Daily Devotional – Wednesday, June 30, 2021
“…God will not forget…” (Hosea 9:9, NLT)
As I was reading in the book of Hosea this morning, one line stood out to me, “God will not forget.” Forget what? Hosea is in the process of outlining the reasons why God has rejected the people of Israel. Their coming enslavement and dissolution at the hands of the Assyrians is as a direct result for sin. They have played the prostitute by going after other gods rather than remaining entirely faithful to the Lord their God. But in the midst of Hosea’s words, he accuses the people of having become as depraved as they were in Gibeah.
Gibeah represented a dark mark on the historical timeline of Israel (Judges 19-21). A traveling Levite and his concubine had been welcomed into the home of a man from the tribe of Ephraim for the night. But a number of men from the tribe of Benjamin, in whose territory Gibeah was located, surrounded the house, demanding that the Levite be given up to them to be sexually assaulted. The host tries to persuade the men to take his two virgin daughters and the man’s concubine instead as replacements, but they refuse the offer. Finally, as they appear to be ready to break down the door, the Levite pushes his concubine out to them. She is gang raped all night and, in the morning, manages to crawl back to the doorstep of their host where she dies.
What follows next is equally horrendous. The people’s solution to this great sin brings more unspeakable horrors for those caught up in the story—the tribal leaders stand by the perpetrators of this terrible crime, resulting in the destruction of the entire tribe of Benjamin with the exception of 600 men. But it doesn’t stop there. In their regret over the possibility that one of the tribes of Israel will cease to exist, the other tribes obliterate the town of Jabesh-Gilead minus 400 virgins that they steal away to be made wives of these surviving men of Benjamin; then, they instruct those that are still left without wives to abduct 200 more young women from Shiloh as they go out to celebrate an annual festival to the Lord. It’s enough to cause one’s blood to boil or be entirely repulsed by the depraved nature of the human condition on the whole.
But we’re not the only ones who recoil at these injustices. And while we may desire to forget and paint a new historical narrative for ourselves, there is one who will never forget…or rest until justice is served. Our Almighty God! Before we move on, shaking our heads in disbelief about what people were capable of in the distant past, let us not forget our own more recent history. Crimes committed against the First Nations people should cause us to cringe even more than this awful story found in Scripture, because, for Canadians, it is our own. It is neither helpful to remain willfully ignorant nor overly reactive (as in the biblical story). God has not forgetten…He will never forget, despite our attempts to rewrite and ignore our history.
Tomorrow, on Canada Day, let us remember, too. It is good to mark the occasion of a birthday, but I would encourage everyone to do so by demonstrating a new solidarity with our First Nations people. Take a moment to reflect with solemnity on what the occasion of our birthday means for others. Tomorrow, I invite you to join the many who will choose to stand with the first of our nation’s inhabitants. Let’s wear orange and black, rather than red and white, to acknowledge the pain being experienced by many of those who we share this land with. We can’t go back, but let’s commit to moving forward together, committed to a long-term healing process not a short-lived knee jerk reaction. It’s only as we remember that we ensure that we won’t repeat the past. And never forget…God will not forget.
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!