Daily Riches: Parenting the Prodigal – God’s Perspective (Terrence Fretheim and Abraham Heschel) *

“The image here, obviously, is not that of some heavenly General Patton having difficulty tolerating acts of insubordination. Rather, it is the image of the long-suffering parent and, given the roles in child rearing in Israel, it is probably more the image of mother than father. God is pictured as one in great anguish over what the children have done, but her love is such that she cannot let go. Any parent with a prodigal child should know something of what God must feel.”

“When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
The more I called them,
the more they went from me;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals,
and burning incense to idols.
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
I took them up in my arms;
but they did not know that I healed them.
I led them with cords of compassion,
with the bands of love,
and I became to them as one
who eases the yoke on their jaws,
and I bent down to them and fed them.”
Hosea 9:10-13; 10:11; 13:4-6; cf. 2:14-15

“The striking note of Hosea is that, whereas the common human reaction in such a situation would be give up, God’s love is such that she cannot let go. The parental pathos is the heart of God!  …God’s Godness is revealed in the way in which, amid all the sorrow and anger, God’s salvific purposes remain unclouded and the steadfastness of divine love endures forever. [Abraham] Heschel once again grasps the essential point: ‘Over and above the immediate and contingent emotional reaction of the Lord we are informed of an eternal and basic disposition’ revealed at the beginning of the passage: ‘I loved him’ (11:1).” Terrence Fretheim

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you see yourself in Hosea’s description of Israel?
  • What emotions arise in you when you gaze at “God’s Godness” here?
  • Can you ask God to give you a love more like his? a determined love that doesn’t give up? one with salvific motives?

Abba, there is nothing in this world like your love for me. Thank you for your love.

__________

For More: The Suffering of God by Terrence Fretheim

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The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in 400 words or less. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: God, Our Jilted Lover (Richard Foster and Karen Drescher) *

“Today the heart of God is an open wound of love. He aches over our distance and preoccupation. He mourns that we do not draw near to him. He grieves that we have forgotten him. He weeps over our obsession with muchness and manyness. He longs for our presence.” Richard Foster

“Search the Scriptures,
for in them you will find
this God of the loveless,
this God of Mercy, Love and Justice,
who weeps over these her children,
these her precious ones who have been carried from the womb,
who gathers up her young upon her wings
and rides along the high places of the earth,
who sees their suffering
and cries out like a woman in travail,
who gasps and pants;
for with this God,
any injustice that befalls one of these precious ones
is never the substance of rational reflection and critical analysis,
but is the source
of a catastrophic convulsion within the very life of God.”
Karen Drescher (in Fretheim)

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem,
you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you,
how often I have longed to gather your children together,
as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings,
and you were not willing.”
Matthew 23:37

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you sometimes think of God as looking upon you “as the substance of rational reflection and critical analysis?” Can you reject such thinking as unhelpful and misguided?
  • Do you ever think of God as one who has “carried you from the womb”, and who gasps and pants in pain like “a woman in travail” – travailing with a broken heart because his love for you and others is so meekly returned?
  • Are you able to think about God as wounded by your little love for him? Can you imagine him “mourning … grieving … weeping” over you the way a mother would over her suffering child?

Abba, I realize that even my love for you, since it is so often wavering and half-hearted, breaks your heart. Keep me from resisting as you gather me into the embrace of your loving arms.

 __________

For More: The Suffering of God by Terence E. Fretheim

_________________________________________________

The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in 400 words or less. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: God Suffers With Us in Our Suffering (Terrence Fretheim)

“God desires closeness; intimacy is God’s goal. Further, God is one who chooses to be so present in the finitude and frailty of a human being–indeed, a powerless human being as power is usually conceived. He is one who startles the nations, for who would have believed that the arm of the Lord was revealed in such a one as this (Isa. 53:1)? In and through such individuals, God thereby identifies with frail people. And it is thereby shown that God is not a suffering-at-a-distance God; God enters into the suffering of all creatures and experiences their life.” Terrence Fretheim

“So I weep, as Jazer weeps…
I drench you with tears!
The shouts of joy over your ripened fruit
no one treads out wine at the presses,
for I have put an end to the shouting.
My heart laments for Moab like a harp,
my inmost being for Kir Hareseth.”
Isaiah 16:9-11

“’In Moab I will put an end to those who make offerings on the high places and burn incense to their gods,’ declares Yahweh. ‘So my heart laments for Moab like the music of a pipe; it laments like a pipe for the people of Kir Hareseth.’” Jeremiah 48:35-36

“To hear such mourning on the part of God for a non-Israelite people is striking indeed. Most of this language is also used to describe the weeping and wailing of the Moabites, so that the impression created is that of a God whose lamentation is as deep and broad as that of the people themselves. As with Israel, God is the one who has occasioned the judgment in the first place (e.g., Jer 48:38); but once the judgment has occurred, God joins those who mourn.”  ibid.

