a much needed walk & an incredible sunset


“There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams – not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.” 
Hosea 11 // God’s Love for Israel

“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.
But the more I called Israel, the further they went from me.
They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images.
It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; 
but they did not realize it was I who healed them.
I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love;
I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them.

Will they not return to Egypt and will not Assyria rule over them because they refuse to repent?
Swords will flash in their cities, will destroy the bars of their gates and put an end to their plans. 
My people are determined to turn from me. 
Even if they call to the Most High, he will by no means exalt them.

How can I give you up, Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboiim? [both are cities God destroyed along with Sodom and Gomorrah in Gen. 19:25)
My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused.
I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim. 
For I am God, and not man – the Holy One among you. 
I will not come in wrath.
They will follow the Lord; he will roar like a lion.
When he roars, his children will come trembling from the west. They will come trembling like birds from Egypt, like doves from Assyria. 
I will settle them in their homes," 
declares the Lord.

I often find myself resorting back to the idea (like Donald Miller expresses in Searching for God Knows What) that the God of the Old Testament was really angry and mean and then He sent His Son and He got a lot nicer. Passages like this, though, shatter that ignorant notion. There are so many passages in Hosea that go from describing the horrible details of Israel’s sin and arrogant abandonment of God and then the next verse is about how much He loves them and wishes they would just confess their need of Him and come back to Him. 
That kind of forgiveness and love is so beyond me. 
“And now let me show you the most excellent way.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy.
It does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude,
It is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does my delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Lord help me love like You.