Hosea 14* An exhortation to repentance. (1-3) Blessings promised,showing the rich comforts of the gospel. (4-8) The just and thewicked. (9)1-3 Israel is exhorted to return unto Jehovah, from their sinsand idols, by faith in his mercy, and grace through the promisedRedeemer, and by diligently attending on his worship andservice. Take away iniquity; lift it off as a burden we areready to sink under, or as the stumbling-block we have oftenfallen over. Take it all away by a free and full forgiveness,for we cannot strike any of it off. Receive our prayergraciously. They do not say what good they seek, but refer it toGod. It is not good of the world's showing, but good of God'sgiving. They were to consider their sins, their wants, and theremedy; and they were to take, not sacrifices, but words statingthe desires of their hearts, and with them to address the Lord.The whole forms a clear description of the nature and tendencyof a sinner's conversion to God through Jesus Christ. As we drawnear to God by the prayer of faith, we should first beseech himto teach us what to ask. We must be earnest with him to takeaway all iniquity. 4-8 Israel seeks God's face, and they shall not seek it invain. His anger is turned from them. Whom God loves, he lovesfreely; not because they deserve it, but of his own goodpleasure. God will be to them all they need. The graces of theSpirit are the hidden manna, hidden in the dew; the grace thusfreely bestowed on them shall not be in vain. They shall growupward, and be more flourishing; shall grow as the lily. Thelily, when come to its height, is a lovely flower, #Mt 6:28,29|.They shall grow downward, and be more firm. With the flower ofthe lily shall be the strong root of the cedar of Lebanon.Spiritual growth consists most in the growth of the root, whichis out of sight. They shall also spread as the vine, whosebranches extend very widely. When believers abound in goodworks, then their branches spread. They shall be acceptable bothto God and man. Holiness is the beauty of a soul. The church iscompared to the vine and the olive, which bring forth usefulfruits. God's promises pertain to those only that attend on hisordinances; not such as flee to this shadow only for shelter ina hot gleam, but all who dwell under it. When a man is broughtto God, all who dwell under his shadow fare the better. Thesanctifying fruits shall appear in his life. Thus believers growup into the experience and fruitfulness of the gospel. Ephraimshall say, God will put it into his heart to say it, What have Ito do any more with idols! God's promises to us are more oursecurity and our strength for mortifying sin, than our promisesto God. See the power of Divine grace. God will work such achange in him, that he shall loathe the idols as much as ever heloved them. See the benefit of sanctified afflictions. Ephraimsmarted for his idolatry, and this is the fruit, even the takingaway his sin, #Isa 27:9|. See the nature of repentance; it is afirm and fixed resolution to have no more to do with sin. TheLord meets penitents with mercy, as the father of the prodigalmet his returning son. God will be to all true converts both adelight and a defence; they shall sit under his shadow withdelight. 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 ourduty. 9 Who profit by the truths the prophet delivered? Such as setthemselves to understand and know these things. The ways ofGod's providence towards us are right; all is well done. Christis 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 softenswax and hardens clay. But those transgressors certainly have themost dangerous, fatal falls, who fall in the ways of God, whosplit on the Rock of Ages, and suck poison out of the Balm ofGilead. Let sinners in Zion fear this. May we learn to walk inthe right ways of God, as his righteous servants, and may noneof us be disobedient and unbelieving, and stumble at the word.
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