The Lord Mourns
Merciful and gracious God, let me hear the tender call of Your heart and understand that You are reaching out in love.
Do you invite the Word of truth even when uncomfortable?
The Lord mourns. There is nothing for God other than grief over what is to come.
Despite everything--their contempt for the poor, for justice, and their lavish but empty religious practice--still the Lord longs for his people to return. Even as he announces the fall of Israel, his word to them is, "Seek me and live" (4,6). God begs them to seek goodness and live (14), a powerful reminder that our relationship with our Holy God can never be divorced from right living and dealing.
There is a desolate grief to this. For God to do nothing is to have his holiness demeaned. Yet, to act as his holiness demands is to pass through their midst in a way similar to the way he passed over Egypt (16,17; Exod. 12). The Lord mourns over his people and grieves over the choice he must make. He longs for his people to seek him afresh. He desperately longs to be with his people again rather than against them (14). But he must honor his own holiness and the covenant he made. Judgment must come, and the people of Israel, in their heedlessness, will be left with no one to lift them up (2).
It's easy to mistake God's patience for God's permission. Ask the Lord whether that might be true in your life.
Lord of life, let me hear Your call to life and bring that call so that others might be saved.
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