Every parent at some point in their work realizes that more talking at the kids does not necessarily create more agreement in the kids. In my fathering I have even learned that the excessive flapping of my gums can do more harm than good. I was that father who could lecture until my children were in a disciplinary coma.
I think God must have reached such a point with His children, the Israelites. He said, “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. But the more I called Israel, the further they went from me. They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images.” Hosea 11: 1,2 NIV
Now I have to admit I am a pretty poor judge when it comes to recognizing a heart that has gone past the point of no return. I have written off people as hopeless whom God later gloriously saved. Then there are others whom I felt were almost to the turning point when God called them from life into a lost eternity (as far as I know). With such things I am continually left scratching my head in wonder and praising God that judgment is not my job.
While I may be terrible at discerning the true hearts of men (as all men are which is why Jesus tells us not to judge), God is not. He is an expert at recognizing the irredeemable heart. He is also an expert at knowing when the time for talking has come to an end. He knows when only decisive action will rescue a heart teetering on the edge of doom.
He knew it with the Israelites and so He told them, “Will they not return to Egypt and will not Assyria rule over them because they refuse to repent? Swords will flash in their cities, will destroy the bars of their gates and put an end to their plans. My people are determined to turn from me. Even if they call to the Most High, he will by no means exalt them.” Hosea 11: 5-7 NIV
If He knew the time with Israel He also knows the time with America. He knows not only when but if and how much. In the midst of it all God like the parent having to level discipline is weeping for the fact that His verbal warnings went unheeded.
He says, ” How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboiim? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused.” Hosea 11: 8 NIV
What came on Israel broke God’s heart. What is to come on America will likewise arouse His compassion. Nevertheless it came. Nevertheless it comes. For as with Israel His “more talking” has not built “more agreement”.
Yet even still if in the midst of judgment hope is not lost. For the faithful church still has the ear of God. God says, “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” II Chron. 7:13,14
God did not speak this word as a deterrent to judgment but said that it was to be followed by His faithful people in the midst of judgment.
People of God whatever may come we must never give up. We must never lose faith. Yes our God may become to us a consuming fire, but “when we walk through the fire we will not be burned” Isa. 43:2 NIV
Ah, but that is tomorrow’s post!