ESOCS Devotional 11 June 2023
MEMORY VERSE: “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.” Hosea 14:9
TEXT: HOSEA 14:1– 9
O Israel, return to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled and fallen, [visited by calamity] due to your iniquity.
2 Take with you words and return to the Lord. Say to Him, Take away all our iniquity; accept what is good and receive us graciously; so will we render [our thanks] as bullocks [to be sacrificed] and pay the confession of our lips.
3 Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses, neither will we say any more to the work of our hands [idols], You are our gods. For in You [O Lord] the fatherless find love, pity, andmercy.
4 I will heal their faithlessness; I will love them freely, for My anger is turned away from [Israel].
5 I will be like the dew and the night mist to Israel; he shall grow and blossom like the lily and cast forth his roots like [the sturdy evergreens of] Lebanon.
6 His suckers and shoots shall spread, and his beauty shall be like the olive tree and his fragrance like [the cedars and aromatic shrubs of] Lebanon.
7 They that dwell under his shade shall return; they shall revive like the grain and blossom like the vine; the scent of it shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
8 Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have answered [him] and will regard and watch over him; I am like a green fir or cypress tree; with Me is the fruit found [which is to nourish you].
9 Who is wise, that he may understand these things? Prudent, that he may know them? For the ways of the Lord are right and the [uncompromisingly] just shall walk in them, but transgressors shall stumble and fall in them.
While righteousness exalts a nation, sin is a reproach to any people (Prov. 14:34). Hosea exhorted the people to repent and turn to God. Iniquity was what led them astray, and thus repentance of their sinful idolatry was necessary in order that they return to God. The conclusion of Hosea’s message to the people, therefore, was a last call for repentance. There was still time to repent and save them from the captivity of Assyria. Assyria would not spare them. Egypt with their mighty horses could not save them. The works of their hands (idols) were useless. Only in God was their salvation from the impending calamity.
Just like how the Israelites of old found themselves in a tight corner as a result of sin, we are presently seeing and experiencing drastic situations in our world as a result of unrighteousness.
Micah 7:18 says, “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He retaineth not his anger forever, because he delighteth in mercy.” Everybody stands a chance of receiving blessings from God as a result of repentance; God will always receive you back as His child. God’s response will always be as He said in Hosea 14:4-7 thus, “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away, from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return: they shall revive as the coin, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.”
God’s way of salvation is a stepping stone to the Believer, but a stumbling block to the unbeliever. Christ is a Rock of defense to the one, but a Rock of offence to the other (1 Cor. 1:23-24). You cannot get blessing until you repent of your sins.
- You still have a chance to repent today. Your sins may not send you to hell, but your failure to repent will surely do.
- Pray God to grant you the grace to truly repent and serve Him in spirit and truth.
FURTHER READING: Ezekiel 15:1-8; Luke 4:1-14; Acts 2:22-42
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ESOCS Devotional 11 June 2023