Gazelles or Saints?

“So My people are bent on turning from Me. Though they call them to the One on high, none at all exalts Him. How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I surrender you, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart is turned over within Me, All My compassions are kindled. I will not execute My fierce anger; I will not destroy Ephraim again. For I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst, And I will not come in wrath.” Hosea 11:7-9 

Here in Hosea, bent to backsliding, God’s people still refuse to exalt Him, though often exhorted. God reveals His heart. “How can I give you up?” How can I treat you like the dirt or like a herd of gazelles? My heart is turning within, and My desire to console is kindled. I will not vent my anger and destroy, because I am God! I am not a mere man.”

I am realizing that I often attribute manlike qualities to God; I can feel like my judgments are the same as His. Not quite. The heart of God is displayed here toward Ephraim. God seems to be torn between executing His wrath or acting in compassion. He reminds Himself, “I am not a man, I am God.” And so essentially I will not do as prescribed by mere men, I am above the passions of man.

God does not have to do what is “predicted.” In fact He does as He will, in the army of heaven, Daniel 4:35. This means that God meets the backslider here with compassion. He met a prostitute with love and forgiveness, a murderer with a calling and commission, in the New Testament.

There is an air or attitude of mystery and reverence surrounding our God. It is a “mystique” and “His ways are past finding out,” in Romans 11:33. “He hath made everything beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11.

Friends, the “mystique” of God gives us hope; a greater than ourselves is running the universe! His character and nature can be known. He has wrath, yes, but also compassion. His wrath was executed on His own Son of His love; go figure. Wrath appeased, God is content to save some by compassion but others by fear. Go figure some more. God removed our sick head and faint heart, our wounds and bruises, and transferred them on Christ. He declared our wound as “incurable,” in Jeremiah 10, to then heal it from heaven.

A thief spent a lifetime in crime. He asked the impossible: “Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” “Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” How could that be?

For us men, we may watch a person digress and allow pride to keep them from returning to God’s fellowship. We can lower our opinion of them, even write them off. Not God. He continually looks at men in the only way possible and that is through the eyes of a victorious Christ. In this “positional” thinking there are no fluctuations in status, none in terms of God’s love, nor in His Faithfulness to them.

For God, no man becomes a herd of gazelles. Gazelles run 60 mph and do not like heat. They go out at night because it is cooler, they feed also after dark. They wander about from place to place in desert climates. They graze in the open which makes them vulnerable prey. They live in herds. Sound like anyone?

Dirt is the raw of a man. Dirt composes us. Red dirt is our constitution without the spirit. But God. He breathed in man the breath of lives and man became a living soul. Even if man sees himself a “dirty animal,” he cannot evade the caring gaze of a loving Father. God’s thoughts are higher, His ways higher.

Dignity begets dignity and only God consciousness elevates the status of men. God has a vision for our life when we have given up. God has plans to bless us when we have resigned ourselves to perpetual failure. The fact is that if God gave up on men we are all lost.

In closing, a friend confided in me that he felt that his spouse was not really a regenerated Christian. He could find no evidence, though she professed. He asked me what to do. After prayer, the response came, “treat her like she is just as saved as you are, and do not affect her identity by insinuating that something is missing.” Treat her just as God does, with dignity and by “calling things that are not as though they are.” And, pray always for her.

Friends, never underestimate the power of our vision for another person. “God was in Christ — not imputing their trespasses against them, and has committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” This is 2Corinthians 5:19-20. We can change a person by our attitude toward them, for good or for bad. Never project on a person that they are a second-rate citizen or less than desired.

Finally, to counsel men we must put their shoes on, sit where they sit, try to understand, be a friend. We affirm their right to God’s favor; as much as anyone. We tell them of a man called Jesus, “this man receives sinners, and eateth with them,” in Luke 15:2. We take our friends to Him, whose “delights are with the sons of men.” In Proverbs 8:30. love ya

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