Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Jul 17 2019 - Hosea 14 – Repentance and blessing

Hosea's home life formed a painful visual aid of the relationship between the Lord and Israel. Despite the unfaithfulness of Gomer, Hosea's wife, he continues to love her and seeks to draw her back to loving him. The Lord has the same love for Israel, despite their unfaithfulness to him.

Hosea 14 records Hosea's pleas to Israel that they should return to the Lord. They need to return in a spirit of repentance, seeking forgiveness. They should have learnt by now that there is no other power to save them and care for them like the Lord their God – Assyria will not save them (v.3).

In verses 4-8 the Lord speaks tenderly to his people. God knows that left to themselves they will not change their ways. So God will not wait for them to return to him; he will act in love towards them; "I will heal their waywardness and love them freely" (v.4). The verses then go on to speak of how Israel will again be prospered under God's blessing.

The chapter, and the book, then conclude with a word to the reader:

Who is wise? Let them realise 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)

All who read this sad story of Israel's faithlessness and God's judgment need to consider the implications for their own lives. If you are wise, you will take this lesson to heart, understand that God's ways are right and best and will seek to walk in them – to remain in the love of God.

This chapter of Hosea reminds me particularly of the parable Jesus told about the Prodigal Son or the Waiting Father. In that parable, the son who had rebelled against his father and squandered all that the father had given him at last comes to his senses and, with some trepidation, returns home. There he finds his father has been waiting and longing for his return. The prodigal is forgiven, embraced and generally made a fuss of, much to the elder brother's consternation.

The parable pictures God's longing for the return of his rebel children. But the best news of the Gospel is that our loving Father does not merely wait passively for his rebel children to return. Jesus is not like the elder son in the parable, on the contrary, he reflects the Father heart of God expressed in Hosea. He, the Father's obedient Son loved us so well that he left the Father's house and came to find us when we were sat in the degradation and poverty of our sins. He came to grant us forgiveness, heal us and restore us. He came to bring us back to the Father's house where there is great rejoicing over each rebel who returns home.

And, as Christ reflects the loving heart of the Father who grieves over his wayward children, so we are to reflect the heart of Christ who came to seek and to save those who were lost:

Filled with compassion for all creation,
Jesus came into a world that was lost.
There was but one way that He could save us,
Only through suffering death on a cross.
God, you are waiting. Your heart is breaking
For all the people who live on the earth.
Stir us to action, Filled with Your passion
For all the people who live on the earth. (Noel & Tricia Richards)

Loving Father, thank you for the embrace of your love. Lord Jesus, thank you that you were willing to come and find us when we were lost and to bring us home. Holy Spirit, help us to show the same love for those who are still far off from you and to invite them to come home.

Peter Misselbrook