Friday, October 17, 2003

Hosea 2:14-15


(14) "Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
Bring her into the wilderness
And speak kindly to her.
(15)"Then I will give her her vineyards from there,
And the valley of Achor as a door of hope.
And she will sing there as in the days of her youth,
As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.

Incredible!! After all the waywardness (see previous posts on Hosea), God is still trying to "allure her" and bring her/us back into a state of blessing.

And what is more alluring than a whisper!?

As a matter of perspective, I've taken to looking for "whispers of grace" in this world. If God is trying to allure me back to a state of blessing, if God is working by speaking kindly in this world, then I need to listen carefully. For if power overwhelms then subtlety allures. Thus, if God truly wants a world of free will then there won't be many thunderbolts from on high. Admittedly, there were some in the Hebrew Scriptures but they were recorded because they are unusual. My surmise is that much more often than not, those kinds of displays didn't happen and don't today.

Philip Yancey argued in Disappointment with God, power inspires fear. But God wants love so God must work with Divine Shyness. In Hosea, God is trying to win back the errant wife (Israel/us). So God allures. God can't just zap me, the wanderer, back to the righteous path?

This is the great debate about free will and God. If God chooses to intervene in any way, do those actions negate free will? That seems to be the argument one might draw from the extended dialog with the French sounding guy in Matrix: Reloaded (there is nothing new under the sun, this point has probably been debated from the beginning of time) where he argued free will is irrelevant and only power matters. He pushed the idea where there is power, free will becomes illusionary or at least irrelevant.

Yet people wonder why doesn't God intervene more frequently and vigorously in the world. Free will is why. The film Bruce Almighty proposes that God operates under the constraint of not tampering with free will. And why is free will important? Love. Without free will love becomes illusionary and irrelevant.

Some might argue, that is sure a high price to pay for love and free will. Absolutely agree. We can't know the infinite mind of God as to why God values love and free will. The closest we can come to understanding the mind of God is to look at parents. Why, oh why do people have children? They know they will enter a world that has evil and suffering. They know full well their children may grow up to rebel. They know heartache inevitable awaits especially during the teenage years. Yet, husbands and wives want to become mothers and fathers. Do we declare them evil for wanting this "experiment" in love and free will?

But back to Hosea, I find the incredibly earthy language compelling and comforting. God could simply make pronouncements from on high but instead chooses to communicate in this down-to-earth and very human sounding way. And so here is a picture of God, wooing the wayward wife back in gentleness and kindness and in dare say I a foolishly and hopefully romantic way.

With Christmas just two months away, yet another example of God's alluring us, the fallen creatures, back to a state of blessing. Imagine... sending Jesus to be born in a manger in an obscure small town to parents from an obsure small town. Whisper of grace... divine shyness... alluring...

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