Focal Passage: Hosea 11:1-11
The imagery of God as Father is deeply embedded within the narrative of scripture. Of the many characteristics we can draw from the analogy of God as Father, this passage points to God’s care for His children. Alister McGrath teaches that the Old Testament in particular “often compares God’s relation with His people to a father’s relationship with his young son.”
The patterns of family life seem instructive here. In most cases, when a son is young he is very close to his father and totally dependent on his father’s care (11:1-4). In human relationships we usually see that as the son grows older he breaks away from the father asserting his independence, but when it comes to our relationship with God as Father, we are always dependent. This passage in Hosea reminds us of that, and reminds us of God’s fatherly affection as His “compassion grows warm and tender” for His people.
Notice that Israel is labeled as God’s corporate “son” in this passage (see Ex. 4:22). Hosea references the movement of God’s son Israel being delivered out of Egypt in Exodus 14. Though God delivered His son Israel out of slavery, they had become “bent on turning away” from His loving care. Israel had turned away from the Father.
But like a loving father He pursed his wayward son with affection, so much so that He sent Jesus His perfect Son to obey where Israel had failed. Jesus embodied the desired sonship that both Israel and we could not obtain. Yet, He also imputes His perfect record as the obedient Son to us so that we may be delivered from slavery greater than Egypt, sin and death. Because of Christ we can come to the Father restored to our home, His loving and caring, but strong and mighty arms. In this passage we see God’s holiness and love kiss the cheek of His child.