“It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them.” (Hosea 11:3-4)
Before I was born again and became Christian, there were countless moments in my life where, looking back, I now realize God was providing for me and protecting me, although I didn’t know it. There were too many times where I should’ve ended up in a really bad situation, or even dead, but now in hindsight I realize that the Lord wasn’t done with me yet.
In Hosea 11, we see a shift in God’s tone as He reflects back on His deep love for Israel. In verses 1-4, He transitions from the representation of Israel as an adulterous wife like Gomer, to one of a dear son that He raised and cares for passionately.
“How can I give you up Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboiim? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused.” (Hosea 11:8)
God loves us to the point that He gave His one and only Son, that we may have eternal life in fellowship with Him. His love is unexplainable, unfathomable, and incomparable. But yet, God is our Father in heaven, and just like a loving and responsible parent, He disciplines His children when necessary.
In verse 9, the Lord goes on to say “for I am God, and not man”, and this statement reminds me that God does not function as man does. We as humans do not have the capacity or ability to give unfailing love anchored in grace and mercy, while at the exact same time, punish for the full measure of sin. His discipline is perfectly just and consistent all of the time, and His grace is more than enough, for He is God, and not man.
If you think back on your life, you will see God’s fingerprints all over it. He has taught you how to walk, fed you, brought you healing, led you with love, and removed some burdens from you life; and you may have never realized it or even acknowledged His presence or reality. Whether it was the miraculous protection, the unexplainable provision, the steady sustenance, or the continuous care, the fact that you are still around and reading this post, means that He is in your midst and has purpose yet to fulfill in you.
Despite that they completely turned away from Him, the Father reminded Israel of His love for them; and so too does He remind you that His love for you knows no bounds. God loves you more than you will ever be able to understand or comprehend, and He has shown that love through Jesus.
I often wonder how He can love and forgive a sinner like me who has turned my back on Him a thousand times, but then I’m reminded that He is God, not man.
[From February 1, 2019]