Wednesday: Compassion Stronger Than Anger
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“How can I give you up, O Ephraim?

Image © Janet Hyun from GoodSalt.com

Image © Janet Hyun from GoodSalt.com

How can I surrender you, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart is turned over within Me, all My compassions are kindled. I will not execute My fierce anger; I will not destroy Ephraim again. For I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath” (Hos. 11:8-9, NASB).

This passage serves as a window into God’s heart: will God hand His rebellious son over to be stoned to death as required by law (Deut. 21:18-21, see also Gen. 19:17-23)? What an amazing insight into both God’s own suffering due to human sin and His desire to save us.

Even though sinful Israel deserved total destruction, the Lord in His enduring mercy continues to love His people while striving for their repentance.

In Abraham’s time there were five cities situated in the Jordan Valley southeast of the Dead Sea (Gen. 14:8). Known as “the cities of the plain,” they were Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar. Of these, only Zoar was not destroyed. The names of the other four became proverbial for the total destruction that came upon them due to their wicked ways and unwillingness to repent (Deut. 29:23). It was to some of these cities that Hosea was referring in the above verses.

Hosea 11 teaches that God’s ways transcend those of sinful humanity. He will not let bitterness govern His decisions. God’s love seeks to bring healing, health, and restoration to His people. The purpose of divine discipline is to correct, amend and reconcile, not to destroy and avenge. Many people, even professed Christians, do not understand that aspect of God, but, instead, see Him as vengeful, angry, and just looking to find fault in order to punish them for their sins. Even worse, some believe that He burns the lost in hell for eternity. That, however, is not the picture of God presented here.

Read Romans 5:81 Peter 2:24, and Galatians 3:13. How do these texts, even more than the ones we see in Hosea, reveal the extent of God’s love for humanity?

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Wednesday: Compassion Stronger Than Anger — 25 Comments

  1. What an amazing love indeed we have in our Creator. He who loved us from the foundation of the world.
    Christ's death on calvery ( Love So Amazing ) for wayaward sinner like me.
    Though His daeth did not present Him with hope of coming out victorious beyond the portals of the grave, yet His faithfulness was stronger than death to redeem you and me. He willed to 'expire' to bring salvation for humanity! Finity mind can not comprehend the compassion of our Creator.
    Despite going to such levels, He still has not left us alone to map out our way to salvation. He still plaeds for every to turn to Him, desiring none to perish serve one for his/her choice.
    Brothren, its high time we washed our wrinkled characters in the blood of the Lamb. When washed and ironed, we will be assured of seeing and dine with Him on heavenly tables prepared for the ransomed.

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  2. God is our precious father who loves even the chief of sinners. That is the reason why He gave his Son to become sin for sinful humanity to be saved.

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  3. Powerful texts from NT. I cant comprehend all deep meaning in them! I just am lost in them, swiming in depts.

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    • [Moderator Note: Please use full name when commenting]

      The trials we endurance seems little when you look at what God did for humanity.

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  4. After reading that scripture and knowing the absolute truth of it, the only comment that one can make if they truly understand the fathomless love of God is LORD enable me to thank and praise you throughout eternity for your extreme mercy and forgiveness through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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  5. Oh what an important lesson about God s character. He loved us whilst we were still in sin and through him we have the sure promise of eternal life. God suffers more than us when we sin because He sees the full picture of the destruction we are headed to in sin and hence saw it fit to be fully human to experience in the flesh our struggles and today He gives us the same power He overcame with for us to overcome sin. Be strong and courageous in the Lord, the devil is a defeated foe and his time is almost over. God bless you all

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  6. After studying this lesson, I have really seen the true picture of God`s love, that what I am doing in respect of His love is not up to the extent. He loves and cares for me even when I am in sin. It is so painful to Him when I go wayward and after his death on Calvary, He also seeks to re-save me. Thank you God for such a wonderful love. Brethren, in collaboration with me,pray for total change of my live now and forever more, Amen.

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  7. Based on the text wich says "will I give my son to be stoned" refering to our life today, is it a sin to take your child to prison?

