After many chapters of rebuke, Hosea 14 is one of hope. God offers to Israel a chance to be saved and to be healed. God desired to “heal their backsliding” and offered to “love them freely” for ‘[His] anger is turned away from [Israel]” (v.4). God goes on to describe in beautiful language (v.5-7) how…
- He would be like dew upon Israel
- Israel would grow like a lily
- Israel would cast forth strong roots like those of Lebanon
- Israel’s branches would spread
- Israel’s beauty would be like an olive tree
- Israel’s people would return and revive and grow
- Israel’s smell would be like the wine of Lebanon
How would this transformation be possible? How would they go from judgment, wrath, and desolation to renewal, revival, and blessing? The keys are found in verses 1-3 and verse 8:
- They must return to the Lord their God (v.1). Revival and renewal were only possible through repentance and a right relationship with God. This means that they had to acknowledge the Lord as their God and that they had turned away from Him.
- They must admit their sin (v.2). Part of turning to God was turning from sin. They had to say to God, “Take away all iniquity and receive us graciously.” There could be no justifying or excuses, just honest confession and ownership of their sin. There was also an appeal to grace. There was no way they could earn God’s forgiveness, they could accept from God’s gracious hands.
- They must not trust in anything else to save them; only in God (v.3). They had to come to the place where they realise that Asshur would not save them, their horses could not save them, their idols could not save them. Only a merciful God to whom the helpless run could save them. We see this also in v.8 where they say “What have I to do any more with idols?” God will forgive and pardon those who are so serious about believing in Him that they realise everything else they have been trusting is a waste.
The wise and prudent person will understand the way back to God (v.9). He will not play games with God. He will understand the reality of His sin, the righteousness of the Lord, and the way back to God is through faith in God alone and His mercy.