A Parent’s Love, A Lion’s Roar

A Parent's Love, A Lion's Roar

 

Sometimes (or perhaps most of the time) our Christian faith compels us to go against the grain- to be the one blue fish in a sea of goldfish, the one colored pencil in a box of pens. Sometimes God calls us to stand out by refusing to conform with the rest of our world. Yet, standing out can be a challenging place to be. The prophets in the Hebrew Bible were people who knew what it was like to stand out. God called them to do and say things that set them apart from the rest of the world. In this new series, we are examining a different prophet each week to learn how we can stand out from the world to faithfully follow God.

This week we studied the prophet Hosea. Hosea was a prophet in the Northern Kingdom of Israel in the 8th century during a time of political and religious turmoil. Two vivid metaphors frame Hosea’s book to describe God’s relationship with Israel. The first is the image of a faithful husband and unfaithful wife, and the second is a loving parent and rebellious child. We focused on the second image in this week’s sermon. We read Hosea 11:1-11, which shows God as a compassionate parent that nurtures and cares for Israel. God loves Israel, calls them, teaches them to walk, leads them, and bends down to feed them. However, Israel does not realize all that God has done for them, and Israel rebels against God and turns to worship other gods. Israel’s disobedience breaks God’s heart and angers God, and God says they will go back to Egypt. Egypt is the place of slavery and captivity, the place where the Israelites were before God liberated them. Yet, God’s love ultimately overpowers God’s anger. God questions, “How can I give you up, Israel?” God calls Israel back home with the roar of a lion.
This story is not only an analogy of God’s relationship with Israel but also of God’s relationship with us. We too are that wayward child that does not realize all God has done for us, so we chase after idols. While we are the lost and wayward child, God is the loving parent, who beckons us to come back home. We see in this passage that God loves us with a love that does not give up on us. It is a love that won’t let us go. While human love fails sometimes, for parents give up on their children and couples get divorced, God’s love never fails.
Questions to Consider and Discuss:
1. As you read this passage, what word or phrase sticks out to you? What is God speaking to you?
2. As you think about this passage, which person who loves you or you love comes to mind?
3. What experience have you had that remind you of God’s love?
Scripture Readings: 
Monday- Hosea ch. 1-3
Tuesday- Hosea ch. 4-5
Wednesday- Hosea ch. 6-8
Thursday- Hosea ch. 9-11
Friday- Hosea ch. 12-14
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