And how will He not work all things together for your good?
So you may be going through tremendous heartaches, remember this, I will never, no never, no never forsake you, you're mine forevermore. Rejoice in the Lord, serve Him, one day it will all make sense. Father, thank You today for Your Word, thank You, You are the God of amazing faithfulness. Please work in all our hearts and bless each one. We pray in Jesus' Name, Amen.
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