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  8. Like the rest of you who have so far commented, I am so greatful for these powerful texts and add my praise to God for His wonderful love and mercy. I do want to worship Him with a heart filled with gratitude. I am thankful for His continued mercy and work in my life, and I want to praise Him with you through an unending future!

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  9. Last week when we looked at what God had planned for Israel in the form of punishment it seemed harsh to me. However when I look at this week's lesson, I have come to the realization that God was seeking to bring them to the reality that He loves them dearly and would do anything to save them. His discipline is one of love, repentance and mercy.

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  10. We do like to use superlative language when describing God's love. It is, "like wow!" or the overused, "Awesome!", I hear my students saying. I can remember the old song about if the sky was a parchment it would provide insufficient space to describe the love of God. While the use of superlative language gives some expression to our feelings on the matter, the very best expression of God's love is our love in action to those around us. It is not about majestic prose, or scintillating poetry but about love expressed by living our lives in a loving Christian way.

    How did you express the love of God, when you had to discipline your child today? Was God's love on show when you were driving in heavy traffic this morning and you felt that your traffic rights were being ignored. Were you able to forgive the irritating git in the office when they ingratiated themselves to the boss at your expense?

    The book of Hosea is not about the mushy sort of God love. It is about persistent love in the face of continued rejection. It is about the love that continues when things get tough. God is not the farmer who stands on the side of the swamp and calls the bogged cows to come out of the swamp. God is a "swamp person"; He gets into the swamp, boots and all, to lift the cows out to dry ground.

    And that is the sort of love he calls us to. Incomprehensible, but understood!

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  11. From my under standing of the Bible, God loves us so much, His grace is so abundant, that He in His great love has commissioned His angels to work for Christ to save to the uttermost those who look to Him and believe in Him. Satan in all his power cannot get past Holy Angels to destroy even the weakest of God's saints. A mighty insurance for us.

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  12. Like everyone else, I am in awe over His love, and depend on it to guide me. I believe that His love isn't just to be seen but practiced in our own lives. It seems the more I search to love at His level, I am faced with even greater challenges. How do I love a person who constantly fits a category of a fool and comes to me constantly hoping I will carry all her burdens.

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    • Celeste, Your question is one that exercises me as well. I think that the answer is probably found in:

      Heb 12: 11 "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."

      Rev 3: 19 "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent."

      God's love is not the mushy sentimental type, but tough redemptive love. Our sharing of God's love should likewise be tough redemptive love. Helping people carry their burdens is part of that love, but teaching others to either carry their burdens or lighten their load is also love. Anyone who has brought up kids knows that love is not all hugs and kisses. Both giving and receiving chastening is part of love.

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      • Maurice, I agree with you up to a point but I believe a lot of damage has been done in families over the concept of tough love. People have to be handled on an individual basis according to their attitude and temperament. There have always been the candy people and the stick people and each responds differently. Some will cringe if someone even mentions they have done wrong while others will only listen if you break a 2X4 over their backs and even then they might not listen.

        I don't think anyone honestly believes that sinners are going to live forever or that God simply looks the other way. There comes a time when enough is enough and things have to end. Until that time God trains us like we train a child to walk and when He does sometimes we have to be disciplined in order to get the lesson cemented between the ears. Unfortunately, some never learn who end up going from prison to prison and eventually the only thing left is to end their miserable life.

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        • I am not making the claim that everything that is done in the name of tough love is in fact love. I am simply saying that true love is much more than just the hugs and kisses stuff. Redemptive love has to make the hard decisions.

          And I am very much aware of individual differences - I have two kids - adults now, and two grandchildren. The grandchildren look almost identical but are so different in personality. They are treated equally but differently, if you know what I mean.

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  13. The lesson states: "Many people, even professed Christians, do not understand that aspect of God, but, instead, see Him as vengeful, angry, and just looking to find fault in order to punish them for their sins. Even worse, some believe that He burns the lost in hell for eternity. That, however, is not the picture of God presented here." I agree but not just in Hosea, it is found in a lot of other places in the Bible and throughout Ellen White's writings as well.

