The Audacity of Grace
Lord Jesus, in Your presence may I know who I am, whose I am, why I am here.
Read Hosea 11:1-11
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Scripture “never takes the warmth out of love, the fire out of anger or the audacity out of grace” (Derek Kidner).
My love toward this tiny baby (named after me) was overwhelming. It was even greater than that of her parents who conceived and safely delivered her. But her heavenly Father’s love surpasses that of us all. He knows everything about the child knit together in her mother’s womb (Psa. 139:13). Today’s reading brings amazing insight into God’s mind and fatherly heart, seen later in Jesus’ parable of the two sons (Luke 15:11-32).
Israel, the dearly loved child, rejected the Father’s tender nurture and protection and turned to other gods and nations. The covenant prescribed that stubborn and rebellious sons be brought before the city elders and, if convicted, be stoned (Deut. 21:18-21). (No modern ways of dealing with wayward youth existed.) Here God puts his wayward child on trial. He rehearses his past dealings with them (1,3,4; note the repetition of “I” and the intensity of his love for those called by his name). He brings his accusation (2,7) and announces the verdict (5-7). Hosea may have prophesied after Hoshea’s rebellion, which provoked Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, to destroy the cities of Israel (2 Kings 17:4,5). Their people were put to the sword and those remaining were deported, but God’s judgment was not his final word. With unending grace he promises restoration and salvation (10,11). In spite of all, they remain his people. He will summon them with a lion-like roar from their captivity and they will respond with bird-like apprehension to his call to follow him and return to settle in their homeland.
God’s love is parental, tough love, painful for him and the rebellious child, but makes possible justice, forgiveness and restoration through the death of his Son. God’s love and wrath form two sides of his character, which cannot be separated. Only grace joins them.
“… did e’er such love and sorrow meet or thorns compose so rich a crown?” Reflect on these aspects of God’s character.
Holy One, I am blessed to be known by You and loved by You, as if there is no other person in the whole world.
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