God, an angry mother bear - 5 October 2018

Xanthe Hancox

So I will be like a lion to them, like a leopard I will lurk by the path. Like a bear robbed of her cubs, I will attack them and rip them open; like a lion I will devour them—a wild animal will tear them apart.  Hosea 13:7-8

In the Book of Hosea, the Israelites are in a pattern of self-destructive behaviour that God cannot tolerate. Israel has chosen to worship cleverly made idols, creating a form of religion out of their own ideas rather than listening to God’s Word. The prophet Hosea warns Israel that there will be tragic consequences for breaking their covenant with God.

And it’s pretty heavy reading. Chapter 13 contains shocking, violent imagery of God as a wild animal, a mother bear robbed of her cubs.

Why is there such shocking imagery in the Bible? Perhaps it is because we are often so spirituality sluggish that we sometimes need spiritual shock therapy. The imagery in this passage is meant to stun us with the fierce love of our God.

I became a mom this year, and for the first time I have an inkling of the ferocity of that kind of love. I’m not a violent person, but if anyone tried to take my little boy away from me, things would get vicious quickly!

Our God loves us too much to stand idly by while we ignore the truth and worship idols. He loves us too much to leave us in our sin.

Today, may we be shocked enough to run as fast as we possibly can away from destructive behaviour toward the God who loves us fiercely.

Prayer: Strong, loving God, we cannot fathom the depths of your protecting love for all your children. Help us to see how your ferocious love overcomes death. Amen.

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