Wednesday, 13 November 2013

The love we can't understand

When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt. As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images.
I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them.
I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.
He shall not return into the land of Egypt, and the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return.
 And the sword shall abide on his cities, and shall consume his branches, and devour them, because of their own counsels.
And my people are bent to backsliding from me: though they called them to the most High, none at all would exalt him.
How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together.I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city. They shall walk after the Lord: he shall roar like a lion: when he shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west.
They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria: and I will place them in their houses, saith the Lord.  (Hosea 11)
Isn't that just beautiful?  Whenever I read it, I always hear the heart of a parent behind the words.  How often we are like wayward Ephraim!  The Lord gives us so many blessings, assists us in so many ways, helps us up when we fall, feeds us, and above all He loves us!  Yet how often we fail to recognize His love for us.  We can even forget that He is with us at all.
Last night, Rose was crying in bed, so I went to see her.  I gave her a cuddle and covered her back up.  "You know what you do when you are sad?"  I asked her.  "You talk to Jesus, because He loves you and He is here with you."
"No He's not," Rose replied.
"Yes He is - He is always with you," I asserted.
"No, Jesus is in heaven," Rose corrected me.
While this dialogue is amusing, we are very often like Rosie - we view God as being in heaven, that far distant place above the stars.  We forget that He is actually here with us, loving us, crying with us, wishing we would cast all our burden on Him.  One of Jesus' special names is Emmanuel - God with us.  We can't even begin to understand the love that would incarnate the Holy eternal God into the body of a man only to die for the sin and the guilt and the sickness and pain of billions and billions of wicked people.  Such love is beyond us - but it is the love that saved us, and the love that is living inside of us.
Praise the Lord!

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