Mercy is one of God’s key tools in fashioning his people. We are imperfect followers of the perfect king and God shows mercy when we would consider it undeserved. We should soak it in and pass it on, even when we want to exercise wrath and judgement toward others…
8 “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 Zeboyim?
My heart is changed within me;
all my compassion is aroused.
9 I will not carry out my fierce anger,
nor will I devastate Ephraim again.
For I am God, and not a man—
the Holy One among you.
I will not come against their cities.
18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.
How can I treat you like Admah or Zeboyim? These cities were part of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Deuteronomy 29:23), which means they were dealt with harshly by God for their sin against the Lord. God is the God of justice and wrath for those who are evil, yet he is also the God of mercy and compassion toward those he loves.
It is very interesting and impactful that God’s mercy isn’t always and only for those who serve him and follow him perfectly. Israel was way off the charts in their disobedience to God in Hosea’s story. Still, God loved Israel. He loved them so much that his mercy was at play at times when we would have thought that justice and wrath would have prevailed.
And so we see that sometimes God withholds his wrath from people who deserve it on the scales of justice. Sometimes, God shows mercy when we would consider it undeserved. God’s unmerited favour was on Israel. We can see that this is not a human response (which might be kill ’em all and let God sort ’em out). God is not like us…
God’s approach with us is similar. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit when he ascended to heaven. His desire was to inhabit his people, even though we are imperfect followers of the perfect king.
The Spirit gives us the fighting chance we need to live for God every day. And that’s the point.
God is developing a people of his own possession. He is building a spiritual house which is made of living stones like you and me (1Peter 2:4-10).
10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
He wants us to succeed, and mercy is one of God’s key tools in fashioning his people.
Soak it in.
Pass it on…