Hosea 14 has God’s call for His people to repent and return to Him. “Return , O Israel, to the Lord your God”. God is in the restoration business. He is waiting for us to come back to Him. It was that way in Hosea’s time, and it is still that way today. Sin gets in the way of our relationship. It causes us to be separated from God. He can’t tolerate it because of His nature, but He never stops loving us and waiting for our return. “For you have stumbled because of your iniquity”. Scripture is clear we all have a sin problem that causes us to fall. But there is hope.
God is there with open arms waiting for our return. “Take words with you and return to the Lord”. In returning to the Lord, Israel must come on God’s terms, not their own. God has a requirement of how we address the sin problem in our life. He wants us to return to Him, not with a silent feeling in our heart, but with proper words of repentance and trust in Him. He isn’t taking us in if we carry the guilt of our sin with us. We have to deal with that sin and be willing to communicate our repentance and willingness to turn around and run to Him and away from our sin.
It isn’t enough to feel repentance before the Lord. Instead, we must take words with us and tell God we are sinners and repent before Him. We must completely depend on God’s mercy and grace to deal with the sin problem in our life. “Take away all iniquity and receive us graciously, that we may present the fruit of our lips”. As we come to God with our words, we must declare His goodness and greatness. We don’t deserve His grace. He has chosen to make it available to us because He loves us. Enough He sent His only Son to the cross to redeem us from our sin. That’s real love done God’s way.
God promises to restore His people and heal their backsliding ways. But only after they repent. God tells us how He feels about us, even as sinners. “ I will love them freely”. Remember, these are the same people He has rescued and led and loved for generations, who have turned their backs on Him and gone about their own sinful and idolatrous ways. But He never gives up. And Hosea paints a great picture of just how good restoration is when we return to the Lord: (credit to David Guzik for this list)
- Growth is restored (He shall grow)
- Beauty is restored (He shall grow like the lily)
- Strength is restored (lengthen his roots like Lebanon)
- Value is restored (His beauty shall be like an olive tree)
- Delight is restored (His fragrance like Lebanon)
- Abundance is restored (revived like grain . . . grow like the vine . . . scent shall be like the wine of Lebanon)
Hosea has shown us how faithful God is to love, even when it isn’t warranted. God is love, and He offers that love freely to you and me!