These chapters are beautiful. So often, the LORD reminisces about the early days of His people.
“When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son. The more they called them, the more they went from them; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning incense to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with chords of a man, with the bonds of love, and I became to them as one who lifts the yoke from their jaws; and I bent down and fed them.￼” (11-1-4)
Although they always seemed to be choosing the wrong path, the compassion of the LORD erupts when He considers His children.
“How can I give you up, O Ephraim, How can I surrender you, O Israel?￼ (11:8)
Even 12:3-4 delves into the story of Jacob, followed by a “come back!”
While there is much theology to unpack here, and worship inspired by the incredible heart of the LORD, I felt compelled to write about how His compassion reflects in us.
Is there anyone in your life who is causing you grief lately? Is there a friend or family member you feel ready to give up on? What keeps you tethered to that person? Is it not the connection you felt at first, back when the relationship was young?
I find this an easily relatable emotion. Maybe that’s why it strikes us with such power when we see the LORD demonstrating love in this way.
How can we continue to love as He loves? How can we move closer to His kind of love? It takes a larger capacity for hurt and disappointment, I imagine.
Maybe there’s someone in your life you need to go back with. Back before the beef and hurt feelings. Back before the betrayals, failed expectations, or whatever.
Who can we extend fresh starts to for the sake of love?
Isn’t it amazing how often the LORD offers His people a fresh start? We’re all broken and in desperate need of this kind of grace and mercy. How can you extend that to someone today? How can you receive it?