Read His Words Before Ours!
The first four verses in Hosea 11 paint beautiful pictures of the Lord’s love.
As I read them, I find myself challenged to apply them in my everyday life.
I can imagine the Lord speaking those words over Ephraim,
but I don’t always make the jump to include myself in that expression of love.
Who am I to evoke that level of response from the Lord?
I’ve discovered speaking Scripture with my name included, invites me to experience the expressions of His love in a deeper, more personal way. Picture them with me.
“It was I who taught (your name) to walk, taking her by the hand.” Hosea 11:3
Odds are high all of us have had the chance to watch a toddler learn to walk or have seen a video showing those first, tentative steps. The family rejoices and cheers for those steps, then move to catch her when she falls. Prior to those initial independent steps were probably several backbreaking parental moments, bent over with tiny fingers wrapped around theirs as they walk around the room.
Let your mind connect those images to the Savior…
“It was I who taught (your name) to walk, taking her by the hand.”
Looking over the years since I accepted Christ as my Lord and asked Him to lead my life,
He has taught me to walk.
His Word guides, directs, and strengthens.
I’ve taken steps, sinned, and fallen flat on my face.
Yet the Lord has been there, graciously accepting my request for forgiveness and reaching down to lift me up, teaching me to walk.
I have learned how to grow and stumble less, walking more and more like an adult alongside the Lord, while other areas of my life still require my childlike fingers wrapped around His as I work through sin struggles and fears. Someday I desire to grow in maturity in those areas, but until then, I will reach for His hand and ask Him to teach me to walk.
And just like a good parent,
His hands are never far from mine.
“I led her with human cords, with ropes of love.
To (your name), I was like one who eases the yoke from her jaws.” Hosea 11:4
While the first verse brings to mind the early toddler years of growth,
this verse calls to mind teenage rebellion and the process of submission.
Yes, that is a bit of stark comparison, but I have discovered the battles, where I’m called to submit my flesh to the Lord, have been some of the hardest fought training seasons of my journey with Jesus.
In the midst of these lessons, it has been the love of the Lord that has led me and not the boundaries set by legalism.
His ways are love based. Proverbs 3:1-12
“I bent down and fed her.” Hosea 11:4
Snapshots of life made sweeter by a meal come to mind:
a toddler’s joyous face covered with spaghetti sauce,
the sweet awkwardness of a first dinner date,
the moments of shared laughter over coffee with a friend,
a mom bringing a bowl of soup to a sick child,
a friend delivering a meal to a family with a newborn or one who has just said farewell to a family member who passed away.
Food is often a backdrop to intimacy, and this verse reminds us that the Lord beckons us to an intimate relationship with Him.
He provided manna in the wilderness,
sent the ravens to deliver food,
ensured the oil and flour never ran out,
and in His final night before death, drew His disciples deeply into the new covenant with a beautiful gift, The Last Supper.
Not only does the Lord physically provide food,
He also provides for us through His Presence and His Word.
As the Lord provides, He proves that His love is extravagant, powerful, persistent, and sweet.
Sometimes I forget that.
And sometimes the Lord reminds me by revealing a love note He sent years ago.
This particular love note is nestled in the first verse of Hosea 11.
“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.”
The cross reference for this verse is Matthew 2:13-15 where Joseph is told by God to take Jesus and Mary to Egypt. An Old Testament verse foreshadowing a New Testament reality, and what an incredible New Testament reality!
Hosea 11:1 isn’t just talking about the Lord rescuing Israel from captivity in Egypt, the Holy Spirit is using Hosea’s words to draw an arrow pointing directly to Jesus! Jesus, the Messiah who came to show the world His love for God the Father and create a way for us to have relationship with Him by becoming the sacrifice that takes away our sins.
“When (your name), was a child, I loved her, and out of Egypt I called My son Jesus, to be her Redeemer.”
Long before our Salvation walked the earth in human flesh,
the Lord put into writing His love for us.
Signed, sealed, delivered.
In what ways has the Lord shown His love for you?
Which aspect of Hosea 11 impacted you today?
Reflect on your day, your week, your month, your year, and see Him teaching you to walk, binding you with His love.
May the reminders of His love bless you.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!