But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there.” (Hosea 2:14 NLT)
There is a commonly-held belief that shepherds in Biblical times would break the legs of lambs that constantly wandered away. According to the “story”, the shepherd would then set the broken leg and carry the lamb on his shoulders until the leg healed, after which time the lamb would remain by the shepherd’s side for the rest of its life. While there is no way to know for certain what Biblical shepherds did, we do understand its perceived meaning: God longs to help us overcome our own waywardness.
In this text, the Lord is speaking of disciplining Israel, to help her stop running away from Him and doing wrong. It never speaks of forcing change; it must come from a willing heart. What He DOES do is use our own bad decisions as a way of correcting us, not breaking our leg, and appealing to our heart with His own love and graciousness. He desires to win our affection and obedience, not enforcing submission.
God doesn’t have to break my leg when I tend to shoot myself in the foot on a regular basis! But He takes these moments to draw us aside, especially in our times of crisis, to reveal His love and a better way. Choose to be loved and not hard-headed today!