Like a prodigal son, Israel will return home. In this passage, Ephraim represents the ten northern tribes of Israel. Because God is a good Father, He will have compassion on His children despite their direct disobedience. God still yearns for His people to return because they are like precious sons and daughters in His sight. It’s this kind of love that makes a home inviting. It’s this warmth that tethers our hearts to God.
It must be noted that in the midst of their wandering, God disciplined His people like any good father would do (v. 18). A father who doesn’t discipline his children is not a loving father at all but a father of chaos. God longs for His people to live good and satisfying lives that reflect His glory; therefore, He gives them boundaries. Psalm 18:19 reads, “He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.” God gives us boundaries out of love, and because He knows what is best for human flourishing, He will correct us when we’ve veered off the path.
Why are God’s boundaries actually the markers of a good life instead of rules or limitations against what makes us “feel good”?