Thursday, July 18, 2019

Hosea 11.1-11: Ephraim Is Walking!

The baby is walking! The first steps of any child are both amazing and precious. There are a number of starts and stops, timid beginnings, interrupted progress. Then, finally, a child lets go of what has steadied them - often the hand of an adult - and careens into the big, wide world. But adults who have loaned hands and fingers to steady a child never really let go. They remember how it was for the child to depend on them. God knows how that feels: It was I who taught Ephraim to walk. (Hosea 11:1-11)
Pablo Picasso. First Steps. 1943. Oil on Canvas. Yale University Art Gallery.
In Picasso's painting here, the mother stands behind the child, holding the child's hands and allowing the child the full view of the world out front. The child is staring with wide-open eyes at the world, while the mother has eyes only for the child. Dressed in light-colored clothing, the child visually advances in the painting while the mother, dressed in neutrals that are much the same value as the background, recedes. This child, created in the context of World War II (1943), is setting out into an uncertain world.

God continues to love Ephraim/Israel as we all know and love the children who at one point depended on us. The child may not need an adult's hand, but the adult's heart remains connected to the child. How can I give you up, Ephraim?

God also understands how it feels when the child walks off...wanders off. Wanders to the point that Hosea is called to bring God's child back to God. Because God can't let go of this child who learned to walk by holding the divine hand. 

For the return of doves to their home (Hosea 11:11), click here.
For thoughts on Luke 12:13-21, click here.

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