The other day I was walking my dog. She isn’t usually a very stubborn dog however, as she’s gotten older her walks have gotten longer. On this particular day she was usually set on her ways. She wanted to go straight down the sidewalk. She refused to go any other direction and, after much request, I gave in and she broke out into a sprint on the street. Bolting down the sidewalk, I soon realized why she had this change of heart, she had smelt my parents. I could see them and Chewy was excited to say hi. They had left the house earlier than we had so they were further away. Chewy caught up and was clearly elated and so proud that she had found them. She proceeded to spend the rest of the walk by their side, running around them.
However my parents were walking to a friends house, which was quite far away and one that they didn’t want her coming. So we stopped at a park and let them continue.
Chewy, was heart broken. She essepecially loves my Mom. She was forced to watch as walked down the street and around the corner. Chewy’s whole body remained in a position to run after them, the only thing stopping her was the leash.
What surpised me is how slowly she got over the fact that they left. She remained convinced that the right way to go was to follow them. As an experiment I decided to watch her and see how long it took her to realize that she wasn’t going to be allowed to follow them and that the only thing now was to go back.
After 10 minutes I realized it wasn’t going to end, so I started nudging her to come back home. She wouldn’t budge. I picked her up and carried her through the park and dropped her down. She still wouldn’t budge.
It was only once we had crossed the road that she gave up on finding my parents and walked home with me.
As I thought about that experience I began to think about how much more information I knew about the situation than she did. I knew where my parents were going. I knew that Chewy, would not be allowed to join them. I knew that the only place to go was back home. Chewy, on the other hand, knew only the desire not to be left behind. She knew she wanted to stay with the pack and would try as hard as she could to do it. As much as I could try to explain the situation to her, Chewy, being a dog, would never truely understand.
I think I am often like a dog. Motivated by my own primitive, simple desires and unable to see the bigger picture. When something happens in my life, that I don’t like, I consider it an attack on my happiness. I consider it bad or wrong.
On the other hand, I’m not going to stand here and say that everything that happens in this world is good. No. I just think that sometimes the good that happens in the world is mistaken for evil.
I am inspired by Chance the Rappers latest instagram post. In it he quotes Matthew 3:13–17 and says:
“ Before the Son of God began his ministry, he had to conquer one very important formality, he had to be baptized. But not everyone will understand why. When Jesus met John the Baptist at the river, John scoffed at the idea of the Messiah needing to be baptized, Christ responded by saying “We must do all that God requires”. The small details and formalities that the Lord requires of us may seem trivial or inapplicable to our individual situation, but they’re apart of His plan for all of us. And when we follow His plan, He shows up in our lives in a POWERFUL WAY.”
Not only does God’s plan often seem trivial or inapplicable, it often feels painful and counterproductive. Sometimes it feels like it is causing more harm than good. The books of the prophets are kind of like this. They are often filled with death and destruction imagery. God is proclaiming judgment on his people and sometimes it can be hard to how this can be a good thing.
Hosea the prophet is a living example of this. He is instructed by God to marry a prostitute and name is kids horrible names.
“She conceived again and bore a daughter. And the Lord said to him, “Call her name No Mercy, for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all. But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the Lord their God. I will not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen.”
When she had weaned No Mercy, she conceived and bore a son. And the Lord said, “Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God.” — Hosea 1:6–9
Hosea actually named his kids No Mercy and Not My People. He actually married a prostitute. Hosea sacrificed a normal life for this example.
This was all to show Israel that this is how God felt about them. God’s people have left him and gone to idols and had essentially been like a prostitute. God in return had abandoned Israel to the Assyrians.
He has given his people a name that symbolizes his relationship with them. The Israelites were not his people anymore, and they will have no mercy.
However what Hosea might have been unable to understand is how God was going to use this horrible command for good.
I think it is worth it to spend a minute to think about how Hosea could have possible thought that this would turn into something positive. God has chosen to make Hosea’s life a living example of how he feels about the Israelites. And the Israelites are right now living in complete sin. God does not think very highly about them. The Israelites are ignoring their God. Why would God change the circumstance of Hosea’s life and consequently the Israelites? Hosea would think that God would have no reason to. Now what God says next is exactly what no one expected.
“Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children of the living God.” And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head. And they shall go up from the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel.” — Hosea 1:10–11
“And in that day I will answer, declares the LORD,
I will answer the heavens,
and they shall answer the earth,
and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and they shall answer Jezreel,
and I will sow her for myself in the land.
And I will have mercy on No Mercy,
and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’;
and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’” — Hosea 2:21–23
Now there is so much to unpack in these two chapters, but what I want to look at his Hosea’s children:
Hosea’s children are an example of what Israel deserves: Horrible damnation, eternal torture. Infact the entire history of the Israelites is a constant testimony to how horrible they are. Now God is using Hosea to show the people just what kind of treatment they deserve.
But really, what Hosea doesn’t know is that God is also using him to show the people what they get in return for their sins: Life.
God is going to pour new identify into the people. Where once they were cursed they will be blessed. Where they have been pushed down, they will be raised high. There it is, there is the gracc of God. The bible screams this testimony: We will be given so much more than we deserve, infact we are given the exact opposite of what we deserve.
When we deserve to be called Not His People, we, instead will be called his children. When we deserve to be given no Mercy he will have mercy.
Now I know that some of you are facing challenges ahead. In fact I hope that you are, not because I delight in your suffering, but because I want this to be an opportunity for you to rest in God’s presence, knowing that you have mercy, you are a child and you are loved by an ever present God. I hope that you will look at these circumstances not as a curse but as an act of obidence to our Lord. Just as Hosea followed the Lord with an unbelievable obidence, so I pray for the same courage to be on you.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and profound insight, so that you can discern what is best, that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. — Philippians 1:9–11
(Now what I just realized is that I titled this blog “Grace” randomly. I thought this was going to be about God’s plan, and I was about to change the name but decided to leave it as a place over while I write this. Now I realize that the name is exactly what the blog turned out to be. Thank you Jesus.)
(Also, I have fans now? I don’t understand how you’ve found my page since I usually don’t allow Medium to recommend my posts, but welcome here! This place was originally supposed to be used for some of my own thoughts but if you get something out of these I would love for you to follow.)