Archive for May 5th, 2017

It is a widely researched fact that we humans find ‘concrete’ things much better to remember than abstract concepts. Researchers studying teaching in Asia, where children outperform their American counterparts in just about everything, found that teaching in context with concrete examples was used about twice as much as in American teaching.  ‘Concreteness’ helps us learn and helps ideas stick.

In the book of Hosea, we see God once again seeking to communicate his love and faithfulness to a wayward people. God asks Hosea to demonstrate the abstract concepts of faithfulness, longsuffering and forgiveness by taking an adulterous wife and loving her.   What a costly object lesson!  Nothing could be a more concrete picture though.  Rather than being simply a mouthpiece for God’s words, Hosea is called into experiencing the pain of rejection and betrayal just as God is rejected by his people.  We, his readers, are immediately engaged with his story as we hear how his love is rejected, his provision meets with ingratitude and his children (at least two of them) are fathered by somebody else.

There’s no papering over the cracks of Gomer’s behaviour – or Israel’s – but God and Hosea are still hanging in there. Indeed, in the parallels that God draws between Israel’s waywardness and that of Gomer, what is striking is the persistent desire to win her back. We see a stream of consciousness that is constantly thinking of ways to cause Israel to return to her first love: “I will make her a desert … I will block her path …  I will take away the grain … I will lead her into the desert … I will give her back her vineyards … etc., etc.” She’s constantly on God’s mind! He’s forever planning for her return and restoration, even in the difficult times of her rebellion.

Wow – amazing.  God’s mercy is limitless and unfathomable.  No wonder, after meditating on God’s mercy, Paul breaks out into that incredible doxology in Romans 11: “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today, be reassured we’re never going to run out of mercy from God;

There may be people we’ve given up on.  Let’s remember that God hasn’t.  He’s still thinking of ways to draw them to Himself.  Let’s agree with Him today, take up hope and pray for them!

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