Today’s Reading: Hosea 10:1-14:9 (additional reading: Psalm 127:1-5 & Proverbs 29:15-17)
Over the last couple of days, we’ve been looking at the message of Hosea. God’s visual aid had a purpose. His love had a purpose. And the purpose of God in sending Hosea, and in instructing Hosea to live out of this dramatic visual aid, was to bring his people back to him. God’s purpose was the return of his people to the covenant relationship with him. This is where we come to our reading from Hosea Ch14. It begins with the words ’Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God’. God’s desire is for his people to return to their relationship with him. The nation of Isreal was in a bad place but nevertheless, although the way home was going to be hard, it was not going to be impossible.
The first step on the hard way home requires that the people recognise the facts. It requires that the people of God acknowledge their sinfulness, their unfaithfulness, and their promiscuity. It requires that the people of God recognise that their covenant relationship with God has become corrupted, and their national and personal lives have become corrupted. In ch14.1, God’s people are called to return to the Lord, because ’your sin has made you stumble and fall’. There is no point in hiding the facts, concealing the truth. Their unfaithfulness has caused them to fall from their relationship with God.
The second step on the hard way home requires that the people of God return to God. This is a repeated cry of Hosea. We see it time and again through the book. (6: 1, 10:12 and this is the keynote of our reading from chapter 14 today. ‘ Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God’. If you return to something, you are turning back to it. You are going back. And going back requires two things. It requires a returning back to, and a going back from. It requires a going back to God, but it also requires a going back from all that had separated the people from God. It required that all that has separated the people from God, all their iniquity, all their unfaithfulness, needed to be taken away from them. In order to do this, having recognised the facts of their unfaithfulness, they needed they needed to return to God to confess the facts to him. And we see this clearly in14: 2, where Hosea exhorts the people to return to the Lord and confess their sins and asked his forgiveness. You see it is not enough for the people to acknowledge and recognise the facts. But it is necessary to confess them to God. For only then can he deal with them.
The third step on the hard way home is to receive God’s healing touch. In God’s amazing love to his people, he is utterly faithful. And when his people return to him, he faithfully and freely forgives them and restores them to new life and new relationships. He lays his healing hands upon them. In ch14.4, God says that he ‘ will heal their faithlessness’ RSV. In ch6.1, 2, there is this wonderful picture of God healing, binding up the wounds, reviving his people, and raising them up.
Do you need to return to God?
Father, Thank You for making a way for us to repent and return to You. Help us to be quick in responding to the Spirits promptings and receive Your healing. In Jesus’ name, Amen