God Has Feelings Too (Part 1)

pink and green flower buds
When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.  The more they were called, the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them.  I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who. . . bent down to them and fed them.  Hosea 11:1-4
God can easily become an abstraction – all those “omni” words, like omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, that are taught in confirmation classes.  God is a person, well, three persons in one deity.  The personal nature of God can get lost when we view God as sort of stoic, you know, just ruling the world and sending angels and such.  In Hosea 11 God speaks in the first person, and what we learn is that God has feelings too.
The feeling revealed in the verses above is heartache.  God depicts himself as a father, who rescued his son Israel from slavery in Egypt and raised that child with all the love that could be imagined.  He took Israel by the arms, like a small child, and taught this mob of emancipated slaves how to walk.  He held Israel in his arms to comfort them when they were afraid in the desert, protected them when enemies attacked.  Like a father, he bent down to feed them with manna day after day.  He promised them a wonderful land of their own, and he led them there with kindly forbearance.  When Israel disobeyed, God called them back to himself.  And what did God get for all this love?  They ran away from home and adopted the lifestyle and worship habits of their pagan neighbors.  God was heartbroken.
Has God been any less a father to us?  He calls us his children.  We in America are the best fed people in the world, living in relative safety and blessed materially beyond our needs.  He has opened his heart to us in Scripture and forgiven us no matter how often we’ve strayed.  Maybe though, like Israel, we’ve adopted too much of our pagan culture.  Maybe we’ve taken our God for granted and forgotten him when we get caught up in our little lives.  Do you think God is sometimes heartbroken as we ignore his calls to repent and return?  Does it occur to us that God has feelings too?
To see the heartache of almighty God, look at his Son on the cross.  There God abandoned his only Son in order to save us adopted children.  But when the price of our forgiveness had been paid, God raised his Son from death and assured us that all the heartache we have caused him has been forgiven.  We are still his children.  He still wants to spend eternity with us.  And there we will experience the overwhelming feeling that characterizes our God – love.
PRAYER:  I’m sorry, Lord, for all the times I’ve caused You heartache with my sins and indifference to Your will.  Thank You for Your enduring love and the forgiveness Jesus earned for me.  Shape my feelings with Your own, that I live as Your child now and forever.  Amen.

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