Hosea 13:4–6; 14:1–9 comment (0)
January 3, 2013
By Robert Olsen
Related Scripture: Hosea 13:4–6; 14:1–9
Explore the Bible
Assistant Professor of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile
Restoring the Repentant
Hosea 13:4–6; 14:1–9
Need of Repentance (13:4–6)
Chapter 13 begins with God, through Hosea, reminding the people of their wayward ways.
He recounts for them how Ephraim had been a powerful nation but then turned to Baal and sinned against God. In fact, their sinfulness had increased continually as the nation had become stubborn in their wicked ways.
However, even though the Israelites had turned their back on God, He alone was still their savior. He was the one who had brought them up out of Egypt. But once the Israelites had settled in their new land and prospered, they forgot God.
Unfortunately, many people realize their need for God only when they are faced with problems — financial, physical or relational. When our lives are going smoothly, we tend to forget our dependence and need for God and how God is the reason for our “good fortunes.” Jesus speaks about this in His parable of the soils (Luke 8:14) when He talks about the seed that fell on thorny ground, because the worries of this world as well as its pleasures made the soil unfruitful. When we turn our eyes away from God, we rely more on our own abilities or the abilities of others, failing to recognize that humans are frail and fallible. We often become comfortable in our lives and slowly drift from God.
The Israelites never set out to depart from God — it was a slow movement. We need to take stock of our lives to see if we are really trusting in God or if we are just giving Him lip service.
Call to Repentance (14:1–3)
Because of the Israelites’ spiritual rebellion, Hosea pleads with his kinsmen to turn back to God. He advises them to return with words of repentance and ask for forgiveness of sin. Our attitude toward sin needs to be one of heartfelt repentance that leads to actions that match our sincerity. Hosea, in giving the Israelites a pattern for repentance, shows that they should no longer trust in foreign gods and other countries. We need to understand that God does not have to forgive our sins, but out of love for us He chooses to do so. Many Christians sin with the flippant attitude that it does not matter because God will forgive them. Our attitude needs to be one of humbleness and thankfulness to God for His forgiveness.
Results of Repentance (14:4–8)
Should the Israelites turn from their sinful actions and turn to God, He will heal them and forgive their sins. He will restore them to a position of prominence and dignity. The message is the same in chapter 14 as it was in chapter 2. God does not change — He is always willing to forgive us and restore and give us spiritual healing.
As the father in the story of the prodigal son (in Luke 15) accepts his son back joyfully, God also desires us to be reconciled with Him and rejoices when we return to Him.
It gives us insight into God’s character — He is not the angry figure who longs to judge us and find us guilty; instead He is a loving Father who disciplines those He loves in order to help us make proper choices that are for our eternal benefit.
Wisdom of Repentance (14:9)
Hosea concludes his book with an exhortation for God’s people to be wise and live according to God’s ways.
The verse reads like a verse from the Psalms or Proverbs, which changes the tone of the book. Turning from a chastisement of the Israelites and a plea for repentance, this verse shows that the truths about God as seen in the book of Hosea are universal truths that any wise person should heed and apply.
We are to repent and strive to be righteous — this is what wise people do.
The message is the same as that of John the Baptist and of Jesus: Repent! And it is still applicable for us today.