Study from God’s Word… Hosea, Chapters 10 – 14; 2 Kgs 14: 17 [2Chron 25: 25]; 2Kgs 14: 18-20 [2Chron 25: 26-28]; 2Kgs 14: 21; 15: 1-2 [2Chron 16: 1, 3]; 2Kgs 15: 3 [2Chron 26: 4,5]; 2Kgs 15: 4; 2 Kgs 14: 22 [2Chron 26: 2]; 2Chron 26: 6-10, 15; 2Chron 26: 11-14 … Passage for Reflection: Hosea 11: 8 – 9 … NIV 8 "How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboiim? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused.
9 I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim. For I am God, and not man — the Holy One among you. I will not come in wrath.
My Journal for Today: Balance is one of the hallmarks of God’s character, which is evidenced by his infinite love balanced with His eternal wrath. God is the ultimate “Good Cop and Bad Cop,” which we’ve seen played out many times, haven’t we, in the cop dramas on TV? And as Christians we often have trouble achieving balance between such Godly characteristics as grace and law. Left to our own, we’d distort both ends of this Godly continuum; but the Lord has infinite balance even if we so often see as extremes.
And as I read through the remainder of the Book of Hosea and some other passages today from my Daily Bible in Chronological Order, I was struck by how often God had to be both “Good Cop” and “Bad Cop” with His chosen people in the Old Testament. Israel just couldn’t seem to get the concept that they had an all-powerful “Good Cop” on their side, … a God Who would treat them with incredible compassion and mercy; but their fleshly disobedience so often brought on God’s “Bad Cop” side, which had to be invoked – even though it was out of God’s love – to draw those recalcitrant Hebrews back into the Good Shepherd’s flock. God’s “Bad Cop” is always exercised by Him in love just as a parent will often have to lay a hand to a child’s backside to save him/her from destructive behavior. If you’re a parent or a grandparent, you hate at times being forced into the “bad cop” role; but you know you must be there in that role at times to save your kids from going places or doing things that could one day kill them or hurt them permanently.
And that was God being the “Bad Cop” at times with Israel; but as we read today, there were times when the “Good Cop” was very apparent; and God, the Eternal Father of His people, came shining through, … yes, even at times when we would see that God’s love and grace was tested to the limits … right to the edges of God, the “Good Cop.” It distresses me greatly to see men in the ministry where I am a Pastor, … men who just seem to be like one of my little grandkids, who, knowing where the limits/boundaries are will test out the reality of my love by just stepping over the edge of the boundaries, testing my “Bad Cop” side to see if I will do what I’ve said would be the consequences of disobedience.
And for those in Battle Plan Ministries, knowing that repeated sexual sin, especially in certain dangerous areas of behavior, can bring on death, some of the men in our ministry seem to be compulsively drawn to test out God, the “Good Cop,” to see if God, “the Bad Cop” will be consistent with the consequences of their disobedience. Unfortunately, as it is with our little granddaughter, granddad, the “Bad Cop,” sometimes has to get tough with his love; and God, in this role can be very tough as well with the consequences of our disobedience. And we’ve seen some that we know in prominent roles of ministry, like Ted Haggard, who have been laid low, testing the boundaries of God, the “Good Cop,” finding out that God, the “Bad Cop” is really there and His love can be very tough when disobedience becomes chronic, evident, and dangerous.
I hope that we all come to realize that courting the love and grace from God, the “Good Cop” is a much better strategy in life than testing out and trying to bring out God, the “Bad Cop.” Because ultimately there will be a time when God, the “Good Cop” will become God, the “Bad Cop;” and it is not a good deal to be there when that becomes reality for our lives.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, I’ve experienced Your stick and Your hugs; and I’ve learned that the latter is what I seek. Amen