BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
BIBLE STUDY LESSON
For the week beginning Sunday March 17, 2013
(GOD’s compassion shines through HIS anger, judgment, and purpose)
In the Old Testament Hebrew, the word most often used for “love” is “aheb”, and it describes the motivation by which GOD restrains HIMSELF from destroying us because of our disobedience to HIM and HIS Word. It is the one controlling element in GOD’s relationship with HIS sinful people, who call HIM their GOD and SAVIOR. It explains why, through Abraham’s seed, GOD sent CHRIST JESUS to save us from destroying ourselves.
Through GOD’s love we were freed from the bondage of sin. However, as GOD’s greatest creation, we must still choose whether or not we wish to walk away from the plantation of this cruel master of darkness (satan), and start walking in the newness of light and life that GOD has blessed and favored us with, through JESUS CHRIST.
In Hosea chapter 11, the writer gives us a vivid description of how we have abandoned the FATHER WHO taught us how to walk. Here in verses 1-4 we find being presented, the imagery of a young toddler who is just learning how to walk. Here we can also envision the child being encouraged by the concerned parent, who patiently holds on to the hand of this dependent child, gently reminding him or her, whenever they stumble, that, everything is going to be o.k., and that, they just need to have faith and hold fast to their commitment to HIM.
And so the language of love continues to dominate this book of Hosea, however, now it moves from the depiction of “marital love” that is seen clearly in chapters 1-3, to a vision of “parental love” seen here in chapter 11. In Deuteronomy 21:18-21, we see depicted in the Law of Moses, a very harsh way of dealing with disobedient children. There we see a child being taken into a quasi-courtroom setting where he must appear before the leaders of the town, as a last result. There the child is actually stoned to death by the leaders for his continuously defiant, rebellious acts against his parents.
Here in Hosea chapter 11, however, we see GOD’s anger and judgment being overcome by HIS love for Israel, HIS child. Instead of wiping Israel out of existence, GOD says that, for their rebellious ways, HE will send them back into captivity, as they once were in Egypt. This time, however, GOD would use Assyria to capture and enslave northern Israel in 722 B.C (Vs. 5-6). Though they had continued to acknowledge GOD as being the “Most High” with their lips, they did not show HIM honor through their behavior and perverse actions of idolatry. Real Christians, should already know, that, obedience to GOD, is the only way to truly show that we love, worship, and honor HIM (v.7). After all, “imitation” has always been “the greatest form of flattery”.
In verse 8, GOD seems to be tormenting over what HE should do as a form of punishment for HIS beloved child, Israel. Should HE utterly destroy them, as HE did Admah and Zeboiim, or should HE just spank them and let them live? Admah and Zeboiim, mentioned here in this verse, were two cities that had been destroyed by GOD, along with Sodom and Gomorrah, because of their defiant sins against HIM (Deuteronomy 29:23).
In verse 9 we see GOD making the decision, this time, to not let HIS anger dictate the degree of Israel’s deserved punishment (death), as HE did then, with those communities. GOD, instead, reasons that HE alone is the HOLY ONE living among HIS people, and that HE would not deal with them as a “mere human” would, by killing everyone. Here we see that GOD, because of HIS sovereignty, does not have to deal with all situations the same way, but rather, HE can deal with HIS creation as HE pleases, or as HE sees fit (Daniel 4:17 & Romans 9:14-15).
The judgment of death, though called for under GOD’s OWN Law, for Israel’s actions against HIM, is, in this case, foregone. “GOD’s love”, simply overcame, “GOD’s wrath”, and HIS overwhelming compassion for HIS chosen people is highlighted by several pieces of insight into HIS true divine nature, in this book of Hosea. GOD’s “grace” will never trump GOD’s “truth”, however, “GOD is love”, and HIS love will always trump “the Law”. Remember, love that suffers and finds its own inner conflict, will, eventually, always find a solution.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website