Hosea 14 - Outline of Hosea (Book Notes menu page)
C. The LORD's case against Israel concluded (11:12-14:9)
  1. A concluding indictment (11:12-13:16)
  2. A concluding exhortation (14:1-9) -
    Restoration will come...
    • when Israel returns to the LORD their God.
    • when Ephraim finds true Fruitfulness in Him.
1. O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God;
for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.
{Hos 13:9}
Israel's fall, due to her own iniquity...
  • did not invalidate the LORD's faithfulness toward His unfaithful people. Isa 55:6-7; Jer 3:12-14; Zech 1:3-4
  • did not invalidate the LORD's promises toward His covenant people.
    He is the Keeper of the covenant which they had disregarded. Jer 31:35-37; Rom 11:29
2 Take with you words, and turn to the LORD:
say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive [us] graciously:
so will we render the calves of our lips.
3 Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses:
neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, [Ye are] our gods:
for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy.
Take with you words... and say...-
"Divine love provides fitting words for the truly repentant tongue." [GWms]
There is no work that they can do to make things right.
     Salvation cannot be merited through ritual and sacraments.
The acceptable words express:
  1. confession of sin (v.1).
  2. petition for forgiveness and cleansing from sin, on the principle of grace (v.2).
    • take away all iniquity.-
      They pray, not only for pardon for their guilt, but also for purging of every trace of evil within them. Only the LORD can accomplish this cleansing, for the fleshly nature is innately sinful. Psa 51:1-10; Jer 31:18; Joh 1:29; Titus 2:14; Eph 2:8-10
    • and receive us graciously {or, 'and give good' [YLT]}.-
      Hearts, which have been purged and purified, must also be filled with that which is right and pure, lest they revert to their prior corruption. Jer 31:31-34; Eze 36:25-27
  3. anticipation of right relationship with the LORD (through Holy Spirit filled hearts).-
    • 'So, will we render {HB=shalam, fulfill, repay, make good, make complete}...'-
      Because their hearts had been far from Him, they had broken their covenant with the LORD (eg., Hos 11:7; 13:2,12). But now, with the new hearts which He would graciously give them, they would fulfill their responsibilities toward Him, and give Him the honor due His name (Psa 56:12).
    • 'So, will we render the calves of our lips.' -
      They will bring the sacrifice of praise (Psa 69:30,31), for all that He is, and for all that He has done to redeem them from sin and death (Hos 13:14).
         'The sacrifice of praise' is offered by 'believer-priests' who are identified with the One who has purged our sin, with His own blood. See Heb 13:11-15; 1Pet 2:5,9; Psa 22:22-27 (In this Psalm, the crucified One leads the redeemed in praise.)
         Hearts, changed by God's grace, are moved to give Him sacrifices of devotion, which encompass not only what we say, but also who we are... involving not only our lips, but also every aspect of our lives (Rom 12:1,2).
  4. repudiation of false gods and of vain confidences in fleshly helpers (v.3).-
    Asshur, the second son of Shem, was the progenitor of the peoples who populated Assyria and the surrounding region.
    Here, Israel acknowledges that no earthly power, neither Assyria, nor their own military might, can save them. Hos 13:4
...for in thee the Fatherless finds mercy.-
This takes us back to the beginning of Hosea.
4. I will heal their backsliding,
I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.
5 I will be as the dew unto Israel:
he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.
6 His branches shall spread,
and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon.
The LORD will graciously answer Israel's prayer, in that day, when they confess their sin and ask Him to change their hearts.
Their transformation will be accomplished, not by their words or their works, but solely by the LORD.-
  • I will heal their backsliding...-
    The word 'heal' {HB= rapha'} is applied elsewhere to curing disease, mending that which is torn, and restoring that which is ruined. Israel had destroyed itself through apostasy (Hos 11:7; 13:9). When the LORD gives them hearts to serve Him, He will restore the nation to the land and to the purposes that He designed for them. Hos 6:1; Jer 17:13,14; 30:17
  • I will love them freely {ie., voluntarily, without a cause} for mine anger is turned away from him...-
    Israel's sin had separated them from the LORD. Their sin had precipitated His anger against them. But when sin is put away, there remains no cause for judgment, and He is free to draw them to Himself.
       The love He shows to them is also free, because it is unmerited (there is nothing in them to cause His love). They were bound in sin and powerless to purge it from themselves. He, in love and grace, will take away their sin. Isa 12:1-3; 53:6; Joh 1:29; Rom 3:23-26; Zech 13:1
  • I will be as the dew unto Israel...-
    The desert floor is parched during the heat of the day, but in the morning it is watered by a refreshing dew. So, the LORD Himself would be the source of refreshment and blessing for Israel. This will have its fulfillment during the Millennial reign of the Messiah. Prov 19:12; 2Sam 23:3-5; Isa 26:19; Psa 72:6-8
    During the Messianic kingdom, Israel will... (v.5-7)
    • flourish like a lily...- Because His beauty will rest upon them. Isa 28:5; 33:17; 61:3
    • be rooted like Lebanon...-
      Lebanon was known for its cedar forests and for vibrant vegetation.
