Love and Judgment, God's Dilemma (Hosea)
SABBATH SCHOOL INSIGHT #2
"Love and Judgment, God's Dilemma (Hosea)"
April 13, 2013
Memory text: “But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always.” Hosea 12:6 NIV
Hosea uses metaphors to try to bring spiritual truth to the mind in a familiar way. God used this method, and still does, because He cares to communicate to us in such a way that we can truly hear Him and respond to His love.
In the first day’s study, God’s people are compared to a dove, easily deceived and senseless. God is trying to get us to see that unless we are deeply connected to Him, we are easily led to place our trust in powers and rely on human effort instead of placing our trust implicitly in the loving Hands of a loving God. It is so easy to see human aid for our problems instead of seeking the Lord, is it not? Of course, the Lord can use human agents in answer to our prayers, but we must be careful not to use human aid in such a way that, by necessity, we are turning away from the Lord. When we comprehend the goodness of God, it will lead us to repentance. When we understand the Agape Love of God, we will know, more than we have, that He will eventually answer our prayers because He wants to love and bless us.
In Hosea 10 Ephraim is compared to a trained heifer that loves to thresh grain because she can eat as she threshes. Israel had become self-centered. God wants righteousness and kindness to grow in others through our witness, ministry, and character. God wanted Ephraim to work hard at plowing of the soil, under yoke, to learn the value of giving and unconditional self-sacrificing love. The admonition to sow righteousness concerns people-to-people relationships; the search for God concerns the relationship between God and His people. The breaking up of the soil represents spiritual and social reform and renewal. God wants to shower righteousness upon us.
Hosea 11 has the beautiful image of a child in the hands of a tender parent. God has cared for us from the beginning and will continue to do so if we maintain our faith in Him and Christ’s faith working in us.
God’s compassion is stronger than anger. God does not wish to execute His fierce anger. While there are times when God disciplines, He prefers to simply win the heart by love, patience, compassion, mercy, and tenderness. God’s ways transcend those of sinful humanity. He will not let bitterness govern His decisions. God’s love seeks to bring healing, health, and restoration to His people. The purpose of divine discipline is to correct, amend, and reconcile, not to destroy or avenge. God’s heart is like that of a little child-pure, loving, innocent, incredibly kind, sensitive, giving.
God’s salvation will have the last word. He hears our request to take away the guilt that made us stumble. We bring words of genuine repentance as our thanksgiving offering. God then promises us rich blessings. Fruit trees are used as an illustration of God becoming a garden full of blessings for the whole world. Repentance, corporately and individually, is the condition for receiving the blessings of God, by individuals or by the church as a whole. We need to finally fully respond to such images of God’s love, and seek Him with “all our heart.” I ask you, the reader, three questions. Are you seeking for Him with all your heart? Have you sought for Him, ever, with all your heart? Will you seek for Him today with all your heart? And, as a part of that process, will you persevere under trials and duress in order that you find Him, and retain Him in your heart, mind, and life forever? It is truly time for us to experience true and total godly sorrow and repentance, to weep between the porch and the altar, confessing our sins and the sins of our fathers, church, etc. We are called to enter into the Most Holy Place on the Day of Atonement, in Christ, and to fully receive His law, His love, His life, His mind, His Spirit, His heart, into our own. “Unite my heart to know thy name.” I pray, deeply, that you will finally have this experience. “Show me thy glory.” Truly, the whole earth will be lightened with the glory of God. Do not miss the experience.