Hosea 14

* An exhortation to repentance. (1-3) Blessings promised,

showing the rich comforts of the gospel. (4-8) The just and the

wicked. (9)

1-3 Israel is exhorted to return unto Jehovah, from their sins

and idols, by faith in his mercy, and grace through the promised

Redeemer, and by diligently attending on his worship and

service. Take away iniquity; lift it off as a burden we are

ready to sink under, or as the stumbling-block we have often

fallen over. Take it all away by a free and full forgiveness,

for we cannot strike any of it off. Receive our prayer

graciously. They do not say what good they seek, but refer it to

God. It is not good of the world's showing, but good of God's

giving. They were to consider their sins, their wants, and the

remedy; and they were to take, not sacrifices, but words stating

the desires of their hearts, and with them to address the Lord.

The whole forms a clear description of the nature and tendency

of a sinner's conversion to God through Jesus Christ. As we draw

near to God by the prayer of faith, we should first beseech him

to teach us what to ask. We must be earnest with him to take

away all iniquity.
4-8 Israel seeks God's face, and they shall not seek it in

vain. His anger is turned from them. Whom God loves, he loves

freely; not because they deserve it, but of his own good

pleasure. God will be to them all they need. The graces of the

Spirit are the hidden manna, hidden in the dew; the grace thus

freely bestowed on them shall not be in vain. They shall grow

upward, and be more flourishing; shall grow as the lily. The

lily, when come to its height, is a lovely flower, #Mt 6:28,29|.

They shall grow downward, and be more firm. With the flower of

the lily shall be the strong root of the cedar of Lebanon.

Spiritual growth consists most in the growth of the root, which

is out of sight. They shall also spread as the vine, whose

branches extend very widely. When believers abound in good

works, then their branches spread. They shall be acceptable both

to God and man. Holiness is the beauty of a soul. The church is

compared to the vine and the olive, which bring forth useful

fruits. God's promises pertain to those only that attend on his

ordinances; not such as flee to this shadow only for shelter in

a hot gleam, but all who dwell under it. When a man is brought

to God, all who dwell under his shadow fare the better. The

sanctifying fruits shall appear in his life. Thus believers grow

up into the experience and fruitfulness of the gospel. Ephraim

shall say, God will put it into his heart to say it, What have I

to do any more with idols! God's promises to us are more our

security and our strength for mortifying sin, than our promises

to God. See the power of Divine grace. God will work such a

change in him, that he shall loathe the idols as much as ever he

loved them. See the benefit of sanctified afflictions. Ephraim

smarted for his idolatry, and this is the fruit, even the taking

away his sin, #Isa 27:9|. See the nature of repentance; it is a

firm and fixed resolution to have no more to do with sin. The

Lord meets penitents with mercy, as the father of the prodigal

met his returning son. God will be to all true converts both a

delight and a defence; they shall sit under his shadow with

delight. And as the root of a tree; From me is thy fruit found:

from Him we receive grace and strength to enable us to do our

duty.
9 Who profit by the truths the prophet delivered? Such as set

themselves to understand and know these things. The ways of

God's providence towards us are right; all is well done. Christ

is a Foundation Stone to some, to others a Stone of stumbling,

and a Rock of offence. That which was ordained to life, becomes,

through their abuse of it, death to them. The same sun softens

wax and hardens clay. But those transgressors certainly have the

most dangerous, fatal falls, who fall in the ways of God, who

split on the Rock of Ages, and suck poison out of the Balm of

Gilead. Let sinners in Zion fear this. May we learn to walk in

the right ways of God, as his righteous servants, and may none

of us be disobedient and unbelieving, and stumble at the word.

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