A Plea to Return to the Lord
14 Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God,
for you have stumbled because of your iniquity.
Take with you words
and return to the LORD;
say to him,
“Take away all iniquity;
accept what is good,
and we will pay with bulls
the vows of our lips.
Assyria shall not save us;
we will not ride on horses;
and we will say no more, ‘Our God,’
to the work of our hands.
In you the orphan finds mercy.”
I will heal their apostasy;
I will love them freely,
for my anger has turned from them.
I will be like the dew to Israel;
he shall blossom like the lily;
he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon;
his shoots shall spread out;
his beauty shall be like the olive,
and his fragrance like Lebanon.
They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow;
they shall flourish like the grain;
they shall blossom like the vine;
their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols?
It is I who answer and look after you.
I am like an evergreen cypress;
from me comes your fruit.
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 transgressors stumble in them.
Hosea 14 Commentary
by Hank Workman
As the book of Hosea comes to a close, it is a powerful reminder of the relentless love and forgiveness God offers to all. Hosea had been called to mirror the very love of God through his relationship with Gomer. Gomer who had been redeemed twice from her life of prostitution, Hosea loved her in every way he could possibly could. Humanly speaking this would have been no easy task. I cannot imagine. But truly when I think of the love God has for us who much like Gomer in our own waywardness and whoring ourselves out to this and that His love is far beyond the human capabilities. He continues to love with everything He has. He uses hardship, difficulties and yes discipline to bring us back to those embracing arms of His.
The comfort found in this final chapter is God shows the way back to Him and reiterates the promise of restoration. All it takes is a repentant heart. The Message beautifully captures the deep feelings God has for each of us and how restoration is just a breath away.
“Return to your God! You’re down but you’re not out. Prepare your confession and come back to God. Pray to him, “Take away our sin, accept our confession. Receive as restitution our repentant prayers. I will heal their waywardness. I will love them lavishly. My anger is played out. If you want to live well, make sure you understand all of this. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll learn this inside and out. God’s paths get you where you want to go. Right-living people walk them easily; wrong-living people are always tripping and stumbling.”Hosea 14:1-2,4,9
True forgiveness begins with that of a repentant heart. It is not an attitude that is often found because we were caught in something but a deep sorrow for what we have done, how we have lived and made wrong choices. We must see the destructiveness the sin we’ve allowed to rule our hearts. There must admittance to the things that have separated us between us and God. Our only hope is God’s rich mercy and grace that is continually offered over and over again to us who are so wayward.
Hosea 14 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Many people today worship their own abilities and accomplishments. For others, it is their intellect. Still others worship their spouse or their children or their jobs. Whatever it is that separates us from our Father, the bottom line is that He has chosen to heal us. Even in our continuous, headstrong rebellion, He chooses healing!
I will heal their apostasy; I will freely love them, for My anger will have turned from him.Hosea 14:4 HCSB
Despite the fact that we reject Him, He will choose to freely love us. Amazing.
Ephraim, why should I have anything more to do with idols? It is I who answer and watch over him. I am like a flourishing pine tree; your fruit comes from Me.Hosea 14:8 HCSB
Love has come. Victory is on the horizon. The reminder here is that the fruit can only come from Him! It does not come from our abilities or accomplishments. It does not come from our intellect or our family. A fruitful life comes only from the One who in His anger chooses to lay His wrath upon His Son so that we can live!