Return to the Lord!
Scripture reading for September 10th: Hosea 12-14
“Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall! Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to Him: “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.” (Hosea 14:1-2)
God’s always calling out to those who will hear. He desires none to perish, but all to come to repentance. (2nd Peter 3:9) Repentance is a change of mind and direction. It is turning from rebellious and selfish ways back to the Lord. This turning comes when we recognize that our actions and attitudes constitute “sin” and that this sin is the cause of our downfall. The next step is to come to God with words that come from a broken and contrite heart. Asking God to forgive us and receive us again is the path back. God waits joyfully to receive His people back who come sincerely. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1st John 1:9)
Hosea describes the Lord’s mercy and compassion to his countrymen. “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for My anger has turned away from them.” (Hosea 14:4) God longs to heal His people and His love goes out to them even as His wrath and anger went out against their sin and rebellion. He would much rather show mercy in love than punish in anger! Repentance is the key element needed to draw God’s love and turn away that anger!
“Who is wise? He will realize these things, Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.” (Hosea 14:9) God’s ways are always right and just. When men are in rebellion, they are ignorant and lack the discernment because of the darkness that covers their hearts. When God’s people willfully reject an understanding of God’s ways and refuse to follow, they are destroyed by this willful lack of knowledge. (Hosea 4:6) True prophets turn God’s people back to the Lord and His mercy. They expose sin and lies. Check your own heart today. Do you need to “return to the Lord”? Simply take words and ask Him for His mercy!