76 Sermons on the Old Testament

26 Hosea's Awareness of the Father's Love.

I wish to turn now from the discussion of the earlier Psalms, and open the books of the Prophets. Here is where we have the essence of what is most noble in the Jewish religion, in that it elevates religion to a sublime cult of righteousness, ethical conduct and morality, not only for the nation, but for the individual. To a considerable degree, they go hand and hand with, stimulated and motivated, the laws of the Pentateuch, the legal instruments that provide the practical application of the standards set up by the Prophets.

Hosea's Awareness of the Father's Love

I am here, Jesus:

I wish to turn now from the discussion of the earlier Psalms, and open the books of the Prophets. Here is where we have the essence of what is most noble in the Jewish religion, in that it elevates religion to a sublime cult of righteousness, ethical conduct and morality, not only for the nation, but for the individual. To a considerable degree, they go hand and hand with, stimulated and motivated, the laws of the Pentateuch, the legal instruments that provide the practical application of the standards set up by the Prophets.

Now from David to Hosea is about 250 years. I want to pass over the work of Solomon and the construction of the First Temple as a different aspect of Judaism from which I am presently discussing namely, the development among the Hebrews of the human love as the forerunner of the Divine Love and my coming as the Messiah of God.

Although Amos was really the first of the prophets of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, after its separation from Judah, I am going to begin with Hosea, son of Beeri, for in him, for the first time clearly expressed, is knowledge that God loves His chosen nation, or son, Israel, with a Love not as the human being loves God or his fellow man, as the first commandment of Moses reads, but with the Divine Love of the Father for His children. I want you to see and know with complete conviction in your soul that I did not come as the Messiah to bring to mankind something new and revolutionary, but as the fulfillment of the Old Testament. I came to make the Divine Love --- already known by Hosea as overflowing in God more than 750 years before my coming -- the great instrument of salvation and a reality, and available to all men, both Jews and Gentiles alike, and this through prayer for Divine Love to the Father. I was the Messiah of God in that the Divine Love which men could dimly perceive in the love and forgiveness of Joseph in Egypt, in the kindness and faithfulness of Ruth, Naomi and Boaz, and in the sure mercies of David, the Divine Love, I repeat, became in me a portion of the Father's glory dwelling in my own soul, absorbing into its essence my own humanness, and making of it a part of the Living Attribute of the Father. Through realization that the Father's Love was present, and could be possessed by me if I sought for it earnestly in prayer, I did so constantly and the knowledge and insight which I attained with prayer and with constantly increasing Divine Love in my soul through prayer I became aware that I was the Messiah in that I was the first human to possess a soul filled with the essence of the Father's Divine Love.

Now the beautiful qualities of love, and forgiveness and faithfulness which we find in the Scriptures concerning Joseph and Ruth came to mankind through the pen of others as stories, and in the Chronicles about David we have a biography written by other hands, although some of these were quite close in time to David's lifetime. In the Psalms, I have already explained that many editors and priests revised and rewrote the Psalms so that it is hard to dissect accurately what is actually David's and what is owing to others. But in the case of Hosea, his writings deal directly with himself, his intimate family life and his visions as a Prophet of Israel.

Hosea was a man of great sensitivity and spirituality and the sufferings he incurred as a result of marriage to a wayward woman, Gomer by name, made him turn to God as a means of consolation, for he really loved Gomer and was desolate because of her eyes for other men. And God did give him solace, and he was made to understand that, just as his wife through faithlessness caused him (Hosea) agony of soul, so did the faithlessness of Israel, God's chosen people or bride, cause the Father sorrow and unhappiness. But, as in the case of Joseph and his erring brothers, Joseph because of his love, forgave those who had sinned against him, and as God forgives His chosen one, Israel, so must Hosea forgive his faithless Gomer. And Hosea did, indeed, forgive her, and after having sold her into slavery, repented and redeemed her, putting her on a sort of probation so that she might return as his wife once more after she forsook her lovers.

Now this is not a story, as some commentators of the Scriptures think, but is a true account of how through prayer and faith in the Father, the prophet Hosea learned to sublimate his grief over an erring wife into a magnificent conception of the Father's Love for Israel, his bride, and attain an inkling of Divine forgiveness. Through his own sorrow Hosea penetrated with the rarest insight into knowledge that Divine Love existed as the great attribute of the Father, in that it suffers or rejoices, is quick to mercy and forgiveness and is ever hopeful that the person which it loves will cease to be separated from it by a return to the Father and a cleansing of the soul through repentance. And the word of God, through His ministers, came to the understanding of Hosea; saying;

When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called My son out of Egypt. 
As they called them, so they went from them: They sacrificed unto the
Baalim, and burned Incense to graven images. I taught Ephraim (Northern 
Kingdom) also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I
healed them. I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: And
I was to them as they take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto
them. He (Israel) shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian
shall be his king, because they refused to return to me . . .

How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? How shall I deliver thee, Israel?
How shall I make thee as Admah? How shall I set thee as Zeboim?
Thy heart is turned within Me, My sorrows are kindled together. 
(Hosea, Chapter 11, verses 1-5; and 8).

This is the first time that the Father is represented in Hebrew prophecy as displaying these delicate feelings of love and sorrow, all the more significant since the stress was at the time and long afterwards upon God's supposed wrath and vengeance. Here is a God of Mercy and compassion, the conception of which was not to prevail until the appointed time of my coming, even though it had been indicated, as I have said, in Hebrew Scriptures, by the stories of Joseph and Ruth, and the personality of David.

Now in the Book of Hosea, this Divine Love of God towards His Israel was not towards an individual, but for the entire nation. The thought that God could love each individual in the nation or that he could possess His love could not and did not enter the mind of Hosea, for the burning issue of his day, and for centuries or so thereafter, was man's love for God to keep him from sin and acknowledgement of the living God to keep on the path of righteousness.

The prophets sought to keep people from backsliding into paganism, and to seek to keep the rulers of the nation from becoming politically so worldly minded as to neglect morality and the true God. Love, therefore, to God was the great plea of the Prophets and not the Father's Love for His children. As I have said, this was the great insight of Hosea.

Now, when I turned to the Book of Hosea, and studied the character of the man, and his love towards his erring Gomer, I was impressed with the thought that it was God's Love for Hosea -- an individual -- which enabled the suffering prophet to accept Gomer, and that it was His Love for Hosea which sustained him in his griefs and enabled him to attain solace. It was from this, as well from the glimpse that I had of God's Love of Joseph, Ruth, and King David and from the works of other prophets whom I shall discuss, that I realized that God's Love was flooding the world as a light, whether man was aware of it or not.

Mankind never sought for this Love because, as to them, it was as though nonexistent and they prayed to God for help in material things, as well as for purification. Therefore, it was not available, but I realized that, if God's Love was present, as I understood it to be, then I should pray for its possession, which I did, and I became aware of His Soul Love in my own soul. I shall continue with the Book of Hosea in my next sermon.

Jesus of the Bible
and
Master of the Celestial Heavens

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