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Book of Hosea
Chapter 14

This final chapter brings an exquisite conclusion to the writings of Hosea. Each phrase is filled with hope for the Israelites. Without condescension, Hosea held them by the hand and showed them exactly what they needed to do: admit that they were wrong, tell God and change what they were doing (1, 2, 3).

The realization that they had been involved in some serious errors had to begin in their hearts; but when that happened, all they needed to do was to talk to God: “Take words with you and return to the Lord. …” (2) Without calling the process “repentance,” Hosea clearly laid out what turning back to God would look like. They needed to abandon their calls to Assyria and completely stop worshiping idols (3). He even offered them a prayer to repeat in case they could not think of what to say. Teaching the Israelites how to pray calls to mind what Jesus also did with His disciples when He gave them what we now call The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13).

God was eagerly waiting for the Israelites to return to Him (4-8). With great exuberance, He wanted to pour out His healing, refreshing love to them. By referencing the beauty of Lebanon three times, He gave them a concrete example to which they could relate: the storied cedars and famous wines of Lebanon. You may recall that Solomon built the Lord’s temple using the cedars of Lebanon. The references to the tree would remind them of God’s presence among them. The cedars of Lebanon are also enormous trees with commensurately deep roots (5). Perhaps you have a cedar closet or have smelled cedar blocks; then you might imagine the fresh and penetrating aroma of standing in the cool shade of this massive conifer (6, 7). This is like God’s love, only He is more so. He is even stronger, more refreshing, more fruitful, more splendorous, and more beautiful.

The end of this book called on the Israelites to listen, hear and determine if they were wise or not (9). The way Jesus taught reflected the way God communicated with the people. In a manner similar to Hosea, Jesus would sometimes conclude a message with a phrase like, “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)

We have read about how much God wanted the people to acknowledge Him, to turn to Him, to stop relying on the strength of other nations, and to remove the idols from their lives. He offered them hope and love and help. We can listen to His words from across the generations and call out to Him ourselves. May we be wise and have ears to hear what He is saying to us today.

Key Verse(s):
“Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to him: ‘Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.’ … ‘I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them. I will be like the dew to Israel; he will blossom like a lily. Like a cedar of Lebanon he will send down his roots;’” ~ Hosea 14:2,4,5

Questions to ponder:

  1. What does the Bible tell us about the steps you would take to turn back to God? What does this chapter tell us about God’s forgiveness?
  2. How does God’s love refresh you?
  3. Consider making Hosea’s prayer in verses two and three a regular part of your prayer life. For “Assyria” and “war-horses,” substitute the things or people in which you place your confidence; for “our gods,” substitute the things to which you give your life other than the Lord.
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