Hosea 11:4 (NKJV) 4 "I drew them with gentle cords, With bands of love, And I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck. I stooped and fed them."
For the last couple of weeks Rose and I have been enjoying the ongoing visits of some Baltimore Orioles to feeders outside our window. While my mom was living, a Baltimore Oriole had briefly visited but then disappeared.
Several times Rose and I had discussed what we could do to attract them but had not really done anything about it. I knew there was a Baltimore Oriole feeder—an orange-colored nectar feeder, in the garage, but I had not taken the time to put it into place. Then one day an Oriole sat on our feeder, pensively surveyed the situation a few moments and then flew away. Knowing one was in the area motivated me to get the feeder out.
As soon as the right feeder was in place, the pair began coming—as well as hummingbirds. Vibrantly colored, cheerful, playful, ever looking around, flitting happily, sweet reminders of Spring, they have become much appreciated visitors to our outdoor aviary.
What brought them? The proper colored feeder and the nectar they enjoy. Who would have thought a little plastic feeder could attract these beautiful birds.
When Jesus came to this earth it was a dark place, and most people had really negative ideas about God. Poverty, sickness, etc, were considered indicators of sin in one's life. Needless to say, there were a lot of spiritually-depressed people. Jesus turned those ideas upside down, however, asserting that the Kingdom belonged to the very people that popular—albeit misguided—opinion denied it to. Needless to say, Jesus quickly attracted a great following.
The text says He "stooped and fed them"—Jesus stooped in coming down from heaven, and fed them—fed them hope, fed them life, fed them a life-changing new freedom that changed many of their lives.
If Jesus would have come carrying the good news in the garb of a stern messenger most of the people would have assumed that there was nothing different about Him. Had He come in rich and fancy clothes, they would have assumed that they were not of the right social standing. Had He come expressing deep theological truths in highly educated and nuanced words, they would have felt inadequately educated. Had He condemned and assailed them, they would have looked to other sources for hope and help. But Jesus stooped and fed.
Jesus stooped and fed. His stooping and feeding was irresistible—the poorest, the meanest, the richest, the wisest, all were drawn to Him. Then He fed them—all were changed by Him if they chose.
In our case, putting out the orange-colored feeder and the right nectar quickly attracted the Baltimore Orioles—apparently the combination was irresistible—and we have been enjoying seeing them ever since. Jesus put out a "humankind feeder" with His own life and message, and the people were irresistibly drawn to Him.
I wonder if we are willing to "stoop and feed" in our day to seek similar results?—Dan