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My fourteen year old nephew recently performed at a talent show and (as with seemingly everything  these days), his performance was posted on You Tube.  Our family watched him and we were duly impressed with his piano playing and his poise (there were about 900 people in the audience and it sounded like half of them were screaming teenage girls!).  Of interest to me was the song he selected to play.  It was Desperado.

I asked my twenty-something son if he had ever heard the song and he gave me one of those, “Are you kidding me?” looks.  From this and my nephew’s choice of the song, I concluded that it still enjoys a fair amount of popularity with the younger generation.  I suppose is not a big surprise since the Eagles are still around and making music.

But I wondered what a fourteen year old might think about the lyrics to Desperado (if he thinks about them at all).  The words sketch a picture of a rugged, go-your-own way type of individual who has lived life the way they wanted to and suffered (alone) as a consequence.  The song is a plea for them to change their ways “before it’s too late” and “let somebody love you.” 

I wonder how much, if any of this, my nephew has come across in his young life.  I’m not sure about him, but I’ve lived long enough to have seen plenty of desperados.  They come in all shapes and all sizes and the truth is, the song romanticizes their plight.  They are the where they are because of the way they are:  too stubborn or too slow to admit or see their life is headed nowhere.  It’s not the desperados I’m impressed with – it’s the people who call them out.

During Hosea’s time, Israel is a desperado.  You can read of her adultery in a withering section that focuses on God’s response to Israel’s stubbornness in pursuit of her other lovers (2:1-13).  God will:

·         block her path to her lovers (v. 6),

·         put a halt to her blessings and celebrations (v.  9,11-12),

·         expose and punish her  (v. 10,13).

But that’s not the end of it.  There is an unexpected turn.  In the verses that follow (v. 14-23), God says, “I am now going to allure her;  I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her”(v. 14).  He’s going to win her back!  He details His plans  in v. 15-23.  This is the father with the robe, ring, and sandals for his son (Luke 15).  It is the father running out to meet the son “while he was still a long way off,” (15:20). 

That’s our Father!  There is no one like Him!  In a world that glamorizes desperados, we celebrate the One who patiently, persistently calls them to something more.
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