“Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God.” The northern kingdom had “stumbled” because of their “iniquity.” It was time for them to remember their sincere devotion to the Almighty. They needed to call out to God for the removal of their sins, and to ask for their Redeemer to accept the offerings that they had committed to bring to Him.
Returning to God would require the rejection of all false hopes. “Assyria shall not save us.” No longer would they turn to idols as a supposed road to Jehovah. Their only trust would be in God’s steadfast love for them in their weakness. “In You the orphan finds mercy.”
Yahweh would not let them down, despite their “apostasy.” He would “love them freely.” His anger against them would not continue unabated. He had a good plan that would enable them to “blossom,” to “take root,” and even to “flourish.” The Lord was not stingy with His gifts. He invited Israel to remember that “from Me comes your fruit.”
The insights found in Hosea were not only for the ancient Jews who would soon face the ravages of exile. The book contained necessary warnings that must be heard in every age. The closing words are instructive for “whoever is wise,” but they also remind the reader that “transgressors” will unfortunately “stumble” over God’s excellent Word.
In Christ alone we see the One who flawlessly followed “the ways of the Lord.” He is the worthy focus of our entire attention. The Stone that the builders rejected has now become the Cornerstone of the church (Psalm 118:22, Romans 9:33, and 1 Peter 2:4-8). No longer shall we “stumble” over Him and His Word, for we have been given grace to follow the Savior and to hear and obey His voice.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Father God, we return to You with sincere sadness for our sin, but also with abundant joy because of Your greatness. We think of Your mercy to the orphan, and we love You. You will make Your children beautiful. We will flourish under Your protective kindness. Your ways are right, and we will walk in them forever. Please pick us up when we stumble, and rescue us when the battle of this age is more than we can bear.