3 I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from me; for now, O Ephraim, you have played the whore; Israel is defiled. 4 Their deeds don’t permit them to return to their God. For the spirit of whoredom is within them, & they know not the Lord. 5 The pride of Israel testifies to his face;Israel and Ephraim shall stumble in his guilt; Judah also shall stumble with them. 6 With their flocks and herds they shall go to seek the Lord, but they will not find him; he has withdrawn from them. 7 They have dealt faithlessly with the Lord; for they have borne alien children. Now the new moon shall devour them with their fields. (Hosea 5)
3 “My anger is hot against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders; for the Lord of hosts cares for his flock, the house of Judah, and will make them like his majestic steed in battle… 6 “I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back because I have compassion on them, and they shall be as though I had not rejected them, for I am the Lord their God and I will answer them. 7 Then Ephraim shall become like a mighty warrior, and their hearts shall be glad as with wine. Their children shall see it and be glad; their hearts shall rejoice in the Lord. (Zechariah 10)
What a mighty God we serve! Unmerited favor! YOUR PEOPLE—spit in your face, deny you, wander from you. We play the whore; we are defiled. And you do not wink at our sin. You withdraw from us; You are angry with us. You punish us.
But our great hope is that though you punish us, your Son has taken the full force of our blows. Though you strike us, He has come between us & the full might of your wrath.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53)
You strike us & pull away from us, but in your compassion you come after us again!
Not only do you come after us, but you make US mighty warriors for you. You make our hearts GLAD as if we were merry with wine! You make us rejoice in YOU—in your grace—in your unmerited favor. We don’t deserve it. And that is grace. Grace upon grace!