      So here, the LORD promises that He will re-plant and re-establish Israel in her land. 2Kin 19:30; Isa 27:6; 35:2
    • spread his branches...- Israel will overshadow the nations,
      as she did under kings David and Solomon, prior to her fall under Gentile dominion. Psa 80:9-11; Mic 4:1-8
    • have 'beauty' {HB=howd, splendor, majesty, vigor} as the olive tree...-
      The olive tree is known for fruitfulness. In contrast to the former unfruitfulness of Ephraim, when Israel was engaged in spiritual adultery (Hos 10:1), her renewed relationship with the LORD will make her productive, in ways that glorify Him. Psa 52:8; 128:3
    • have the fragrance of Lebanon.- Because of their close association with their Savior,
      they will be imbued with His fragrance. Song 4:11; 2Cor 2:14-16
7 They that dwell under his shadow shall return;
they shall revive [as] the corn, and grow as the vine:
the scent thereof [shall be] as the wine of Lebanon.
They that dwell under his shadow...-
Here, 'they' does not refer to Israel, because Israel is the tree with spreading branches (v.5,6), under whose shadow the gentile nations will dwell. In that day, when Israel is healed and restored to God's intended position, the gentile nations will also be blessed, under Israel's King.
they... shall return...- ie., They (the nations) will also be restored to their rightful place.
The time of gentile world dominion will have ended. The gentile nations will submit to the order which God has established.
they... shall revive... and grow... as the corn... as the vine...-
The time of Jacob's Trouble will bring earth's population to the brink of extinction. The return of Israel's Messiah, and the establishment of His Kingdom, will restore life and fruitfulness to this sin devastated world (Mal 4:1-3; Hos 2:21-23).
     From Israel's King, righteousness will overflow to all nations (Isa 61:11; Jer 23:5,6), as it does now, to those who trust in Him (Rom 10:1-13; 11:11-15,25-32).
The scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.-
The scent of what? Of the tree, rooted and spreading its branches (v.5,6). At the present time, the fragrance of Israel is not pleasing to most gentile nations. But in that day, the nations will have a new appreciation for her (Zech 8:13).
     The words 'smell' (in v.6) and 'scent' (in v.7) are different. 'Scent' {HB=zeker} is usually translated 'memorial.' The first occurrence of this word is associated with the name of Israel's God (Ex 3:15). Thus, in that day, the gentile nations, seeing that the LORD has fulfilled His covenant toward Israel, will recognize Him as the only true God, and will see His people in the light of who He is. Isa 55:5; 60:9; Eze 36:33-38
     In that day, Israel also will know the LORD.
8. Ephraim [shall say], What have I to do any more with idols?
I have heard [him], and observed him:
I [am] like a green fir tree.
From me is thy fruit found.
Verse 8 is a conversation between Israel and the LORD (their Messiah and King), in that future day:
Ephraim shall say...- What have I to do with idols?
These words express the essence of their prayer of repentance, in v.2,3.
The LORD speaks: - I have heard {HB='anah, answered}... and observed him.
In response to their repudiation of idols and turning to the LORD alone, He will answer with blessings. When they were in idolatry, He 'observed' {HB=shoor, watched carefully, was attentive} to destroy them (Hos 13:7). But now, He carefully watches to ensure their restoration (Hos 2:20-23, where 'hear' {HB='anah, answer} occurs 5x).
Ephraim speaks: - I am like a green fir tree.
No longer under the deadly effects of sin (Hos 9:16), Israel will rejoice in her new vitality.
The LORD speaks: - From me is thy fruit found.-
Lest they be puffed up with pride, the LORD reminds His people that their fruitfulness flows only from their relationship with Him (John 1:16-18; 15:5).
9 Who [is] wise, and he shall understand these [things]?
prudent, and he shall know them?
for the ways of the LORD [are] right,
and the just shall walk in them:
but the transgressors shall fall therein.
Who is wise...? -
The bulk of Hosea's message was directed to the nation, which refused to hear God's Word.
     Here, his closing comments are directed to individuals. Even as the nation falls under His judgment, the LORD continues to offer salvation to 'whosoever will' believe His Word. Isa 55:6,7; Dan 12:10; 1Cor 1:18-25
     In the latter days, when the Messiah returns, He will restore the nation (v.4,5). Yet, in the mean time, His invitation is open to those who have ears to hear. Mat 11:28-30; Rom 3:19-30; Rev 22:17
for the ways of the LORD are right...- Deu 32:4
Those who are wise will seek to get in step with Him. Psa 119:75-77
To that end, God's way of salvation is the believer's firm foundation, but the unbeliever's stumbling stone. Isa 8:13-17; Luk 2:25-35; Rom 9:32,33; 1Pet 2:7,8

This concludes the study in Hosea.
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