Read Hosea 11:1-8; Psalm 106:34-48
Isn't it funny how the simplest of activities can bring about thoughts that lodge in our minds? One such time occurred this week as I was doing a bit of cleaning. I was finishing carpet sweeping the house when I realized the little tool that rides on the sweeper's handle was missing. It is a small plastic utensil that can be used to clean debris off the brushes. Even though I retraced my steps, looking under things and in corners, the small object continued to hide from me. Okay, I must admit that I didn't look for a long period of time in the way I would have if the lost thing had been the sweeper's handle, brush or one of the little doors that keeps the swept-up debris from falling out and back on to the floor. I simply ended the search with the words "it'll turn up". After all, it is somewhere in the house, and I can continue to use the sweeper, even if it is never found.
Sadly, many people believe that God looks upon them in the same way I regard that missing tool. With indifference because they mean little, if anything to Him. It is at this time that I need to stop and say that I understand that thinking. Although I was raised to believe that there was a God, I thought that any care He had was reserved for the "big situations", such as war. I don't think I ever used the word indifference concerning His attitude toward me, but I believe that I thought of Him as simply permitting things to go on here on earth without a great deal of intervention on His part. Similar to my thought that the little thing that was lost will simply "turn up".
Thankfully, the Bible paints a very opposite picture of Almighty God's care. Rather than being aloof from His people and simply waiting to see what would happen in their lives, we see the Savior's involvement and activity on their behalf. Let's look into that idea using today's scriptures from Hosea 11:1-8; Psalm 106:34-48 in order to see that truth fleshed out in the lives of the Children of Israel.
1. Hosea 11:1-8 pictures the Lord's tenderness in drawing His people to Himself. This is no surprise because it is always God Who is the first One to reach out in love. What tender words are used of the way God called, led them and sustained them, having lifted the heavy yoke of slavery from their necks. He is pictured as the One Who taught them to walk. Far from being indifferent, God reminded His people that He was the One Who initiated a love relationship with them. Like a parent patiently teaching a child, God patiently worked with Israel, continually caring for their needs. This same lack of indifference is highlighted throughout scripture, reminding each of us that God has always wanted us to know that He has been actively at work, calling people to Himself. Romans 10:20-21 speaks of God the Redeemer as having found those who were not seeking Him and having made Himself manifest to them. He is the One Who stretched out His hands toward a disobedient and obstinate people. Not only is God not indifferent in the way He acts, His heart is not indifferent toward those whom He calls.
2. Psalm 106:34-48 pictures the way the Lord actively worked in the lives of His chosen people, even though they had spurned Him and repeatedly gone after other gods. They had not obeyed His command to drive out the nations who worshiped demons. Therefore, they were ensnared by them and learned their ways. They even offered their children to false gods. Yet, the Living God was not indifferent to their cries when other nations came in and oppressed them. Time after time, the Savior acted on their behalf. Yet their actions grew progressively more wicked until they again, were brought low by their enemies. In spite of all of this, Psalm 106:44-46 spells out the ways of God. Rather than being aloof toward His people, He acted. The beautiful little word "nevertheless", Psalm 106:44 ushers in the activity of God. In these three short verses, God is pictured as the One Who is alive and ready to take action. He took notice of their distress, heard their cries, remembered His covenant with them and even caused those who had taken them captive to have compassion on them, Psalm 106:44-46. His love is on display here, poured out on those who had so often rejected Him.
Yet, this is the One we see throughout the scriptures; so, none of this should surprise us since God has been taking action on behalf of people since human beings have been on earth. When Adam and Eve disobeyed Him, He was the One Who called out to them Genesis 3:9. He didn't abandon His first couple in their sin. Instead, He made them garments of animal skin, Genesis 3:21, picturing the sacrifice of the Lamb of God Who would be revealed thousands of years later, John 1:29.
This same God is at work today. He is still calling people to Himself and still actively helping those He calls. What a joy to remember that God is not indifferent toward us. He chose us to be His priests who are given the privilege of telling others what He is like, 1Peter 2:9-10. He also chose us to have fruitful lives, bringing forth fruit that will be eternal, John 15:16. In addition to all of this, He is actively at work helping us to be willing and also to do what He desires, Philippians 2:12-13.
Lord, Thank You that You made Yourself known to us and that You continue to do this same beautiful work, actively calling people to Yourself. Thank You for allowing us to share in what You are doing, enabled by Your Spirit and strengthened by Your power.