Wednesday, 03 May 2023
“I drew them to me with affection and love.
I picked them up and held them to my cheek;
I bent down to them and fed them.”– Hosea 11:8 [GNT]
Prophet Hosea in this chapter showcases the intense love of God for His people who now were far from understanding how He loved them. It is as if a parent is reminiscing the ways in which he cared for the child from early days. Being a parent is a privilege and exciting, but also a great challenge, as it involves nurturing, teaching, disciplining, caring and loving. As children grow older the concerns of a parent are even greater: Did we teach them well enough? Are they ok? Will they make the right decisions?, etc. Like a father teaching his child to walk, the Lord had cared for the people of Israel tenderly and patiently led them when they had experienced pain and agony. Yet they had turned away from His fatherly love!
God makes his appeal to them, reminding them of the time when Israel was a child; God loved him as a son and brought him up out of Egypt. But the more God called him, the more he rebelled. Although God had trained him from infancy, taught him how to walk and held him in His arms, Israel treated God with considerable scorn. But God says, “My heart cries out within me!” What a powerful expression of God’s feelings!
God can’t bear the thought of His children being destroyed like Admah and Zeboiim- cities that met their downfall along with Sodom and Gomorrah (Admah and Zeboiim were sister cities of Sodom and Gomorrah). Its as if God says, My heart won’t let me do it. My compassion won’t let me do it. These two words, “heart” and “compassion”, tell us something important and true about God as a parent in Hosea’s oracle as reflected in Psalm 145:8: “The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy.”
Look at the various statements the LORD makes in our text today:
“How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?” - God is infinitely just as well as merciful. Since justice and mercy are to be meted out, God so determines, that both should have their share in the issue--that Israel should be both justly punished and mercifully spared.
My heart is turned – God’s heart is so moved for His people that it is as if He says, “As soon as I had spoken evil against you, mercy prevailed, tenderness touched Me; the tenderness of the Father overcame the severity of the Judge.
My repentings are kindled together – God’s strong compassions are kindled within Him with the heat and glow of love. Psalm103:13 says, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;”
Thus we understand the heart of God from our reading today. God wants us to live, to prosper, live in good health, to be just, kind and good. God wants us to show one another the kind of love He has shown us – in tenderness, caring, nurturing, teaching; showing mercy instead of vengeance; rendering deliverance instead of leaving in the dungeon of sin. God wants us to grow into that which we were created to be- children made in God’s own image, the image of compassion and love. God our Father longs to look at our faces, and see His own image mirrored there!
How would you respond? Let your heart be filled with gratitude to such a wonderful and considerate God who is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy who gave His everything for us whom He loves!
Listen: 'Good Good Father'