Tuesday, 22 March 2022
“I drew them with gentle cords, With bands of love, And I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck. I stooped and fed them.” -Hosea 11:4
The Book of Hosea speaks about God’s faithful love for His unfaithful people. It seems strange to us that the Lord commanded Hosea to marry a woman who would break her marriage vows and bring grief to him (Hosea 1:2-3). After she deserted Hosea for other men, the Lord told him to take her back—a picture of “the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods” (3:1).
Today’s reading contains the most touching words in all of Hosea. It contrasts God’s tender reminiscences of His early relationship with Israel to His sorrow at their rejection of Him for other gods despite all that He had done for them. His All sufficient matchless love is that which dictates every divine warning and chastisement in our life.
Proof of God’s love for Israel:
Removes from BONDAGE – Out of Egypt He called us (V.1)
"When Israel was a child I loved him" voices the brokenhearted words of God who experiences the feelings of a father. Israel is reminded of the love of GOD which delivered their fathers from Egyptian bondage. It was love that broke Pharaoh's grip, rolled back the waters, fed manna, preserved garments from wear and tear, prepared land flowing with milk and honey and set the table for them in the wilderness.
God loved Israel NOT because they were better or more in number than other nations but He exercised His free will to show His favor to an undeserving nation. Though small and unimpressive, still God set them free from the captivity of Egypt.
What is your Egypt? – worldliness, materialism, drugs, self, sex,……? The list is unending. God desires to take you out of Egypt because you are His very own. He wants us to step into a life of holiness and enjoy the total freedom in Christ.
DEPENDENCE on Him – HE taught us to walk (V.3)
The most touching, sweetest and tender words in the Bible.
When a child first stands he is taught to walk, sometimes the mother holds him from behind or reaches out her hands in front or hovers around the little hesitating figure with an outstretched arms to guard against any possible fall. The lesson is not learned at once. Sometimes many painful falls occur but the mother is not discouraged. With a kiss and a “never mind” she puts the little one on his feet again, and teaches him to go.
Likewise God holds our hands in His; walks beside us with outstretched arms to see that we do not fall to our folly; catches us when we are about to stumble, and picks us up when we have fallen to our hurt. God is never discouraged but teaching us to DEPEND upon Him alone.
He is our LIFELINE - I drew them with gentle cords, With bands of love (V.4a)
In the mother’s womb, we are attached by an umbilical cord, our lifeline without which we would perish; its symbolized as the cord of love and bonding with our mother. A similar bonding- not of the cords of man or laws, is God’s agape love. Even when He draws His people, it is with gentle cords of love, not harsh manipulation or intimidation. God wants to win us over, not by physical force.
This is what Christ does when we approach him by faith, He breaks and takes the yoke of sin, Satan, and the law from us, to bring us into liberty as children of God. We must realize that God is our lifeline without which we will perish.
He stooped down (V.4b)
No force is greater than the power of God’s love. To demonstrate His love God humbled Himself in the form of man. Phil 2:6-8 says, “Jesus Christ who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
All this Jesus did- for His love for us. How would you respond?
“God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’” – Billy Graham