God and Israel
The other morning I read a bible passage from Hosea:
The Lord says: “When Israel was young, I took it into my heart and accepted it as my son. I called my son out of Egypt and led him back to freedom. But when I then called for my people, the Israelites merely ran away from me. They offered sacrifices to idols and offered incense to their gods. Yet I taught Ephraim how to walk and took him in my arms again and again when he fell. But the people of Israel did not recognize that it was I who did good to them and made them whole. With kindness and love I wanted to lead them their way. I made their burden light to them – like a farmer who lifts the yoke of his ox so that it can eat better, yes, who bends down to feed it himself.
The image of a loving father teaching his son to ride a bike immediately came to my mind. How he encourages him. How he has his hands on the carrier and gives the young man support and security. The son knows that daddy is there and can bravely try to ride himself. At some point, the time comes when the father carefully takes his hand off the bicycle and the little plug then rides himself. I have done this myself with my kids. Of course it was exhausting to run next to the little bike in a stooped position. But the joy that the child can then cycle makes up for it.
God treats His people, Israel, just as lovingly. He courts them with His fatherly love, even though they worship idols and do not follow His will. God tries to make the people repent by showing them His boundless love. Only the people do not want it, and in the further course of the text it says
Nevertheless they refuse to repent to me. They rather ask the Egyptians for help. Therefore the Assyrian king shall now rule over them! The sword will rage in their cities, it will strike the oracle priests and put an end to their false advice. My people are unfaithful to me, and they will not be dissuaded! They call to their idols, but they cannot help them.Hosea 11,5-7
God is angry and would like to punish the people. But he thinks about that:
Oh, how could I forsake you, Ephraim? How could I abandon you, Israel? Should I destroy you like the cities of Admah and Zeboiim? No, it breaks my heart, I cannot; I have pity on you!Hosea 11,8
Because He loves Israel, He refrains from it and tries it in other ways.
What does this have to do with you?
Just as God courts His people with love, so much He courts you and gives you His love!
Just as He has boundless patience with His people, He has patience with you. Even if you are not perfect, God loves you! God wants to get in contact with you! He has already taken the first step so that you can come to Him: He sent His son Jesus to the earth.
Use this chance!
When I was fourteen, I took this chance during a confirmation retreat and I have to say that I don’t regret it. Of course there were ups and downs and that’s the way it will always be. But I am sure that God is always there! And that is good to know. Back then He answered me:
The LORD appeared to me from afar: I have loved you ever and ever, therefore I have drawn you to me out of kindness.Jeremiah 31:3
All I can say is: Try it out – it’s worth it!
If you have questions: Just write.