October 11, 2021
"For I am like a lion to Ephraim and like a young lion to the house of Judah. Yes I will tear them to pieces and depart. I will carry them off, and no one can rescue them."
“For I am like a lion to Ephraim and like a young lion to the house of Judah. Yes I will tear them to pieces and depart. I will carry them off, and no one can rescue them. I will depart and return to My place until they recognize their guilt and seek My face; they will search for Me in their distress.” Hosea 5:14-15
Upon first reading today’s passage, my initial reaction was focused on the severity of Adonai’s judgment. He describes Himself as a lion, even a “young” lion eager to destroy and devour without restraint. There is an image of God put forth by many congregation leaders these days that He is a giant all-loving “Grandfather” type of God. To those who hold to this view of God, He is the type who will never judge wrongdoing and who has infinite lap space for us to crawl up into. Perhaps, those folks would read these verses and ask, “Where is the all-loving, all-accepting God we believe in? How could He do such a thing to His grandchildren?
I once heard a new Grandfather say he liked to spoil his grandchildren with gifts, fill them with sugar and give them back to the parents, like “Top that!”. Grandfathers are supposed to be generous and more gracious than our parents. Grandfathers are always pardoning offenses because their age-honored wisdom has taught them that not every hill is worth “dying on” and because discipline is the Father’s job. Let’s face it: Grandfathers are pushovers, and we take advantage of them! And they like it that way. I can see why this image of God is popular. Because kids don’t have to live with Grandfathers all of the time, they get a distorted view of what it would be like to be that Grandfather’s child. But if a child were to ask their parents to describe growing up under the (now) Grandfather’s authority, the parents would recite a similar situation as every child/parent relationship.
But the truth is, God, is never described in Scripture as a “Grandfather.” He is our Father in heaven. (Matthew 6:9) While He is gracious and merciful, He will not be taken advantage of. Anyone who holds to a passive view of God’s judgment will be caught unaware when that judgment comes. We know He will judge sin because He has promised to. The fact that His judgment does not come immediately should not be taken as if He doesn’t see, care, or have the ability to levy rebuke.
“The Lord is not slow in His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3: 9
Let’s shift focus now, from God’s judgment to His redemption. God’s love for His people is displayed through His rebuke, in that He hopes that Israel would whole-heartedly turn to Him in their distress. His rebuke is intended not to destroy His people but to align them with His righteousness. If you have sinned against the Lord and you are feeling the pain of His rebuke, do not continue to rebel. Recognize your guilt and repent by turning back to Him, seeking His face. Only He can deliver you, and He desires your return to fellowship with Him.