Save Time and Preach Like Never Before. Try the new
to this relationship, in spite of the number of times God has put the young nation back on its feet.
Bringing children into the world is always a risk. How will your child turn out? The pain of parenting comes when our children make choices that are in direct contrast to the ones we would make, when they’ve lost respect for the things we value. There comes a time when we’re no longer able to punish our adult children, even though our hearts ache for them in the choices they make. But God’s love is a ’tough love’ that knows there is a time in the parent/child relationship for punishment and so, because the Israelites have transferred their loyalty to Baal, the prophet announces a new captivity of the kind once experienced in Egypt.
The Immediate Future: Back to ’Egypt’ (vv 5-7)
In these verses, the focus shifts from God to the people and ’they’ verbs dominate. Read them: they shall return to Egypt; they have refused to return to me; they are bent on turning away from me. The tone is one of accusation and announcement of punishment. The expression ’return to the land of Egypt’ (v 5) appears to have a double meaning here. As a result of the Assyrian conquests of 733 BC and the deportation of a portion of the people, some citizens of Israel did flee to Egypt as refugees. In the context of this chapter though, ’Egypt’ is a symbol for bondage. Just as the people had once been in Egypt in Moses’ time (as referred to in verse 1) so they would experience captivity again, this time in Assyria.
Even though this section consists of accusation and announcement of punishment, one can also detect a note of hope: the rebels are still ’my people’ (v 7) an indication that although the relationship with God has been strained, it has not been broken.
At this point let’s just stop and ask ourselves some important questions.
Is our ’turning’ to God or away from him?
Is our relationship with God strained? Is he being patient with us because he loves us or is God’s love for us rich and proud, because he is pleased with the way we are living for him?
The Present: The Loving Parent (vv 8-9)
Once again, the ’I’ of the Lord dominates. The Lord agonises over the coming punishment just as a parent agonises over the rebellion of a much loved child, a rebellion that causes a child to suffer. The suffering of the child causes the love of the parent to become more intense. You know how your heart goes out to a child when they’re in pain, whether they have physically injured themselves or they are enduring suffering or heartbreak of an emotional nature.
Admah & Ze-boi-im were cities destroyed with Sodom & Gomorrah in the days of Abraham (Gen 19), and the Lord resolves that such a fate will never befall his people again. ’How can I hand you over? How can I treat you like this?’ God says. He can’t do it! God continues in verses 8&9
How can I ever give you up?
How different is this response from the hard line that may have taken in families
Peter Junor
October 24, 2007
Love your illustration Di! Personal experience I wonder? I note you have researched in Derek Kidner & quoted from him - probably a good idea to cite the source of your quotation. Thanks a lot for this, & for your hard work & thoughtful reflection.