Tuesday, 22 December 2020
“How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel?... My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused.” Hosea 11:8 [NIV]
Prophet Hosea presents Chapter 11 as an oracle as if someone is flipping the pages of a photo album, a parent recalling the ways he cared for his child from early days. Being a parent is a privilege, an excitement, but a great challenge as well, as it involves nurturing, teaching, disciplining, caring and loving. As children grow older the concerns of parents are severe like: Did we teach them well enough? Are they safe? Will they make the right decisions? Can we protect them? So on and so forth... This is how like a father teaching his child to walk, the Lord patiently gave the people of Israel direction and cared for them tenderly when they experienced pain and agony.
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 within me!” We see the powerful expression of God’s feelings.
God can’t bear the thought of God’s children being destroyed like Admah and Zeboiim- cities that met their downfall along with Sodom and Gomorrah. Admah and Zebolim are sister cities of Sodom and Gomorah. 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 the parent in Hosea’s oracle. “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy,” as it revealed in Psalm 145:8.