Today you should read: Hosea 14
As this book wraps up, there’s hope for Israel. This chapter is a great picture of the gospel in our lives. Chapter 14 flows like this:
- “Hey, Israel, you should repent.” (vs. 1)
- “Hey, Israel, here’s some advice on what to say to God when you repent.” (vs. 2-3)
- “Hey, Israel, when you repent, here’s the blessings that will follow.” (vs. 4-9)
All Israel has to do is return to the Lord and He will bless them. Verse 1 begins the process of reconciliation. It starts with repentance. What does this big churchy word even mean? Take a look at the first word of the verse (in almost every English version of the Bible) and you’ll see the word “return.”
To return means to go back, or to go the opposite direction. In military terms, it would mean to do an “about face” or to do a “180.” For the Israelites, they were to do an “about face” from their iniquity and to God to receive His mercy and reconciliation.
I heard the story of a Sunday School teacher who asked her children’s class, “What does repentance mean?” A little boy responded, “It means to be sorry.” The teacher applauded his answer, but a little girl interrupted the teacher’s praise of the boy and said, “It’s not just being sorry; it’s being sorry enough to quit.” What are the sinful thoughts, actions, in-actions, or attitudes that I need to turn from, confess, and quit doing in order to have proper fellowship with God?
Have you ever been so caught up in sin or feel so distant from God that you don’t even know what to say to Him? I’ve had those times and it feels hopeless. In verses 2-3, it seems like the Israelites are so messed up that they needed Hosea to tell them what to say to God when they confessed their sin. Hosea said, “Take these words with you and return to the Lord.” He tells them to confess some specific sin. Sometimes, I need to ask God to reveal specific sin so that I will know what to confess. Then instead of a generic, “God, I confess all my sin,” I can come to Him and confess specific sin to Him.
Verses 5-9 give a bright outlook for a repentant Israel. God says that He will heal them, love them freely, and provide abundantly for them. He would take a hopelessly sinful nation and restore them to Himself and bless them. What a great picture of the gospel! Could God really take a hopeless sinner like myself, offer forgiveness to me through Jesus, restore a broken relationship with me, and then bless me with an abundant life? Yes! That’s what He did!
Now, my RELATIONSHIP with God is secure and will never change, but I still sin and hinder my FELLOWSHIP with God. In order to restore proper fellowship, I must confess my specific sin by calling it sin, calling it forgiven, and calling on God to change my wrong attitudes and actions.
Practical application for today:
- Get some time alone with God and ask Him to reveal any specific sin.
- Get out a piece of paper and write down specifically what He reveals.
- Take the list and write over it the words of 1 John 1:9.
- Tear the list up and throw it away.
- Smile when you recognize how much lighter you feel.
Posted by: Rich Duffield