In one of our favorite family videos, I am behind the camera, asking 15-month-old Amelia if she wants to walk. Not wanting to be left out, 4-year-old Daryl asks, “Can you take a picture of me doing a somersault?” When our kids watch the video, they laugh. When I watch that video, I long for those tender days of parenting — when they were utterly dependent and each small accomplishment was cause for celebration. The extent of their rebellion was spitting out their spinach.
In today’s passage, God expressed a similar sense of nostalgia for Israel. He reminisced about the early days, when He first called them out of Egypt—in love—and they followed Him. “When Israel was a child, I loved him” (v. 1). Deuteronomy 7:6–8 describes this same loving call: “The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors.”
All-too-quickly His people fell into apostasy: “The more they were called, the more they went away from me” (v. 2). Yet, like a loving parent, God continued to guide them despite their rebellion. He taught them to walk, bound up their wounds, led them through the wilderness, and provided them with food (vv. 3–4). Both of our children came to us through adoption. Sometimes my daughter asks me: “What if you didn’t get me?” And I tell her over and over, “God chose you for us. You are ours. And we love you—no matter what.” The magnitude of the metaphor is not lost on me.
>> Yes, today’s passage still reminds us of Israel’s sin. But we are also reminded of God’s tender love for His people. Sit in that love today.
Heavenly Father, we recognize in You the perfection of fatherly care—yet You also model the nourishing tenderness of maternal love. We thank You for the incomprehensible love You lavish upon Your children!