Thursday, March 12, 2009

The following piece comes from a book I’m reading called “The openness of God”. The context of the passage is a critical look at the nature of this God of Love we serve. My Puritan authors are nearly leaping off my bookshelves in horror as I read this but I find it a sweet nectar.

“…..The prophets use other human relationships to describe divine emotion as well.
Hosea compares God’s feelings for Israel with a parent’s tender longing for a wayward child:
When Israel was a child, I loved him…. It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them up in my arms…. I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them…. How can I give you up Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel?... My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender.
Hos. 11:1,3,4,8 NRSV

The husband-wife and parent-child metaphors illuminate the experience of God in a unique and indispensable way. Whereas the metaphors of king and subject, judge and criminal emphasize power and punishment in God’s relation to his people, these family metaphors emphasize love and commitment.

It is not uncommon for people to dismiss these emotional descriptions of God, numerous though they are, as poetic flights essentially unrelated to the central qualities that the Old testament attributes to God. As they see it, the real God of the Bible is made of sterner stuff. He is powerful, authoritarian and inflexible, so the tender feelings we read of in the prophets are merely examples of poetic license. As I understand it, however, the evidence supports a strikingly different conclusion.”
Sculpture by Mark Hopkins


Mel said...

How inutterably precious... Sweet nectar, Indeed! I love, love, LOVE those verses! I'm adding them to my list of favorites, right now! :)

FCB said...

Hi Mel, me too. Makes me wonder how as we search the pantry for sweets, we can miss such a delectable treat!
God bless,

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Fred :)

Very interesting post.

In the Old Testament God is generally portrayed as a tough God but in the New Testament, He is always shown as a compassionate, forgiving, loving God.

But there seems to be exceptions as you have indicated.

Many thanks for sharing.

Best wishes :)