My husband Peter agreed to hold down the fort for a few days, allowing me to retreat to a little cabin to finish this Today in the Word study. When he sent me a text message to check-in, I responded, “Hosea is hard.” This prophetic book can be difficult to interpret and a painful message to process. If you’ve hung in there this month, well done!
Today’s passage is a bit of a “payoff” as it summarizes our month with the prophet. What can we take away from this book? First of all, Hosea forces us to face our sin— personal, corporate, and national. Chapter 14 starts with a final call to repentance (vv. 1–3). God still longed to give His people life, but for this to be possible, they needed to repent. Hosea instructed them to ask humbly for forgiveness and express their need for God’s grace (v. 2). Then Israel was to repent specifically of their sins—depending on other nations and worshiping other gods (v. 3). The prayer finishes with praise for the compassionate nature of the one true God.
Hosea also demonstrates the relentless grace of God. Verse 4 declares His response to repentant prayer: “[He] will heal their waywardness and love them freely.” Then he gives a final string of metaphors that paint a powerful picture of God’s healing love. It is life-giving, like the dew that brings the lily to full bloom. It is grounding, like roots that strengthen the enduring cedars of Lebanon. It is splendid, like the luxurious olive trees and the flourishing grain. Hosea finishes with an exhortation to all of us. Will we respond with wisdom and understanding? Will we walk in the ways of the Lord—or won’t we?
>> Don’t leave this study without spending time in repentance. Use Hosea’s prayer as a model. Pray for your family, your church, your nation. And know that God always responds to true repentance with life-giving love.