In chapter 14 of the book of Hosea, Prophet Hosea calls on the people of Israel to return to the Lord. He says whoever is wise and discerning, let him understand and know these things.
Hosea 14:9 “Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but the transgressors stumble in them.”
What are the things that Hosea is referring to here? They are all over the book of Hosea but specifically I will highlight two verses in this chapter:
- V.2 “Take with you words and return to the Lord…” and “…Take away all iniquity…”: God calls the people to come before the Lord and repent from their iniquities. Taking the word of God with them means studying the word and communicating with God with their hearts, telling God that they love Him and confessing their sins before the Lord. When we come to the Lord, we recognize our sins and our total dependence on the grace of God to wipe away our iniquities. Paul expressed the same idea in Romans 10:8-10 “…The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (i.e. the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”
- V.4 “I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely…”: The word apostasy is abandonment of one’s religious faith, a total desertion of or departure from one’s religion. The Lord saw that His people have abandoned him but He promised to heal them, not because they deserved it, but because it is in His nature to love them freely.
In this chapter alone, we see the cycle of repentance, redemption and restoration evident in Hosea’s prophecy. We see God’s love for his people – a nation of people more interested in themselves than in God’s direction for their lives – shine through clearly against the darkness of their idolatry and injustice.
We know that God brings judgment on those who turn from Him, but more importantly, it’s clear that no one sits outside of God’s offer of forgiveness! Today, I appreciate, even more, the saving power of God, now offered to me through His son, Jesus. I was once under His judgment because of my sins, but to the glory of God, I am forgiven and redeemed. I am restored to a loving relationship with my Father! The passage today shows what is restored when I return to the Lord:
- Growth and beauty is restored (v.5 “…he shall blossom like the lily…”)
- Strength is restored (v.5 “…he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon”)
- Value is restored (v.6 “…his beauty shall be like the olive…”)
- Delight is restored (v.6 “…his fragrance like Lebanon”)
- Abundance is restored (v.7 “…flourish like the grain; …blossom like the vine; …their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon”)
Therefore, I must in turn, offer “redemption” or forgiveness to those in my life who were once under my judgment. I must forgive just as my Father forgave me.
Prayer: Lord, may these truths be real in my life as I come to you now and confess my sins. Forgive me Lord and restore me back to a loving relationship with You. A relationship where I can experience the growth, strength, delight and abundance that can only be found in Christ Jesus. Amen!