WITH BANDS OF LOVE
Hosea 11:3-4 I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them. I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.
Hosea is known as the first of the minor prophets. As it was with most of the prophets, Hosea brought the word of God to the Jewish nation. His admonishing words to them were to turn away fromidolatry. They were accompanied with the threat of God's vengeance for their sinful ways, but, as always, God's abundant mercies were in store for them if they would return to Him and were obedient to His will.
It is evident throughout the bible that God has a tender affection for His obedient children. During the Old Testament days, the Israelites were referred to on many occasions as God's children. In this particular passage, God demonstrates this parental love. In the lesson text, a symbolism of teaching children to walk is used. Initially, the parent will take the child by the arm or the hand, to lead and support them, as they take their first steps. After they have gained some confidence, the use of cords, or strips of material, is often the next step. The parent takes one end of the strip of cloth and the child takes the other end. Although there is very little support, the child is more confident while holding the cloth band because the parent is holding the other end. For all practical purposes, the child is walking unsupported. Using this training method the child is soon walking without any aid at all.
God extendsHisBands of Love to us today. The Psalmist, David, recognized God's ability and His desire to lead him. In Psalm 25:2 we find David placing his complete trust in God. Then in verses 4 and 5, he says, Show me Thy ways, O Lord; teach me Thy paths. Lead me in Thy truth, and teach me: for Thou art the God of my salvation; on Thee do I wait all the day. Like David, once we commit our trust in God for our salvation, God is there to teach each of us His ways. It is obedience to God's ways that leads to salvation.
God's Bands of Love, then, is His Holy Word. The study of His inspired scriptures will teach each of us you how to walk spiritually. God is a loving father. Holding His hand for initial obedience, then holding His Bands of Love as we continue to grow spiritually, we can figuratively walk into Heaven. 1 Thessalonians 4:1 tells us that we should walk pleasing to God, and 1 Thessalonians 2:12 says we should ...walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto His kingdom and glory.
By studying God's word, we learn how he expects us to walk. In 1 John, chapter two, we are told that Jesus Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the world. To be in Jesus Christ is to know him and keep His commandments. To abide in Him, we are told ...to walk, even as He walked (Vs. 6). Colossians 2:6 says, As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him."
Walk in Truth - John tells his audience of believers, I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth (3 John 4). Walk in Wisdom - Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man (Col. 4:5-6). Walk in Faith - For we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). Walk in Good Works - For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Eph. 2:10). Walk in Love - Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor (Eph. 5:1-2).
The above quotations are only a few of the Bands of Love God uses to teach us how to walk spiritually. Observing them, we, as God's children can be freed from the bondage of sin and of Satan. Walk not after the Flesh - There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-2).
Indeed, With Bands of Love, God will lead all men and women, having open and receptive hearts, down His pathway of righteousness to the final destination of an eternal home in heaven.