When I recently read this scripture, I struggled with it. Here the Lord speaks through Hosea and uses terms that are very shocking because they carry the meaning of God being the one that is tearing and wounding us: ‘He has torn us … He has wounded us’. There is no doubt on the language. God has done this to the very ones the Scripture says He loves.
As I prayed about the meaning of the verse and looked up the original term in the Hebrew, I discovered that the word ‘torn’, as it is translated in the English version quoted above, is only used one other time in the Scriptures - in Job 16:9 – where it says, ‘God tears me’. This is, of course, spoken by Job of the Lord and his experience of God allowing Satan to test him. So being ‘torn’ or the Lord ‘tearing’ us, although it sounds painful and not something anyone would want to experience, apparently has a beneficial purpose with a goal of healing.
It occurs to me that this is exactly what happens in surgery. A surgeon doing a procedure to remove a tumour or infected area, or to access and set right a vital organ which has gone out of order, must always perform some ‘tearing’ to complete the operation and achieve the desired healing. Even with modern anaesthesia, these procedures are not pain-free. But the tearing is necessary to bring the healing. A good surgeon also always ‘binds up’ the wound he’s created to do the surgery.
Sometimes the Lord must ‘injure’ us, so He can heal us. The context of the passage from which our text is drawn demonstrates that this can be because of our (or our family’s) ungodly decisions, which the Lord is trying to turn us away from. These may have been intentional or unintentional, but the reason for the Lord’s chastening has to do with bringing us back to right relationship with Him. However, this is not the only reason for God’s ‘tearing’ in our lives.
Another form of healthy physical ‘tearing’ is what occurs when we lift a weight that is heavier than what we normal would. When you lift a heavy weight, micro-tears occur in the muscle fibres. The muscles then have to repair themselves and, when they do, they get stronger, which results in muscle growth and ultimately greater overall strength.
A friend shared his experience with a sudden and unexpected onslaught of some deeply painful and hurtful things coming from a source he would never have expected. In searching his heart, he could find nothing that he had done to deserve these attacks. After a time, the Lord gave him a word regarding the matter which caused him to understand these happenings as simply a testing and an opportunity to grow in strength in his inner man and to learn to respond in wisdom and love to his attackers. As soon as he fully accepted this as God’s training for him, the onslaught stopped as suddenly as it had started.
Today you may feel that the Lord is ‘tearing’ you. Can you submit to the scalpel of the Great Physician and allow Him to expose and remove things in order to heal you? Or perhaps He is simply exercising your spiritual muscles so you can go to even greater heights with Him, perhaps to carry a role of greater responsibility in the Kingdom. Either way, He has your best interests in mind. And He will not leave you in the torn state. He will ultimately heal you and bind you up.
Prayer: Lord, I submit to Your touch. I welcome You to do spiritual surgery on me or exercise my spiritual muscles. Help me to trust You. Amen.
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