by Scott Bailey
There are certain things man can produce, like a new automobile or cellphone, but when God produces something it is special and different. Think about this, a machine in a factory can turn out a product, but it will never be able to produce or manufacture an apple.
With God it is different. One of the special things He has provided for us, the believer, is something we should be known for at every moment of our lives. When God was going to bring judgment on Israel, one of the things the nation lacked was this gift. Hosea wrote:
Listen to the word of the Lord, O sons of Israel, for the Lord has a case against the inhabitants of the land (Hosea 4:1a).
God often used the prophets to condemn Israel for unfaithfulness to the covenants, and in Hosea’s time, it was no different. Hosea saw something in the nation that screamed to their unfaithfulness and he let them know what they lacked as he continued in verse 1,
Because there is no faithfulness or kindness or knowledge of God in the land (4:1b).
One of the things that Israel lacked, and it is simple and easy to do, is kindness.
Kindness is one of those attributes that God has given to us, the believer, as a barometer of our faithfulness to Him. If we are faithful and are keeping our focus on our Savior, kindness should and will follow. Hosea continued:
There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing, and adultery. They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed (4:2).
Hosea saw those things but not kindness, and there was no kindness because there was no faithfulness or knowledge of God in them. Kindness is something that shows where we are with the Lord and it is simple to do, a smile on our face, a kind greeting when we see someone, a helping hand when someone needs it. Simple right? This can be a hard task when we don’t feel like being kind. Yet, another believer or an unbeliever showing kindness can change our behavior.
Because Israel lacked knowledge and faithfulness to the Lord, Hosea wrote:
Therefore the land mourns, and everyone who lives in it languishes along with the beasts of the field and the birds of the sky, and also the fish of the sea disappear (4:3).
People of the Lord and the kindness that we are to produce affect our surroundings more than we think. A complement to someone’s hard work or a letter to someone grieving can lift them up and be a healing influence. Plus, it is simple to do, especially for believers. Proverbs 19:22a says, “What is desirable in a man is his kindness.”
We are kind and show kindness because of what the Lord has done for us. First Peter 2:3 says that one motivating factor for Christ to die on the cross was His attribute of kindness. And this is a fruit that will characterize our lives as the indwelling Holy Spirit works to transform us into the image of Christ.