Read Hosea 14
Repentance to Bring Blessing
14 Return, Israel, to the Lord your God.
Your sins have been your downfall!
2 Take words with you
and return to the Lord.
Say to him:
“Forgive all our sins
and receive us graciously,
that we may offer the fruit of our lips.
3 Assyria cannot save us;
we will not mount warhorses.
We will never again say ‘Our gods’
to what our own hands have made,
for in you the fatherless find compassion.”
4 “I will heal their waywardness
and love them freely,
for my anger has turned away from them.
5 I will be like the dew to Israel;
he will blossom like a lily.
Like a cedar of Lebanon
he will send down his roots;
6 his young shoots will grow.
His splendor will be like an olive tree,
his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon.
7 People will dwell again in his shade;
they will flourish like the grain,
they will blossom like the vine—
Israel’s fame will be like the wine of Lebanon.
8 Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols?
I will answer him and care for him.
I am like a flourishing juniper;
your fruitfulness comes from me.”
9 Who is wise? Let them realize these things.
Who is discerning? Let them understand.
The ways of the Lord are right;
the righteous walk in them,
but the rebellious stumble in them.
Hosea 14 begins with a call for Israel to repent and return to the Lord God. The text says, “Return, Israel, to the Lord your God,” (v. 1), but it could very well say, “Return, Waco/Texas/Atlanta/London/New Zealand, to the Lord your God.” The same call applies today, to every one of us, to repent and return to the Lord. Every day, due to our sin, we receive countless opportunities to repent and return to God. This means we turn to the Lord, confess where we fall short, and then move forward with a commitment to walk closely with Him.
The whole book of Hosea provides us with a picture of God’s relationship with Israel. Despite her sin and rebellion, God never tires of showing Gomer grace and mercy. While providing an example of a husband and wife, the book of Hosea illustrates a parallel in God’s relationship with Israel. The message continues in a similar way, in that in spite of our sin, the Father will still take us back into relationship with Himself. Mercy can be defined as not getting something we deserve, and while we certainly deserve eternal punishment, God shows us mercy through His Son, Jesus.
We see the same promise in Proverbs 28:13: “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Out of fear and pride, our tendency is to try to conceal our sins. When we do so, we do not prosper. But God makes it very clear that when we confess and renounce our sins, we find mercy. Hosea declares this very same truth over the people of Israel. Confess and renounce your sin and you will find mercy. From God we find compassion (v.3), healing, love, and relief from God’s anger (v.4).
When we repent, we receive hope for the future. God will grow our roots down deep (v. 5-6), and we will dwell in His presence and bear fruit (v.7). Gomer’s sin was atrocious and heinous. Israel’s sins of idolatry and much more deserve eternal punishment. Our sins are equally repulsive and wicked. Despite this, God shows mercy to those who return to Him. May we never get over the gospel and the fact that He forgives our sins and receives us graciously (v.2).
- In verse 3, Hosea references ‘gods’ the Israelites made with their hands. What are some ‘gods’/idols that pull you away from worshiping the Lord?
- What are some ways that you can help ‘send down roots’ (v.5) to help you grow in your relationship with the Lord today?
- How have your sins been your downfall? Take a moment to thank God that a downward fall from sin is not the end of your story!
Did You Know?
Hosea 14:9 functions as a conclusion or epilogue to the book of Hosea, in that it summarizes who God is, how to rightly respond to Him, and what happens when we don’t return to and worship Him. Hosea provides us with an option at the end of the book—either worship the Lord and walk in His right ways, or choose to rebel and stumble.
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