7 For a brief moment I deserted you,
but with great compassion I will gather you.
8 In overflowing anger for a moment
I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord, your Redeemer.
In vv. 7-8, we see the contrast between the wrath of God and the love of God. God’s wrath is a brief moment. In the brief moment of God’s wrath, God deserted them in judgment. But with great compassion, God will gather them.
Israel was scattered in foreign nations during her exile. God abandoned them as a husband abandons his wife for her adultery. Israel committed spiritual adultery by worshiping other gods. So God deserted her. God judged her.
But God’s love prevails. He will gather her. In v. 8, God’s anger is for a moment. In this moment of God’s anger, God hid His face from Israel. But with everlasting love, God promises to have compassion on her.
We see Hebrew parallelism in vv. 7-8.
A For a brief moment I deserted you,
B but with great compassion I will gather you.
A1 In overflowing anger for a moment, I hid my face from you,
B1 but with everlasting love I will have compassion on
you,” says the Lord, your Redeemer.
A is the same in meaning with A1. B is the same in meaning with B1. It is called synonymous parallelism. One line is the same in meaning with another line.
I see here the love of God and the justice of God at play. While God wants to punished Israel for her spiritual adultery, God also wants to continue to love Israel. In the end, God decides to love Israel.
This is not to say that God’s heart won over his head. This is to say that God’s love worked perfectly with his justice. The justice of God will still punish Israel through exile. But the love of God will restore Israel from exile. Therefore, we can say that the emotions of God can never be divorced from the justice of God and the will of God.
Herein is the first big difference between our love and God’s love. Our love dictates our will, our decisions, and our commitments, causing us to keep or not keep our promises most of the time. But God’s will dictates God’s love all the time.