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The Twelve (Part 2) (Hosea 14:1-9)

Sermon on 13 February 2022 by Ps Justin

Introduction

This is the second part of the series of the minor prophets which are found in the last twelve books of the Old Testament. In the first 6 books (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah and Micah), we saw their emphasis on sin. For the next 3 books (Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah), they emphasized on punishment. The last 3 books (Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi) focus on restoration. The four fundamentals of the twelve are the holiness of God, the sinfulness of man, the righteousness of God and the sovereignty of God over the nations. It is about our behavioural change, in order to know the heart of God. God is just, God is holy, God is love.


Message


O Israel, return to the Lord your God, For you have stumbled because of your iniquity; Take words with you, And return to the Lord. Say to Him, “Take away all iniquity; Receive us graciously, For we will offer the sacrifices of our lips. Assyria shall not save us, We will not ride on horses, Nor will we say anymore to the work of our hands, ‘You are our gods.’ For in You the fatherless finds mercy.” “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, For My anger has turned away from him. I will be like the dew to Israel; He shall grow like the lily, And lengthen his roots like Lebanon. His branches shall spread; His beauty shall be like an olive tree, And his fragrance like Lebanon. Those who dwell under his shadow shall return; They shall be revived like grain, And grow like a vine. Their scent shall be like the wine of Lebanon. “Ephraim shall say, ‘What have I to do anymore with idols?’ I have heard and observed him. I am like a green cypress tree; Your fruit is found in Me.” 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. – Hosea 14:1-9


We all fall short of the glory of God (Hosea 14:1). We sin and sin divides. Therefore, repent and return to God (verse 2). Give thanks in all circumstances. A person who is generous in thanksgiving can be prayerful. And if you obey in those circumstances, you will have joy. If you are full of bitterness, you cannot live a victorious life. The grace of God can be seen in these verses – “I will heal their backsliding, “I will love them freely” (verse 4). For those we are dying inside, try it out. Submit your life to Christ for a season. Live according to the word. You will find that your life will turn around. When you repent and God restores you, you will be revived (verse 7). He is your fortress; trust Him. He will shelter and protect you like a cypress tree (verse 8). Be doers of righteous acts (verse 9).


Hosea means “Jehovah is salvation”. The 3 main themes of the book of Hosea are (1) the holiness of God (chapters 4-7), (2) the faithfulness, justice and forgiveness of God (chapters 8-10), and the loyal love of God (chapters 11-14). The first few chapters (1-3) are about Hosea’s marriage.


Hosea loved an adulterous wife, Gomer (meaning “complete”). She bore him a daughter who God commanded to be named Lo-ruhamah which means “I will no longer have mercy on you” (Hosea 1:6) and a son who God commanded to be named Lo-ammi, which means “You are not mine” (Hosea 1:8). These chapters symbolise God loving Israel (also called Ephraim) who committed spiritual adultery. Israel was wicked, practiced idolatry and turned away from God.


Then the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans.” – Hosea 3:1


Romans 8:8 tells us that those who are in flesh cannot please God. We cannot be carnal. If you pray and read the bible, but are still carnal, you are not pleasing to God. God wants our love to be exclusive. He wants your commitment and affection to be for Him alone. We are the bride of Christ.


For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. – 2 Corinthians 11:2


Chapters 4-14 are about the message of Hosea. Hosea was sent to preach to Israel. The Lord wanted Israel to return to Him.


Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days. – Hosea 3:5


“I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, For My anger has turned away from him. – Hosea 14:4


Lesson #1: Look at God’s people the way God looks at them

A true prophet knows the heart of God. Hosea understood the heart of God, if he did not feel the pain and anguish from his wife’s betrayal. God made Hosea feel His heart. Hosea chapter 4 tells us that the people had no knowledge of God. God wants us to desire knowledge of Him, more than burnt offerings.


My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. – Hosea 4:6a


Lesson #2: Holiness and God’s unchanging love

A true prophet will want to rebuke anyone who falls short of the holiness of God. God demands holiness. He knows everything and no one can hide from Him. A true prophet will also always preach the unchanging love of God.


“How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I set you like Zeboiim? My heart churns within Me; My sympathy is stirred. – Hosea 11:8


I will give her vineyards from there, And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; She shall sing there, As in the days of her youth, As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt. Lord goes on to say that: “And it shall be, in that day,” Says the Lord, “That you will call Me ‘My Husband,’ And no longer call Me ‘My Master,’ – Hosea 2:15-16


Lesson #3: The compassionate God is our Father

God wants to heal us. He does not want our destruction. He wants our repentance and return to Him.


“Ephraim has encircled Me with lies, And the house of Israel with deceit; But Judah still walks with God, Even with the Holy One who is faithful. – Hosea 11:12


“How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I set you like Zeboiim? My heart churns within Me; My sympathy is stirred. I will not execute the fierceness of My anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim. For I am God, and not man, The Holy One in your midst; And I will not come with terror. – Hosea 11:8-9


Closing


God promises that when we repent and return to Him, He will forgive our sins. He will still discipline you, for He demands holiness. Hosea noted two groups of people – the righteous and the transgressors.


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. – Hosea 14:9


His way is righteous. He wants us to be righteous. Return to Him and God will revive you. Make Jesus Christ the Lord of your life.

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