God’s Word of Mercy and Forgiveness
Hosea 14:1-9: This final chapter of Hosea begins with the prophet calling the people of Israel to turn away from sin and return to the LORD. The chapter concludes with the LORD’s promise to heal and love Israel followed by an exhortation to understand God’s righteousness.
The LORD’s ways are right, and righteous people live by following them, but sinners stumble and fall because they ignore them.
Hosea's Plea to Israel
1Return to the Lord your God, people of Israel. Your sin has made you stumble and fall. 2Return to the Lord, and let this prayer be your offering to him: “Forgive all our sins and accept our prayer, and we will praise you as we have promised. 3Assyria can never save us, and war horses cannot protect us. We will never again say to our idols that they are our God. O Lord, you show mercy to those who have no one else to turn to.”
The Lord Promises New Life for Israel
4The Lord says,
“I will bring my people back to me.
I will love them with all my heart;
no longer am I angry with them.
5I will be to the people of Israel
like rain in a dry land.
They will blossom like flowers;
they will be firmly rooted
like the trees of Lebanon.
6They will be alive with new growth,
and beautiful like olive trees.
They will be fragrant
like the cedars of Lebanon.
7Once again they will live under my protection.
They will grow crops of grain
and be fruitful like a vineyard.
They will be as famous as the wine of Lebanon.
8The people of Israel will have nothing more to do with idols;
I will answer their prayers and take care of them.
Like an evergreen tree I will shelter them;
I am the source of all their blessings.”
9May those who are wise understand what is written here, and may they take it to heart. The Lord's ways are right, and righteous people live by following them, but sinners stumble and fall because they ignore them.
Reread verses 5-8. What images are used to describe the LORD’s love? What does the phrase “return to the LORD” mean to you? Verse 9 reads like a proverb. After now having read several chapters from the book of Hosea, what are your thoughts as you read this concluding verse? What have you learned about the ways of God?
Lord God, your ways are indeed right. Help me to follow your ways so that I may grow wise in the knowledge of your teachings. Shelter me in the safety of your love. Amen.
Those who are seeking God’s forgiveness
Leviticus 16:1-19: Moses gives Aaron the LORD’s instructions concerning the sacrifices to be made on the Day of Atonement.