GOD’S HEART OF LOVE AND COMPASSION
Wednesday, 2 May, 2018
Hosea 11 : 1-11
“Oh, how can I give you up, my Ephraim? How can I let you go? How can I forsake you like Admah and Zeboiim? My heart cries out within me; how I long to help you!” – Hosea-11:8[TLB]
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 someone is flipping the pages of a photo album— a parent recalling the ways in which he cared for the child from early days. Being a parent is a privilege and exciting, but one of great challenge, as it involves nurturing, teaching, disciplining, caring and loving. As children grow older the concerns of a parent are even more: Did we teach them well enough? Are they safe? 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!
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: “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy.” (Psalm 145:8)
“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 and relieved.
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 thee, mercy prevailed, tenderness touched Me; the tenderness of the Father overcame the austerity of the Judge.”
My repentings are kindled together – God’s strong compassions are kindled within Him i. e., with the heat and glow of love; as the disciples say, “Did not our hearts burn within us?” (Luke24:32)[Barnes Notes on the Bible]
God wants us to live, to prosper, to 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; giving bread instead of bombs; 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? Thanks be, 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!
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