Vol. 7, No. 6
~ Page 17 ~
The first year we were in Italy, I had a Bible study with two teenagers in Cervignano. We were studying the parable of the Prodigal Son. I will never forget the exclamation of Michele Zanel, who having read Luke 15 for the first time ever in his life said, "Che Padre!" (What a father!) And the parable reveals the heart of the Father, God.
It is the heart of the Father that Hosea experienced in the heartbreak of his marriage to his unfaithful wife Gomer. The name given to the second child born was "Lo-Ruhama," which means 'no mercy." The name given to the third child was "Lo-Ammi," which means "not my people." They were terrible names! But they were names of truth, telling of the unfaithfulness of Gomer to Hosea. And they were names symbolizing the spiritual adultery of the Israelites who had forsaken God to follow the idols of the Canaanites.
But the Book of Hosea doesn't end with just an indictment of Israel's unfaithfulness. No, the greatness of the prophecy is found in the revelation of God's continuing love for his people. In Hosea 2:23, God declares: "And I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; then will I say to those who were not My people, you are My people! And they shall say, 'You are my God!'" Again God says,"I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for My anger has turned from him" (Hosea 14:4). Che Padre!
It is that same heart of the Father that Peter is alluding to when he writes his epistle to Christians scattered in Asia and Galatia. He reminds those Christians of their previous condition and he contrasts that to their current status in Christ: "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy" (1 Peter2:9-10). Che Padre!
And it is that same heart of the Father that we can turn to today. The heart that the Prodigal returned to the Father from the hog pen. The heart that Hosea depended on the Father through the anguish of his marriage. The heart that Peter turned to the Father in his tears after the denial. And the heart that Christians can depend on the Father in their suffering. Che Padre!