Hosea 11:3,4—It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them in My arms, but they never knew that I healed them. I led them with human cords, with ropes of love. To them I was like one who eases the yoke from their jaws; I bent down to give them food.
John and Hannah found a tiny red-haired orphan, Lo-ruhamah, malnourished and badly treated. They took her into their home, adopted her and raised her with great wisdom and compassion. Hannah clothed her in yellow dresses, Loru’s favorite color. She nursed her to health when she was sick. When the boys at school bullied her, John tenderly held her close, sang made up happy songs and comforted her broken heart. Loru knew what it meant to be safe, to be blessed with provisions and to receive a superb education.
Sadly, when Loru became an adult, she also increasingly made unwise choices. Still her parents saved her from poverty and continued to help her. Until one day she informed them that she was tired of their interference and that she no longer loved them. She preferred to give all her affection and loyalty to dolls she had made with her own hands for they gave her meaning and direction. She asked her mother and father to stay away and to leave her alone.
John and Hannah experienced deep confusion, sadness, anger and rejection. Pain of the worst dimension coursed through their bodies. Quietly they stood aside in the ensuing decades as Loru reaped the consequences of foolish living. They watched her crash, fail, give up, blame, condemn, lie, steal and dishonor her own body with unspeakable evil. Yet when she came to her senses and cried out for their help, they came back and lovingly blessed her.
It may seem ridiculous that a woman would worship dolls, but then isn’t true that if we look closely we find that people worship the most absurd things? And while this story is fictional, it somewhat depicts what God eloquently reminded His prophet Hosea about His love for rebellious Israel.
I have seen children tethered to elastic cords that their parents used both to guide them and to keep them from wandering away into harm. In a similar fashion in the meditation above, God reminded Israel of His ropes of love. Lovingly He led her out of Egypt, through desolate wastelands, and into the Promised Land. When foreign nations conquered her and forced her into unspeakable bondage it was God who powerfully rescued her like a farmer pulling a burdensome yoke off a cow exhausted from plowing.
The book of Hosea shows us the lengths God will go to love His people and hints in 11:1 of the coming Messiah. God promised, “I will heal their apostasy; I will freely love them, for My anger will have turned from him” (14:4). He knew men centuries later would stake His Son on a cross! Heaven’s expression “withropes of love” was knotted in death. One would think that murder would be the proverbial last straw for the human race. Instead it was the divine cord of life extended beyond death to lead us home. St John Chrysostomsaid,“By the cross we know the gravity of sin and the greatness of God’s love towards men.”
There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.—Corrie ten Boom
©2014 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)