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August 17, 2015

DEVOTIONAL – AUG 18

by Leslie John

CALL FOR REPENTANCE

Leslie M. John

“O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity” Hosea 14:1

Hosea the prophet was saying the word of the LORD to the Northern Kingdom to repent and return to Him by confessing their sins. He pleads with them to pray to the LORD to remove their iniquity that He may receive them graciously back to Him in order that they may worship Him.

The Prophet says them to acknowledge that (1) Assyria will not save them and to promise to God that (2) they will not depend upon horses in their battles against their enemies and that (3) they should acknowledge that idols, which were their handiwork, were not their gods.

They trusted in cruel Assyrians to help them instead of seeking help from the Almighty God and that is why Prophet says that Ephraim (“House of Israel”) was like a silly dove without heart. They sought help from Egypt and then went to Assyria, and they fed themselves on wind and followed after the east wind.

They trusted in horses much like Solomon who trusted in them, whereby deterioration loomed large on his kingdom. Psalmist realized that man depends in vain on the strength of horses in preference to the strength of God. They worshipped Calf at “Bethaven” and “Dan” but their helpless god in calf was carried away by Assyrians as gift to their king Jareb. (Cf. Deuteronomy 17:16, Hosea 7:11; 10:6; 12:1)

They wandered like fatherless and did not find refuge but if they sought refuge in the LORD’s house they would have received refuge because He promised to be their God if they kept His Commandments and Statutes. The LORD promised to them that He will heal their backsliding and will love them freely because His anger turned away from Israel.

God recalls His promises, which He made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and says when Israel was a child He loved him, and called him out of Egypt. When they served the king of Egypt for four hundred and thirty years He took compassion on them, and smote the firstborn of all Egyptians including that of their king Pharaoh unto the captive who was in the dungeon. The LORD delivered the children of Israel from the bondage of slavery. He led them by His hand and protected them by the pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night in the wilderness for forty years.

Yet, when they came into the Promised Land they worshipped Baalim and burned incense to graven images. It was because of their disobedience that the prophet spoke the word of the LORD that they would serve Assyrians and sword abides in their cities. They depended on their own counsels and, therefore, according to the word of the LORD they would be devoured. It grieved God that they were bent on backsliding from Him although they knew that the LORD was their Almighty God.

The LORD took “Ephraim” in His arms and healed them but they were ignorant of His love. He took them by gentle cords and bands of love as a father does to his child and loosened their burden similar to the removal of bridle from the mouth of horses to provide food to them.

In spite of all their disobedience The LORD remembers the promise He made to their fathers and to David when Solomon was about to be ordained as King over Israel. The LORD said Solomon will build a house for His name and He will establish the throne of David through him for ever and ever.

“He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee” (2 Samuel 7:13-15)

Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant. Then thou shalt remember thy ways, and be ashamed, when thou shalt receive thy sisters, thine elder and thy younger: and I will give them unto thee for daughters, but not by thy covenant. And I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 16:60-63)

God speaks to us in these days and says:

“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you” (John 15:16)

We are “…justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24)

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8)

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10)

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