Warm and compassionate phrases of God’s love so abound throughout this passage that we may miss the underlying tragedy and the parental heartache it brings.
Brought into existence by God, lifted to the cheek like an infant, fed and taught to walk as a young child, Israel had long been living as if their divine parent was of no account. Now, as a consequence, they were about to be taken into exile, and God, though heartbroken, was not about to stop it from happening.
Here, God is much like a contemporary parent watching her child being taken to prison for a crime for which she knows he is guilty. Heartbroken, she dwells on the times she lifted him to her cheek as an infant and bent down and fed him and taught him to walk.
We can see ourselves in those children and those parents. Our hearts, too, can break as if there’s no hope. Yet, God has the final word: “My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender? and I will not come in wrath.”
The consequences of our actions, we may or may not escape, O God, but your compassion we cannot. Take us into your warm and tender care that we may faithfully live for you and others. Amen. — LDK