    A few good examples should suffice:
    • The concept of wrath is something that Christians see as God getting red hot in anger but Paul had a different view of it as God finally letting sinners do what they stubbornly want to do (Rom 1:29-32). His view is consistent with the opening verses in the lesson (Hos 11:8-9) where God said “How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I surrender you, O Israel?" It is also consistent with what Jesus said concerning Jerusalem, " O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate" (Matt. 23:37-38 NKJV) meaning that God pulled out basically leaving Israel to Satan. That is also essentially what happened during the captivity by Babylon.
    • The seven last plagues is another example. While most Christians view the plagues as coming from God since in John vision they came from the temple (Rev 15:6,7) Ellen White had a different view that is more consistent with Paul's idea of wrath.:

    The restraint which has been upon the wicked is removed, and Satan has entire control of the finally impenitent. God's long-suffering has ended. The world has rejected His mercy, despised His love, and trampled upon His law. The wicked have passed the boundary of their probation; the Spirit of God, persistently resisted, has been at last withdrawn. Unsheltered by divine grace, they have no protection from the wicked one. Satan will then plunge the inhabitants of the earth into one great, final trouble. As the angels of God cease to hold in check the fierce winds of human passion, all the elements of strife will be let loose. The whole world will be involved in ruin more terrible than that which came upon Jerusalem of old. (Great Controversy 614.1)

    These things are also in line with the ministry of Jesus and what He told His disciples on several occasions (Jn 4:1-3; Jn 11:53-54; Mk 6:11; Acts 13:50-51; Mat 10:23).

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  14. God's love is really amaizing, because even if we continue to be rebellious He is still saying come Home my beloved child.

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  15. Maurice Ashton, I relate to what you said completely. It would seem that a gentle word of instruction would work, however, I was referring to “a fool” who makes everyone walk on egg shells or pay the price, like these scriptures reference. (I got the Scriptures off Gateway. They are in the New King James Version (NKJV)).
    Proverbs 1:7 … fools despise wisdom and instruction.
    Proverbs 16:22 …But the correction of fools is folly.
    Proverbs 23:9 9 Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, For he will despise the wisdom of your words.
    Matthew 7:6 “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.
    Proverbs 27:3 A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, But a fool’s wrath is heavier than both of them.
    That’s been my dilemma. After dealing about 3X a week for 6 months, I finally asked that this person stop coming. When she left a nasty voicemail message, I ask her not to call anymore.
    I’ve found the following Scriptures and was encouraged.
    Proverbs 14:7 Go from the presence of a foolish man, when you do not perceive in him the lips of knowledge.
    Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.
    However, the next one blew me in a loop.
    Proverbs 14:3 In the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride, but the lips of the wise will preserve them.
    The other thing is, I still love this woman! And I would like to cry.
    How I would love to preserve her soul, but in all honesty, I cannot consider myself wise in this matter, and I know I could not handle her at this time.
    Is this the suffering the scriptures call us to suffer for Christ’s sake?
    Thank you everyone who responded to my dilemma.

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  16. We need both anger and compassion in our relationships with God and one another. Anger (the righteous kind) is an emotional response to intentional hurts and wrongs committed. Compassion is the action of mercy which seeks to forgive wrongs and set the relationship back on good terms.

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  17. Tyler, I totally agree with you. we have taken for grated the mercies of God toward us.
    If we look at Israel of old, God had done all that He could to bring them to Him and realise that whatever they enjoyed was a result of Him, but to no avail. Then He let them fulfill the haerts of their desires which envetually led then into captivity and then scattered them into Gentile world to this day. This was Israel before the Cross. This indeed shows that God's patience
    and mercy can not go on and on and on. God's time is coming to make all thing new. The old will have to be done away with, no wonder, man has been put under probation before that time comes.
    Even the Isreal of old, though scattered, has an opportunity to amend their ways including modern Isreal and be saved. The point is God's compassion will not go on forever in this sinful world.

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  18. Amos Kanunga- About taking one's son to prison; I think it is correct to do that if that will make him realise who God is. If he is going to learn his lesson then let it be. I know God can use anything to reclaim us and in anything I mean things we see as good or bad for us as long as we are going to get the message and repent. God is wonderful and at times I do not comprehent why I am so precious to Him. Let us stay focused on the cross.

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