Hosea 14


‘Return, Israel, to the LORD your God. Your sins have been your downfall! 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. 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.” Hosea 14:1-3

Repentance To Bring Blessing

The book ends with a call to repentance, Mark 1:14 / Acts 2:38, which involves confession, and abandoning their sin. It appears there was still time to repent and save themselves from the Assyrian captivity.

They were to take words with them, the words, ‘forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips’, Hebrews 13:15 / 1 Peter 2:5.

Butler, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The idyllic portrait of the Messianic Age now comes to a climax from the artist Hosea. God’s gracious invitation is responded to by the New Israel who finds God able to do exceeding abundantly above all that can be imagined.’

Israel must realise that Assyria won’t save them, they must realise that Egypt won’t save them despite them having warhorses. The only One who can save them is God Himself.

‘I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them. 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; his young shoots will grow. His splendour will be like an olive tree, his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon. 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. 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.” Hosea 14:4-8

Here we read that blessings are promised when they return, it’s a picture of prosperity. When God’s people repent, God will receive them back as His people.

If they repent, God promises to heal them and love them, and He will turn away from His anger, Romans 3:9-10 / Romans 3:23. In other words, if they want to escape judgment and captivity, they must repent of their idolatry, 1 John 1:8-10.

God says He will be like dew to Israel, that is, ever refreshing and blossom like a lily, Matthew 6:28-29, that is, beautiful and strong. These are pictures of God’s continual love for them. God promises that they will grow despite the captivity.

They were previously a bad smell in the nose of God while they were involved in idolatry, but God says, after their repentance, they will smell like the sweet aroma which comes from the cedar tree. They will grow whilst in captivity just as the grain germinates into new wine.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘God’s goodness will not merely forgive and restore, but also beautify and make fruitful and fragrant the New Israel of God.’

Their idols were nothing but dead pieces of wood, but God was the One who heard and answered their cries for help. Their idols produced no fruit at all, but they will recognise that all fruit comes from God.

Keil, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The salvation which this promise sets before the people when they shall return to the Lord is indeed depicted according to the circumstances and peculiar views prevailing in the Old Testament, as earthly growth and prosperity but its real nature is such that it will receive a spiritual fulfilment in those Israelites alone who are brought to belief in Jesus Christ.’

‘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 14:9

This is the lesson to be learnt, let the wise and discerning understand this.

The wise are to walk in the righteous of God, they will hunger and thirst for righteousness, Isaiah 55:1-2 / Matthew 6:33. However, the rebellious will stumble and fall over God and His Word.

Out of the experience of his own life, Hosea had learnt the message of God. God continued to love them, and Hosea passed on the message to the people. God will still forgive us, if we turn back to Him.