June 18, 2002 • By Ed Wrather
I will meet them like a bear deprived of her cubs; I will tear open their rib cage, and there I will devour them like a lion. The wild beast shall tear them. O Israel, you are destroyed, but your help is from Me. - Hosea 13:8-9.
Growing up on a farm, one thing I learned quickly, was that you do not want to appear to be a threat to a cow’s calf. Very docile cows that previously have let you pet them, will become out of control monsters trying to destroy you, if they believe you are trying to harm their calf in any way. Motherhood at times, will also make a cow unreasonable and angry, for no apparent reason. As dangerous as a cow may be when her calf is threatened, a bear is much more dangerous. God describes Himself as being just as dangerous as an angry mother bear to Israel.
God had repeatedly demonstrated His love and forgiveness for Israel, but the people repeatedly shunned His love by their evil actions. Eventually God disciplined Israel while at the same time reminding them (Hosea 13:4-6; 14:1-2) of His great love for them. We must not think that we are better than Israel. We are told in Hebrews 12:5-8, "My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.”
We should learn from what happened to Israel. Israel had many loves (Hosea 13:1-2), and God was not at the top of the list. We tend to move toward that which we desire, and love the most. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:33, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” God must be at the top of our love list. When we have God in the proper place in our lives, then everything else will fall into place, as it should be. When God is in the proper place in our lives, then we will have no reason to fear the bear.
Where is God at on your love list?