Think about the anguish that the parents of a rebellious son must have felt in Old Testament times! The law required them to bring such a son before the authorities for execution by stoning (Dt. 21:18-21). This was likely carried out only in extreme circumstances, but imagine the emotional struggle they must have endured in fulfilling God’s holy law!

According to the prophet Hosea, that’s the type of anguish God experiences over His rebellious people. He’s like a loving parent who coaxes his child to take his first steps, then tenderly picks him up and kisses away the hurt when he falls (Hos. 11:3). God had shown His love for Israel, but the nation had walked away from Him. They deserved to be abandoned by Him.

But God still loved the people of Israel and did not want the entire nation to be destroyed. Even though He allowed the Assyrians to capture them, He led thousands of former citizens of the northern kingdom of Israel to join the southern kingdom of Judah and participate in the return from exile (1 Chr. 9:1-3).

God still loves us when we sin. When He must chasten us, He does it reluctantly and with great anguish. His love won’t permit Him to leave us alone.