Giving Dignity: Advent Day 9

“Oh, how can I give you up, Israel?
   How can I let you go?
How can I destroy you like Admah
   or demolish you like Zeboiim?
My heart is torn within me,
   and my compassion overflows.
No, I will not unleash my fierce anger.
   I will not completely destroy Israel,
for I am God and not a mere mortal.
   I am the Holy One living among you,
   and I will not come to destroy.
For someday the people will follow me.
   I, the LORD, will roar like a lion.
And when I roar,
   my people will return trembling from the west.
Like a flock of birds, they will come from Egypt.
   Trembling like doves, they will return from Assyria.
And I will bring them home again,”
   says the LORD. (Hosea 11:8–11 NLT)

For much of Israel’s history, the people were unfaithful to God. Through the prophet Hosea, God repeatedly refers to Israel as an unfaithful wife, even calling Hosea to marry a prostitute as a prophetic act to mirror Israel’s relationship with the Most High. Rather than remaining secure in the shadow of His wings, time and again the children of Abraham wandered and strayed, seeking shelter in other gods and failing to embrace the justice and mercy God called them to.

Even still, like Hosea buying back his wife when she returned to her old life, God seeks the welfare of His people, chasing after us when we stray. He continues to call us back into His embrace, even going so far as to send His Son to earth to draw us back into the fold. Jesus is “the Holy One living among [us]” who has “not come to destroy,” but to give life. When Jesus chose to dwell among us, show us the way to the Kingdom of Heaven, and defeat death, He was like a roaring lion calling us back home. Look back over your life at the times you have strayed from God and remember how He worked to draw you back to Himself; worship God for His faithfulness in the midst of your unfaithfulness.