Sonya likes to put little love notes in the kids’ lunches from time to time. Just a little surprise at lunch time. They are always sweet, but I imagine they are even sweeter in the midst of struggle, discipline, or conflict.
I’ve been reading through Hosea in the English Standard Version. You may have read this post last week on idolatry. Hosea can be harsh. Idolatry is ugly to God. It’s pretty intense right through chapter 11:1 – 4 where we read this:
When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
The more they were called,
the more they went away;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals
and burning offerings to idols.
Yet it was a I who taught Ephraim to walk;
I took them up by their arms,
but they did not know that I healed them.
I led them with cords of kindness,
with the bands of love,
and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws,
and I bent down to them and fed them.
What an amazing love letter from the, their, Father. Right in the midst of Israel’s incredible rebellion and rampant idolatry, God dictates a love letter. He remembers the beginning. He recounts their former rebellion. He recalls His care of them. He goes on to speak of their future, the discipline He will have to issue. Then, He speaks of His love for them yet again and promises to call them back.
How can I give you up, O Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, O Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
My heart recoils within me;
my compassion grows warm and tender.
I will not execute my burning anger;
I will not again destroy Ephraim;
for I am God and not a man,
the Holy One in your midst,
and I will not come in wrath.
They shall go after the Lord;
he will roar like a lion;
when he roars,
his children shall come trembling from the west;
they shall come trembling like a bird from Egypt,
and like doves from the land of Assyria,
and I will return them to their homes, declares the Lord.
What an amazing, compassionate, loving, merciful, gracious God. I’m so glad He’s my God. Aren’t you? I’m way too much like Israel.