Hosea 14 Restored To Bear Fruit.
Throughout this prophetic work has been the constant refrain of covenant lawsuit judgment upon leaders and people who have rebelled against their covenant LORD. In this concluding chapter the call is to repent, to return to the LORD their God. Again, the reason being that they had stumbled because of their iniquity. To this end he told them to “take words” when they turned to the LORD in prayer (v. 2a). It was very important for them, and for all the people of the LORD throughout the ages, to pray the scriptures, for in so doing we are expressing our desire to pray about those things which the LORD has deemed important enough to reveal to us.
First and foremost they (and we) needed to acknowledge their sin-“Take away all our sin.” Note well, not just some sins, but “all our sin.” Secondly, we must acknowledge that we need to be received “graciously” (v. 2b Cf. 12:6; Joel 2:13). We cannot be received, not even with confession of sin, unless it is by His grace toward us. Only then can we “offer the sacrifices (or fruit) of our lips” (v. 2c Cf. 6:6; Ps. 51:16-17; Heb. 13:15). All good works are only those born from grace. The specific sins which they had to renounce were, firstly, trusting in their own strength, and that accruing from pagan alliances (v. 3a Cf. 7:11; 10:13; 12:1).
Secondly, and closely associated with the former, must be the repudiation of their pagan man-made religions, manifested in the idols associated with them-monuments to their own foolish futility (v. 3b Cf. Ps. 33:17; 68:5). In being gracious to them, the LORD would heal their backsliding and “love them freely” (v. 4 Cf. Jer. 14:7; Eph. 1:6). The LORD’s blessing would be like morning dew, water for His people to be fruitful and deep rooted (vv. 5-7 Cf. Gen. 27:27; Job 29:19; Pss. 52:8; 128:3; Prov. 19:12; Is. 26:19; Dan. 4:12). Ephraim, the largest representative tribe in the nation, would abandon their idols and return to the LORD and be fruitful (v. 8 Cf. Jn. 15:4).
“Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the LORD are right, the righteous walk in them. But transgressors stumble in them” (v. 9 Cf. Ps. 111:7-8). “The way of the LORD is strength for the upright, but destruction will come to the workers of iniquity” (Prov. 10:29). It is only the unregenerate who object to the way of wisdom, which is ultimately the practical application of the law. What is a light to the righteous, is a stumbling block to the wicked. “Every morning He brings His justice to light; He never fails, but the unjust knows no shame” (Zeph. 3:5).