Moving from Head to Heart

  • God “has occasioned the judgment … but once the judgment has occurred, God joins those who mourn.” Contemplate that. Isn’t it amazing?
  • Have you ever mourned over some disobedience of yours and the divine chastening that followed? Did you realize that God was there, in his love for you, mourning with you?
  • God “identifies with frail people” – and not only with “his people” (Israel, the church), but with all people (e.g., Moab). Does your attitude towards unbelievers reflect God’s attitude? Can you have compassion even for those God might be judging?

__________

For More: The Suffering of God by Terrence E. Fretheim

_________________________________________________

I appreciate your interest in my blog!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Parenting the Prodigal – God’s Perspective (Terrence Fretheim and Abraham Heschel)

“The image here, obviously, is not that of some heavenly General Patton having difficulty tolerating acts of insubordination. Rather, it is the image of the long-suffering parent and, given the roles in child rearing in Israel, it is probably more the image of mother than father. God is pictured as one in great anguish over what the children have done, but her love is such that she cannot let go. Any parent with a prodigal child should know something of what God must feel.”

“When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
The more I called them,
the more they went from me;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals,
and burning incense to idols.
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
I took them up in my arms;
but they did not know that I healed them.
I led them with cords of compassion,
with the bands of love,
and I became to them as one
who eases the yoke on their jaws,
and I bent down to them and fed them.”
Hosea 9:10-13; 10:11; 13:4-6; cf. 2:14-15

“The striking note of Hosea is that, wheras the common human reaction in such a situation would be give up, God’s love is such that she cannot let go. The parental pathos is the heart of God!  …God’s Godness is revealed in the way in which, amid all the sorrow and anger, God’s salvific purposes remain unclouded and the steadfastness of divine love endures forever. [Abraham] Heschel once again grasps the essential point: ‘Over and above the immediate and contingent emotional reaction of the Lord we are informed of an eternal and basic disposition’ revealed at the beginning of the passage: ‘I loved him’ (11:1).” Terrence Fretheim

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you see yourself in Hosea’s description of Israel?
  • What emotions arise in you when you gaze at “God’s Godness” here?
  • Does this study make you want to change anything in your life?

Abba, there is nothing in this world like your love for me. Thank you for your love.

__________

For More: The Suffering of God by Terrence Fretheim

_________________________________________________

The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: God, Our Jilted Lover (Richard Foster and Karen Drescher)

“Today the heart of God is an open wound of love. He aches over our distance and preoccupation. He mourns that we do not draw near to him. He grieves that we have forgotten him. He weeps over our obsession with muchness and manyness. He longs for our presence.” Richard Foster

“Search the Scriptures,
for in them you will find
this God of the loveless,
this God of Mercy, Love and Justice,
who weeps over these her children,
these her precious ones who have been carried from the womb,
who gathers up her young upon her wings
and rides along the high places of the earth,
who sees their suffering
and cries out like a woman in travail,
who gasps and pants;
for with this God,
any injustice that befalls one of these precious ones
is never the substance of rational reflection and critical analysis,
but is the source
of a catastrophic convulsion within the very life of God.”
Karen Drescher (in Fretheim)

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem,
you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you,
how often I have longed to gather your children together,
as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings,
and you were not willing.”
Matthew 23:37

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you sometimes think of God as looking upon you “as the substance of rational reflection and critical analysis?” Can you reject such thinking as unhelpful and misguided?
  • Do you ever think of God as one who has “carried you from the womb”, and who gasps and pants in pain like “a woman in travail” – travailing with a broken heart because his love for you and others is so meekly returned?
  • Are you able to think about God as wounded by your little love for him? Can you imagine him “mourning … grieving … weeping” over you the way a mother would over her suffering child?

Abba, I realize that even my love for you, since it is so often wavering and half-hearted, breaks your heart. Keep me from resisting as you gather me into the embrace of your loving arms.

 __________

For More: The Suffering of God by Terence E. Fretheim

_________________________________________________

The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)