Being a parent is hard. I remember the many sleepless nights when my three were babies. I remember the days when I never thought I would get any time alone. And, I remember thinking that the day would never come when I was done raising littles. Now that my kids are all over the age of 15, I realize that I will never be done raising my children. The struggles just become different.
As we watch our kids grow, we hold our breath, and are constantly questioning ourself. Is he ok? Is she happy? Are they safe? Will they make the right decisions? Can I protect them? We all know what it is like to be the parent and let your child have to face the consequences of a behavior. We know that it is best, but we would do anything to take their place and remove them from a hard situation.
Today we are reading in the book of Hosea, chapter 11. The prophet Hosea spends much time in his writings trying to persuade the people of Israel to turn from their ways. He wants them to turn back to God. Here in the 11th chapter, Hosea uses the language of a mother’s love for her children.
“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.” Hosea 11:1
It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them up 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. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them. Hosea 11:3-4
Both of the above verses are what we would call good parenting. Loving a child, teaching them to walk, helping them when they are sick, and feeding them are all things we do as a parent to the child we love.
But, the content of the chapter abruptly changes. The people will not turn back to God. Violence is devouring the cities. Because the people will not turn back to God, they will receive the natural consequences. These include either going back to Egypt, back into slavery or falling into the hands of Assyria.
Will they not return to Egypt and will not Assyria rule over them because they refuse to repent? A sword will flash in their cities; it will devour their false prophets and put an end to their plans. My people are determined to turn from me. Even though they call me God Most High, I will by no means exalt them.
But, keep reading, the text changes again! God can’t bear the thought of destroying His children. God says, My heart won’t let me do it. My compassion won’t let me do it.
“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 Zeboyim? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused. I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I devastate Ephraim again. For I am God, and not a man— the Holy One among you. I will not come against their cities.” Hosea 11:8-9
Though Israel had not been obedient in turning back to God, God still loved them and longed for them to come back. His love for them was wounded, but never ending. How often in our own lives have we not been completely faithful to God? How often have we not been obedient? We may struggle with putting God first and even turn away for a time, but God’s love for us remains the same. He will always be faithful, even though we may not.
…if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself. 2 Timothy 2:13
God is always longing for us to come back to Him, even when we have wounded him. Let Him draw you up into His arms. He longs to have a relationship with you. He loves you with an everlasting love.