“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.”
Fathers are great, aren’t they? A lot of our attention is focused on our mothers, but I think our fathers deserve a special mention too! Whilst mothers have had their own day since the sixteenth century (in England at least), it was not until the twentieth century that fathers got their own day. Whilst mothers bring us in to the world, though, the place of a father should not be underrated, neither in the biological sense nor in the practical sense. Fathers work incredibly hard to provide for their children. They support them, they encourage them, and they love them. Perhaps it is the love of a father that is most important, since it is this love which underpins everything else that a father does.
In today’s verse, we see God displaying the love of a father towards Israel, whom he regards as a son. As a father to his people, God loves and cares for them. He provides for them. He supports and encourages them.
Most significantly for us today, though, is the fact that Matthew quotes this verse in his account of Joseph taking his family to Egypt to escape from the murderous King Herod. He sees the escape of Jesus to Egypt, and his eventual return to Palestine as a fulfillment of the words of God as quoted by Hosea. Matthew understands that God is Jesus’ father, and that Jesus is God’s son. Hosea’s words from God are seen as once as a prophecy of Jesus’ life, a prophecy that is fulfilled almost as soon as Jesus is born.
Today’s verse, therefore, reinforces our understanding of God as a father to his chosen people. As those who put our faith in God, he will in turn support us, protect us, and provide for us, just as a father does for his child. But we also see confirmation in scripture of the divine fatherhood of Christ, through the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.