Based on Hosea 2:19-23; 6:1-3; 11:1-4; 14:4-7.
The Bible tells us that God is love, but we do not completely comprehend this great truth. Our finite minds cannot fully grasp all that God has done for us in Christ Jesus. He expressed unfathomable love for us, “in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). We also see the Father’s love in the beauty and intricate design of nature as well as in His countless provisions for us. Though we may never know how often God has gone before us to calm the storm and to smooth the troubled waters of life’s perplexing difficulties, we know He has a plan for our life. As we allow God, He lovingly and deftly weaves the strands of our lives into a beautiful tapestry. Many times we have reached out with a little faith, following an unction, and found God’s promise to be true. He was working for our good with His unseen hand.
God’s love for His people is unfailing. Hosea exemplifies this love and beckons the children of Israel back to God. “Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for . . . he will heal us” (Hos. 6:1). What is the source of this great love? Let us ponder how God lovingly formed man in His image and communed with him in the garden of Eden. This relationship was unlike any other relationship with His creatures—man is God’s crowning creation. Job declared that God “doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number” (Job 9:10).
Can we imagine the immensity of love to create man as a free moral agent, knowing that he would disobey Him? God’s righteousness required a sacrifice to pay for his disobedience. The only bridge that could span the gulf from death to life was His perfect love. God’s love constrained Him to offer His Son as the mediator through which our sin could be forgiven and we could be reconciled to God. In love, Jesus agreed to “lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
When God’s love is alive in our hearts, we find that our appreciation for His salvation reaches beyond ourselves, and we love those around us. However, we are yet human, and our love is tested when misunderstandings and differences arise. Satan will take advantage of these situations as he aligns with our flesh to sow seeds of contention. If these seeds germinate and are permitted to bear fruit, we soon realize we have forgotten how much God loves us and has forgiven us.
Where do we go when we find that our love is waning? Is it sufficient to will ourselves to a greater measure of love? No, we cannot fabricate God’s love; it is His working in us that enlarges our hearts to more love. We must by an act of the will turn to our Father, the true source of love. As we repent of our pride and lack of thanksgiving, He will fill us again with His love, which is the very essence of who He is.
When Jesus is the center of my life, I live under the canopy of God’s grace. This grace enables me to understand and sympathize with those who are hurting. His love causes me to feel what others are feeling, and I will leave my comfortable surroundings and expand my borders of association to include any unfortunate ones into my circle of love.
To love those who deliberately take their own selfish way and do not appreciate us, or perhaps even disown us, can be a challenge. Love is the only way to touch their hearts. “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief” (1 Tim. 1:15). When we catch Paul’s vision in this verse, it inspires us to love others with the tender love of God. Our hearts become a channel through which His love can flow to our brother, to a prodigal, or an unbeliever. When we are faced with the difficulties of life, Jesus is our answer. He is the perfect expression of love in a cold, uncaring world.
From Adult and Youth Sunday School Lessons, October 15, 2017