“This is a wonderful chapter to be at the end of such a book. I had never expected from such a prickly shrub to gather so fair a flower, so sweet a fruit; but so it is: where sin abounded, grace doth much more abound. No chapter in the Bible can be more rich in mercy than this last of Hosea; and yet no chapter in the Bible might, in the natural order of things, have been more terrible in judgment. Where we looked for the blackness of darkness, behold a noontide of light!” (Charles Spurgeon)
This insight from the great Bible student and preacher Chas. Spurgeon [1834-1892] is a great capsulizing of this last chapter in Hosea. However, Hosea 14 is conditional. This is another wonderful example of how God works yesterday, today, and future. It is of the mentioned statement or declaration in ahabiblemoments.com of the way God works
_you_, then I will ___” There is not one single covenant or promise made by God to man that is not contingent to this statement “if you ___ then I will ___.” Go ahead and search the Bible and discover this for yourself. The societal church has made God to fit our desires instead of us fitting his. Here is what Hosea says about this in chapter 14.
- Renouncing every species [or type] of idolatry and image-worship
- Then God will reward and bless abundantly
These three points are what Spurgeon is referencing. Go back to Article #4 and review the quote from Hosea 2:17. It helps us to understand when this will occur with the Hosea conveyed condemnation of Israelites.
“For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more.”
Note in this verse the use of the word “Baal.” It is plural. We often read the name Baal as a single unholy idol-deity of times past. Not so! Baal represents any and all things that draw us away from God First. If these sins of life will be remembered no more, we are likely talking about a time called the Millennial Reign of Christ. This gives us a setting for the context of Hosea 14.
Hosea 14:1 is a plea for Israel to return to their God. It does not read “the God Jehovah.” It does read “YOUR God Jehovah.” How much more specific can one get?
“Bring words with you” [Hosea 14:2]. To explain this let’s glance at Isaiah 1:11 then Matthew 9:13.
Isaiah 1:11“What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the Lord; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats.” Examine this verse with personal honesty. In a sense we sacrifice some of our income when we tithe. If we think this plus our weekly attendance, a sacrifice of our time, does it for God to be accepting, read again and out loud Isaiah 1:11. Replace the “YOUR with “MY” and read it again.
Matthew 9:13 “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” God desires mercy and not sacrifice? In short this is saying if one already thinks him or herself as righteous, we will see if that is good enough. God prefers a confessing TONGUE (words) above any type of sacrifice. A sacrifice is depending on one’s effort to offer the sacrifice and the sacrifice itself to be a redeeming plan of action. Very similar to attending church without fail, tossing in a weekly tithe, sitting on a church board, working the sound system, sweeping up after church, or things like helping during spring clean-up on weekends… all in an attempt to get us in the good graces and mercy of God.
Now back to Hosea 14:2…bring words and a heart of true confession then follow God’s plan for Christian living. One may ask ‘how am I to know the plan?’ Have you or someone you know tried to put something with many parts together without reading and following the step-by-step instructions? Our instructions come from the Bible. It is not the preacher’s job to read them for us. We must gain instruction and study the word of God ourselves. Proverbs 20:15 is but one great example…”Gold is there and rubies are abundant, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel.” Without knowledge there can be no understanding. Without understanding there can be no desire. Without desire can be no plan of action!
Take words of confession and praise with us to God in the form of confession and worship. All else is but demonstration to him.
Hosea 14:3 uses a symbolic name, Assyria, to represent any help from outside. This is the state of the State of Israel in End Time. No help is coming from outside. They MUST depend on God and God alone.. Verse 4 “…for my anger has turned away from them.” Recall in a previous article that God has left the Northern Kingdom of Israel to their devices. He has turned his back on them. This passage in chapter 14 tells us that God will forgive and return to his children. They will know, understand, and desire HE be their one and only God. How many times is it written in scripture…”THEN THEY WILL KNOW THAT I AM THEIR GOD.”
Hosea 14:5-8 are all comparative symbolisms; i.e. metaphors. Ultimately each description puts bountiful beauty into the lives of those God left to their own back in 622 B.C., 2,600 years ago.
We finish this commentary of Hosea with the closing verse Hosea 14:9. It is seldom clearer to the eye that reads, and the mind that listens. “Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the LORD are right; The righteous walk in them, But transgressors stumble in them.”
Rev Dr Jstark
PS; This remarkable book of Hosea is as if speaking directly to the true bible believing Christian and all those other places who use the name for a 401k or tax deductible institution while being socially good. Recall that the Old Testament is to a nation. The New Testament is to us as individuals, not as an institution called a church. We so often confuse the meaning of the church as a building, denomination, or group setting of good guys with memberships in the institution instead of names written down in glory.
Since Hosea’s contemporary was Amos, we plan to go there next. Keep a learning point in mind. Hosea and Amos speak to the sins and God-issues in the Northern Kingdom of Israel but to somewhat differing sins that God wanted pointed out.