Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Producing A Child = What In God's Eyes?

The Minor Prophets Speak to Today 

Producing A Child = What In God's Eyes 

Hosea 11:3-4 NLT

Footnote to Hosea 10:
How have we responded to God's clarion call among us?
After 9/11 - A surge in turning to God.
After Boston - Merely anger and atheism. 
And in other countries?
How have you responded?

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God loves his children. Most men love their children. But --

Producing a Child = Doing What?

in the bakery: father and son

Hands On Involvement

From the articles I have read, hands on involvement by a father in the life of his children is an antidote to many of the ills of society. Expressions of love from a father provide a foundation for healthy adult relationships and even for sexual sanity. Of course if the father has no moral values and teaches the child to be antisocial or evil, the good God created for fatherhood becomes the darkest of nights. It especially bothers me that so many children of fathers who commit suicide struggle with suicide themselves.

The same can be said about mothers. Of course mothers start out hands on, they start out molding a child from the moment of fertilization of the egg inside the womb. A mother who is not hands on and nurturing is an aberration. The American trend of mothers putting their own selves first, above the needs of their children, is deeply disturbing. The children of this mindset are just now becoming young adults and the effect of their mother's and father's selfishness is too fresh to be scientifically measured.

We Christians believe that God is the example 

of what he intended parenthood to be. 

In Hosea, amid God's chastising his children, many of these qualities stand out. Here, in Hosea 11:3-4, God describes his hands on approach for us to see.

I myself taught Israel how to walk,
    leading him along by the hand.
But he doesn’t know or even care
    that it was I who took care of him.
 I led Israel along
    with my ropes of kindness and love.
I lifted the yoke from his neck,
    and I myself stooped to feed him.

What a heartwarming description of a hands on father. What an amazing difference this type of fatherhood makes in a child. I am privileged to have two sons that model this with their own children and they are beloved by those children unlike many father/child relationships I see.

But step back now. This is a description of what God does when he produces spiritual children. This is what God does in the lives of individuals who have actually been converted - made new. And this is the picture of what God does in a church filled with such spiritual children. Not children  of tradition, but children of a personal faith in Jesus Christ.

God teaches us how to walk. Micah 6:8 says the Lord requires of us to "walk humbly with our God." But we are not children stumbling along behind a God that is moving too fast for us. He leads us along as if by holding our very hands.  He personally takes care of us even though he also surrounds us with ministering angels and persons gifted to participate in our care.

And what are God's tools? The ropes of kindness and love. Ropes that are intended to tie us securely to him. To hold us close so that we can feel secure, strong in the Lord, and held tightly with his love. Further more, as reflected in Jesus call, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest," God makes it his business to lift the yokes that weigh us down. He picks us up and sets us in a secure place and there he stoops to feed us.

Is this what is happening in your church? Then you are indeed blessed beyond measure.

If not...why not? Have we become a people who don't know or even care about what he has done among us. Is that why the fruit of judgment creeps closer and even now is erupting among us?

Hosea 11 is filled with words of the depth of God's love, words describing how he cherishes his children alternated with words of sorrow and the harsh discipline that falls on divine children who rebel.

For this week let us bask in the remembrance of his care - of what producing a child means to God - hands on involvement for life.

God himself has taught
the church how to walk
leading her along by the hand.

This is no ignorant self-discovery.
It is personal.
This is no lecture series.
It is intimate
hand in hand
acts of kindness
and love.

This is no laying on of line on line, rule on rule.
It is a breaking of the
yoke of sin and the captivity of fallen man.
A freedom to be what
was being modeled and taught.
It is a provision of care.
A freedom to allow healthy
unencumbered responses
and living.

This is the context within which we,
 individually and corporately
chose to move 
away from God
like a playful child moving
just out of reach of a parent in
delighted self assertion and disobedience.

What a grief we have become.

Photo Credits:
in the bakery: father and son by glasseyes view some rights reserved

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