By Nathan Jones
We continue on with our ninth installment of our faith study of the biblical Minor Prophets book of Hosea. This time we'll better understand the vastness of God's divine heart by looking at His profile when it comes to how He is loving and faithful.
God—A Profile in Loving Faithfulness
Loving. The heart of God is loving. It's easy to think that the God of the universe who called existence into being by merely the power of His spoken word would be altogether self-sufficient, and yet the book of Hosea reveals that God is loving and that He seeks those who will love Him in return (Hosea 2:15-15,19,23; 6:2-3; 9:10; 11:1,3-4; 13:5; 14:4).
Drink in the poetry of God's love for His people:
- "When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son."
- "I will say to those who were not My people, 'You are My people!' And they shall say, 'You are my God!'"
- While we walk the barrenness of an empty life, God declares, "I knew you in the wilderness."
- God will come thundering in and "come to us like the rain" as He seeks to "allure her" and to "speak comfort to her" in order to "love them freely."
- The pure love of God pours out where "He will revive us" and "raise us up" and "heal them."
- "I drew them with gentle cords, with bands of love, and I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck. I stooped and fed them."
- Like a new father helping his baby child take their first steps, God says "I taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by their arms."
- Like a valiant suitor, God seeks to "betroth you to Me forever."
- Like a doting husband God proclaims, "you will call Me 'My Husband,' and no longer call Me 'My Master'."
- In God's loving, outstretched arms those who accept His love "shall sing there."
Faithful. The heart of God is faithful. When God makes a promise, He is faithful and will never, ever, ever, ever break it. When God says, "I will make a covenant," the recipient can be 100% absolutely sure that the promise of God will never be altered, stretched, forgotten or rescinded. So, for God to declare, "I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness," His loving character remains totally faithful to the covenant He has established.
All 66 books of the Bible pour forth testimony of God forever remaining faithful to the promises He has made. That's what makes the unfaithful betrayal by His covenant people all the more tragic. As G. Campbell Morgan explains:
"The most heinous and damnable sin of which man is capable is that of infidelity to love. This is the sin of all such as have been brought into right relationship with God, and then, violating love's covenant, have committed spiritual adultery with His enemies."11
Hosea shares the tender, heart-tearing responses God, in His grief, utters over His people's unfaithful backstabbings:
- "They have transgressed My covenant and rebelled against My law."
- "They have played the harlot against their God."
- "None among them calls upon Me."
- "They have fled from Me."
- "Israel has forgotten his Maker."
- "They rebel against Me."
- "They have ceased obeying the Lord."
- "None at all exalt Him."
- "My people ask counsel from their wooden idols."
- "They have dealt treacherously with Me."
- "They devise evil against Me."
- "Ephraim has encircled Me with lies."
Israel stood defiant, accused by God for "swearing falsely in making a covenant." Do covenants, promises and oaths then matter to God? They do indeed; no doubt whatsoever (Hosea 2:5,18,20; 4:7,10,12,18,12; 5:7; 6:7; 7:7,13-15; 8:1,14; 9:1,15; 10:4; 11:7,12).
In the tenth part of this series on faith in the book of Hosea, we'll better understand the vastness of God's divine heart by looking at His profile when it comes to how He can be pained yet just.
11. Morgan, G.C. (1960). The Minor Prophets: The Men and Their Messages. Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company. p. 27.