Wednesday, February 22, 2012

flourishing again

They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow; they shall flourish like the grain; they shall blossom like the vine; their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
Hosea 14:7

Despite all the pain of exile and the punishing curses of the covenant, God would again restore His people. He would gently draw them back to Himself. At the end of the book of Hosea God promises specific restoration upon the nation's repentance.

The process looks like this:
1) Hosea first pleads with the nation to return to the Lord. (Hosea 14:1)
2) A prayer of commitment and repentance is offered on behalf of the nation. (Hosea 14:2-3)
3) God responds by healing their apostasy. (Hosea 14:4)
4) God loves them freely. (Hosea 14:4)
5) God's anger is turned from them. (Hosea 14:4)
6) God replants them like a lush garden. (Hosea 14:5-6)
7) God promises national prosperity. (Hosea 14:7)
8) God reminds them that He is their source and sustenance. (Hosea 14:8)
9) Hosea ends with a reminder that wise and upright people will walk in God's ways. (Hosea 14:9)

Even though the prophet Hosea contains some of the sternest language of judgment in the scriptures, it also clearly reveals a God of loving relationships. That balance pulls us close to the heart of God. It helps us see Him as He truly is and provides direction for how we follow Him.

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