About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

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Hosea 14 

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Repentance To Bring Blessing (ch. 14:1 - 9)                                          


Verse 1 seems to be one last plea from the Lord for Israel to "return" to their God.  "Their sins have been their downfall", the prophet says.  I can't help but think of our modern western world.  Our sins have become our downfall as well.  As with Israel, national sins can get so bad that they don't permit the nation to return to the Lord as we saw earlier in Hosea.  Once these sins cause things to make it impossible to return to the Lord, you know that certain judgment is on it's way.


God even tells the northern kingdom in verses 2 and 3 how to return to Him.  He tells them what words to say.  "Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.  Assyria cannot save us we will never again say, 'our gods, which our own hands have made for in you, the fatherless find compassion". 


These words show true repentance, true faith, which would enable Israel to move on into the future with their God.  Both repentance and faith are important.  You cannot have real faith until you first have real repentance, and the message of repentance is fast becoming unpopular these days in church circles. 


We must note the acknowledgment that Israel made other gods with their own hands, which we have too, and that they have in fact worshipped these gods and gave themselves to these gods.  We have done the same.


Beyond the acknowledgment of sin and their gods, is the acknowledgement that God is the one they should turn to.  They can't rely on Assyria, their traditional foe who they attempted to make peace with.  They must rely on their God who is a father to them.


In the first few chapters of Hosea we saw God as a husband.  Now, in the last few chapters of Hosea we see God as Israel's father.  He is both. God as Father is seen only in the Old Testament as being a father to the nation of Israel.  God as Father as seen in the New Testament is a father to the individual believer.  This is due to the incarnation of Jesus, God's Son.   Jesus is the first son and those of us who have given our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ becomes sons as well.


In verse 4 God says that He "will heal their waywardness and heal them freely".  With the use of the word "will", and not maybe, we know that the healing and restoration of Israel is a certainty.  It will happen.  The word "freely" is important too, because other than repenting and believing, there is nothing that Israel can do to earn this restoration.  It must be paid for by God Himself, and that was done with the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  When Israel, at the end of this age, falls on their knees in repentance and trusts Jesus, their Messiah, the Jesus they trust, is the Jesus who died on the cross for them.  The cross of Christ is fundamental to the restoration of Israel.  We can never forget that.  Sometimes I think this message is forgotten among Bible prophecy teachers who preach the restoration of Israel.  Israel does not get restored simply because they finally come to repentance and faith. The cross of Christ is what these repentant Israelis base their faith in.  I believe the cross of Christ is the message the 144,000 Jewish preachers preach in the tribulation period that ends this age.


The last half of verse 4 says that "my anger has turned away from them".  These words cannot be speaking of the day in age in which Hosea spoke these words because God's anger wasn't turned away.  He sent Assyria to destroy the northern kingdom of Israel.  These words must have been spoken about in a day beyond Hosea's time, which I believe is at the end of this age.


Verses 5 through 7 shows a bit what  the restoration of Israel will look like at the end of this age.  Hosea ends his message on a positive note.  God will be a blessing to Israel in those days, not a curse, as He was when Assyria overthrew the northern kingdom.  These verses speak of strength and beauty that Israel will some day be.  It's a glorious picture to behold.


Verse 7 speaks of men dwelling in the shades.  This shows a pure sense of peace and security that Israel will have, but has seldom had in times past, even in this day in which we live.  The peace of Israel marks one aspect of the restored kingdom.


The reference to wine in verse 7 speaks of richness and wealth.  Israel will have its wealth restored to them in a way it has never known.  It will make the days of King David look like days of poverty.


Verse 8 has some technical difficulties that have hindered Bible translators.  The NIV reads, "what more have I to do with idols?"  The pronoun "I" in the NIV seems to refer to God, but that would make little sense, other than God would no longer have to deal with Israel 's idols.  The other way of looking at this is that the "I' refers to Ephraim not having to deal with their idols any more.  The NIV has a footnote that replaces "I" with "Ephraim". 


The pronoun "I" in the rest of verse 8 obviously refers to God.  God is simply saying that He is the reason for Israel's future success.  No one else will cause Israel to succeed, not even Israel herself.  It is all God, and nothing else. 


Verse 9 ends the book of Hosea.  He asks two simple questions.  "Who is wise"?  "Who is discerning?"  The wise and discerning are those who pay attention to the Word of the Lord as seen in this book, and I'm convinced that the Word of the Lord in this book is just as much for us today as it was for Israel of old.  The message of Amos and Hosea must be preached to our churches and to our nations today if we have any hope of moving forward with the Lord. 


I dare say that in this generation in which I write these words, we are far from wise and far from discerning.  We are constantly rejecting and ignoring the Word of the Lord.


Hosea ends by God saying "that ways of the Lord are right and that the righteous walk in them".  It is clear and simple.  Those who obey the Lord walk righteously and those who don't are "rebellious and  stumble".  As far as I am concerned, much of the western world right now is stumbling because we are not living righteously. 


May the message of the book of Hosea be widely proclaimed throughout our lands.  It's the message we need to hear and obey in these unrighteous days in which we live.           





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