March 12, 2008

The Heart of God

Matthew 23:37-39

“I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings …”
Matthew 23:37


Jesus gives us a picture of the heart of God filled with tender love and care for his children. Growing up in a small farming community where many people had some chickens in their backyard, I often heard a mother hen cluck and spread her wings as her little chicks scrambled for safety under her wings.

In our reading for today Jesus weeps over Jerusalem and its people who have refused to come to God. The Lord would have given them refuge under his wings (see Psalm 91:4). But they have sought safety elsewhere.

Jesus’ tears remind me of the story of King David and his son Absalom. When Absalom was killed, his father David wept bitterly: “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son” (2 Samuel 18:33). David was willing to die for his son—but couldn’t fulfill that desire. If you have a wayward son or daughter, you understand David’s anguished cry.

Our God, whose heart was filled with sorrow over his lost children, sent his Son, Jesus, to die for them. The tears of God are in the eyes of Jesus.

Some of us have similar tears for a child who has morally and spiritually left home. In your pain, be comforted to know that you share the heart of Jesus. Be encouraged that God’s resources far exceed our own.

Today, Lord, we pray for parents who worry about their children. I know, Lord, that I cannot die for my children. Help me to bring them to the One who did. In his name, Amen.

About the author — Jerry Hoytema

Pastor Jerry Hoytema is a retired minister living in Ontario. In his retirement he has served several churches as an interim pastor. He and his wife, Winnie, have four children and 13 grandchildren.

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