Summary: Throughout salvation history, God acts out his loving nature. He continues to call people out of ’Egypt’: out of fear, out of oppression, out of loneliness, out of meaninglessness, out of bondage of every kind. He never gives us up.
So the very thought of abandoning the people God has lived amongst, to an extinction like that of the cities of the plain, stirs God to strong revulsion. But how does that fit in with what in fact transpired? For the Northern Kingdom, in this passage called Ephraim or Israel, fell in 722 and was deported to Assyria. One answer could be that she was given, after this prophecy, yet another chance to repent. More probably, the answer lies in the remnant, who threw their lot in with Judah (the Southern Kingdom) and whose descendants returned with them to be part of the continuing Israel that meets us in the New Testament as the parent stock of the church. The next paragraph seems to bear this out.
The Distant Future: Home from ’Egypt’ (vv 10-11)
The story which began by recalling the deliverance of a ’son’ from Egypt now returns to the theme that the Lord’s children will be delivered from bondage in the future. But only a chastened people ’trembling …trembling’ will come home at last when God leaps into action with a mighty roar. Thus the story comes to its end; out of Egypt, back into ’Egypt’ because of rebellion; then out of ’Egypt’ as God returns them to their homes because of His compassion.
Yet we know that for each of us, the story doesn’t end there. God has given his people and all the peoples of the world, another chance to honour their creator and loving father, in the sending of his Son. Jesus, in his incarnation (coming amongst us in human form) incorporated all that Israel was meant to be. ’Out of Egypt I have called my son’ says God, so that his purposes might be fulfilled: the Israelites to live by God’s rule and be a blessing to others and Jesus, through his life and death, to bring us all into the blessing of a relationship with God. Where there ought to be judgement, there’s hope, based on the distinctive nature of God. His compassion has been extended to us by the coming of the Holy One into our midst, leaving the comforts of heaven to live with us; healing us, feeding us and leading us.
Time and again, throughout salvation history, God acts out his loving nature. He continues to call people out of ’Egypt’: out of fear, out of oppression, out of loneliness, out of meaninglessness, out of bondage of every kind. He never gives us up.
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