Links Daily Devotional

Beating What’s Broken

“I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion.” (Hosea 2:19, NIV 1984)

I have a friend who loves golf on TV, though she has never really played the game. Talk about a rare bird! Even many golfers find golf boring to watch.

What gives for this friend of mine? Why does she love the game? Because she loved her father, and she recalls many Sunday afternoons curled up on the couch, watching golf with Daddy. It was the game he loved to watch, so she loved it too.

Sometimes, even in the kingdom of God, the best we can do is to understand by association, not by earthly experience.

I have been told that we traditional Christians should be careful about our referring to God as Father. Yes, this is the language that Scripture uses, but the thinking is that too many people have been hurt by their natural fathers, and we don’t want them having to sort out such a connection between the God who loves them and the father who harmed them. Which is something of an exercise in missing the point. A father who loves you is not a father who hurts you, scarring your trust and clouding your perspective. This is God your Father, and his every inclination toward you is mercy.

The same problem occurs with regard to marriage. Scripture frequently paints the picture of relationship between the Redeemer and the redeemed with the colors of marriage. And it always sounds beautiful, as in today’s selected passage from Hosea.

Yet we know that marriage is not always beautiful. Hosea probably knew this best, as the wife God had him choose was one who would stray, giving her affections to other lovers. It was a picture of the waywardness of God’s own people, Israel, and it shouted one key descriptor: BROKEN.

The truth is that all the beauty of God’s creation is broken. No earthly fathers rightly reflect the heavenly Father; some don’t reflect him at all. No earthly marriages are as pure as the marriage between Christ and his church; some are not pure at all.

But our God rises above this. The faults of earthly fathers have no effect on the concern of the heavenly Father for the hearts of his children, and the mishaps in earthly marriage in no measure decrease the excellence of the unity the Messiah brings to his covenant relationship with the people who are his.

Beating what’s broken comes naturally to God. That is, it is in his nature to “restore the years that the locusts have eaten” (Joel 2:25), to make “‘my people’ of those called “‘not my people’” (Hosea 2:23). This is the God we must see if we are to look past the broken and keep our eyes fixed above the mire. This is the God who replaces beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3). When we cling to this God, this Father, this husband, we find an association that trumps all other experience; we find one who loves us perfectly.

Jeff Hopper
January 6, 2015
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