The book of Hosea is a picture of unfaithfulness and judgement. But it is also a picture of God’s grace and mercy. It is so beautiful.
I would encourage you to read Hosea and ask God to speak to you about your own walk with Him. What was true concerning a group of people known as Israel or Ephraim in Hosea’s day, carries with it spiritual truth for us in 2018. I read these chapters today and replaced any reference to “Israel” with my name. It became very personal, because what God said to the Jews through Hosea, He is saying to me. I love God’s Word!!
When I read verses like 5:4, I ask myself if there are things I am doing that do not permit me to draw near to God. Do I have a spirit of prostitution in my heart by harboring hatred or unforgiveness, by holding on to a “secret” sin and telling myself it’s no big deal? Are there times I am more concerned about my “self” than about God?
I hear God say He hates His wicked children. (9:15) HATES! Do I give God reason to hate me because of my own disobedience? That is a sobering thought. Hosea reminds me God rejects the unfaithful.
But then I also read verses like 6:6 and realize God wants only to love me, to show me mercy. Look at 10:12:
Sew for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love…
Doesn’t that encourage you to sew righteousness by putting on Jesus’ righteousness? Don’t you hunger for the fruit of God’s unfailing love? I do.
When I read 14:2 I had to stop a minute and think what it means to “take words with you” as you approach God. God is not asking for an animal sacrifice. He’s not asking me to go to church, give to the poor, or be a good neighbor. What He’s asking is that I come to Him purposefully, repentant, and say the words, “Forgive me,” and mean it.
Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to him: Forgive all (my) sins and receive (me) graciously, that (I) may offer the fruit of (my) lips.
It goes on to say God wants me to realize nothing else can save me. Nothing and no one but God Himself.
What is the result of such a prayer, of a heart that is honest before my Holy God? Hosea tells me He will heal my waywardness and love me freely! (14:4) God will give me everything I need to be fruitful. (14:8)
Then listen to the way God inspired Hosea to end his book.
Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them. (14:9)
I want my walk with the Lord to be intentional, honest, and fruitful. When I go to Him, I want to go with the words He wants to hear. And I want to mean them from the bottom of my heart.