Out of Egypt I Called My Son (Hosea 11:1)
God loves his church, like a husband loves his bride, and like a father loves his son. He has had great care in us before the foundation of the world, in his elect, and like a doting father he has loved us from the beginning. When we were new children in Christ, when we were born again, he revealed himself to us as the creator of our souls and source of our rest. We were born into sin, because of our first father, Adam, and while we were yet sinners, in that state of unrepentant slavery to sin, God picked us up and took us into his arms. That laborious drudgery of a fallen soul with nowhere to turn, lost in his own despair, cries out for salvation, and God, our father, loving us from when we were young, comes to our rescue.
Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, but our old man, our false king, our sinful master, who beats us and brands us his own, our Herod, hears about the true king, the real king, who has come to redeem his people, and he sets up a plan to destroy our salvator. Joseph is warned in a dream, and he takes his wife and newborn son down to Egypt to hide, until the sinful, old man is dead, the Herod who ruled over us in our lost state, is dead. The son comes back to Israel. We cried out in Egypt and the son was brought near. His blood spilled over the doorways to protect us from the creeping death. Now that the old ruler of our hearts is dead, we are free to come home, but first we must travel through the wilderness.
The prophets warned us. The prophets still warn the church. They warned Israel. Moses warned them, and then all the rest of the prophets over the centuries. They called them to bear fruit in keeping with repentance. John the Baptist called them again in the time of Christ. However, the Israelites rejected Moses. They rejected the sound teachings of God. They rejected his commandments. The more the prophets preached, the more the church fled from the sound counsel of the Lord. The more the church slipped in to idolatry. We see this in history, and we see this in our own lives. The time spent on YouTube could have been time spent with the Lord in his Word, and the more we are called to pray to God, it seems the more we run in the opposite direction and look for something damnable to do with ourselves.
Yet he taught us to walk. God held our hands and showed us how to step. And we repay him by walking in the wrong path. We choose the wide path of destruction, not the narrow path of Christ. He took us in our arms, and then we pushed him away. He healed our hearts, and then we attributed the healing to worldly things and celebrated the darkness. God restrains us from self-destruction and heinous ruin, and yet we complain that he fastened any kind of yoke to us, even though the bonds he gave us were easy and the burden light. The cords he ties us with improve us, but our sin cries out that he has made our lives worse. Every word that comes from his mouth is precious remedy for our souls, and yet we spit his word out of our mouth as if it were poison.
We will not return to the land of Egypt. Our old lives are truly behind us, but many will attempt to return there, and what they will find is much, much worse than Egypt. In Egypt, God was there, he sustained us and gave us good things, even in our adversity. In Assyria, where the unrepentant sinner is bound, there is no solace from God. There is no hope. When we go to Assyria, we ask God to forsake us. We ask him to remove himself from our lives forever, and when that happens, we realize how much God had been caring for us all along, now that it is gone. We refuse to return, because the sanctifying wilderness is too rough, and we would rather return to our place of sin. But now, our sin has overtaken us, and it is in complete control of our lives. When all is sin, all is death, and all is sorrow.
But he will never give up his elect. He will never surrender his true church. He will never destroy us, and his heart breaks for us. He is compassionate, slow to anger, and he is patient for us to awaken and return to him. We will walk the narrow way, because he is fierce and strong, and he is our protector. Like the child who is severely disciplined, he trembles and shakes as he returns to the father's side in repentance and awe.
Jesus died for our sins. He came to Egypt to rescue us, and he led us away from sin and death. He opened his arms and embraced us. Now, we go through trials, we go through wilderness, and we are tempted to walk away from it all, back to our sins in Egypt, not knowing that we will not get Egypt but Assyria. Go trembling to the side of the father through the love of the son. Only through Christ is one redeemed. He suffered all things on our behalf, so that we would not suffer again for eternity.