The overarching theme of our Old Testament readings these last few days has been about God’s anger toward Israel for their constant turning away from Him. But, one of the constants here is also His compassion – His relentless compassion. While He seems to go on and on about their sin and wickedness, there is always, at some point in the story, a glimpse of his inner heart.
My people are hell-bent on leaving me.
They pray to god Baal for help.
He doesn’t lift a finger to help them.
But how can I give up on you, Ephraim?
How can I turn you loose, Israel?
How can I leave you to be ruined like Admah,
devastated like luckless Zeboim?
I can’t bear to even think such thoughts.
My insides churn in protest.
And so I’m not going to act on my anger.
I’m not going to destroy Ephraim.
And why? Because I am God and not a human.
I’m The Holy One and I’m here—in your very midst. (Hosea 11: 7-9 – MSG)
I love verse 9 – “And why? Because I am God and not a human.” Boy, that is so true. How often have I gotten angry at someone and simply written them off, or worse, spoken harsh words to them in anger? How often have I wished someone ill will because I felt they were acting poorly, either in general or to me directly? How often have I felt justified? . Just yesterday I was having a particular bad day. The weather was horrible, and I was dealing with some physical inadequacies of my own. I found myself taking out my frustrations on a few others because I thought they were attacking me personally. After reflecting (and after reading these verses) I realize, what I perceived as a lack of consideration for me, was really just oversight on their part. They weren’t intentionally trying to make my day worse, but in my humanness, I had to blame someone.
That’s the key isn’t it? As humans we tend to look outward first to look for answers to our inadequacies, when usually they are right inside of us. God knows that. And He knows that as long as He continues his relentless pursuit of us, that eventually many of us will turn towards Him.
Father, thank you for your relentless love and compassion. I pray that you will help me to achieve that same level of love and compassion. Amen