All Is Not Lost

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Series: “God Speaks”
Text: Hosea 14
Introduction: (What?)
A large part of Hosea’s prophecy has been about sin, idolatry, and judgment. I’m sure these messages were difficult for Hosea to take to the people. They were difficult to preach and I’m sure difficult for you to hear. One might arrive at the conclusion that all is lost. However, in the final chapter of the book, Hosea has good news from the LORD. Until judgment falls, there is still time to repent. The thing we must remember is that we’ve had ample warning. Judgment could fall at any moment. Up until Putin commanded his troops to invade Ukraine, life was going on as usual. Now only two weeks into the invasion, life for the Ukrainians will never be the same. Wise people will take notice.
Examination: (Why?)
1. Don’t let this slip by (vv 1-3)
Hosea 14:1-3 “Israel, return to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled in your iniquity. Take words of repentance with you and return to the Lord. Say to him, “Forgive all our iniquity and accept what is good, so that we may repay you with praise from our lips. Assyria will not save us, we will not ride on horses, and we will no longer proclaim, ‘Our gods!’ to the work of our hands. For the fatherless receives compassion in you.””
The CSB Disciple’s Study Bible notes that “When God’s people genuinely repent of their sins and confess them to Him, He heals their spiritual disease.” That is exactly what God said in His promise to Solomon in 2 Chron 7:13-14 “If I shut the sky so there is no rain, or if I command the grasshopper to consume the land, or if I send pestilence on my people, and my people, who bear my name, humble themselves, pray and seek my face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.”
We’ve talked about this passage over and over, but I’m not sure that we have absorbed its full meaning. The key is to enter the presence of God. When you do, the light of His presence will expose your sin so vividly that you can’t deny it. That is when real confession and repentance takes place. You’ve often heard me pray for God’s manifest presence in our services. It hasn’t happened yet. When it does, you’ll know it and you will never be the same. The Psalmist told us in Psa 100:4 “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name.” Have you noticed how difficult that is for us? Usually there is a great silence although those who have been attending for any length of time KNOW that we’re going to start the service this way.
Hosea not only begs the people to return to God, he also tells them what to pray. Hosea 14:2 “Take words of repentance with you and return to the Lord. Say to him, “Forgive all our iniquity and accept what is good, so that we may repay you with praise from our lips.”
We must not overlook the importance of returning to God in the way that He wants us to return. We can’t come any way we please, we must come as He pleases.
2. A Promise you can rely on (vv4-7)
Hosea 14:4-7I will heal their apostasy; I will freely love them, for my anger will have turned from him. I will be like the dew to Israel; he will blossom like the lily and take root like the cedars of Lebanon. His new branches will spread, and his splendor will be like the olive tree, his fragrance, like the forest of Lebanon. The people will return and live beneath his shade. They will grow grain and blossom like the vine. His renown will be like the wine of Lebanon.”
God made a pledge to Israel that is also a pledge to us today. He mentioned 3 “I wills”.
heal their apostasy. Apostasy in Christianity is the rejection of Christianity by someone who formerly professed to be a Christian and/or who wishes to administratively be removed from a formal registry of church members.
I will freely love them. You’re probably thinking, “Doesn’t God love everyone?” Evidently not. Especially when His own people reject Him and embrace idolatry, they remove themselves from His love.
I will be like dew to Israel. Before the flood, the earth was watered by the dew. It was the dew that made growing plants to flourish. God here made a promise to “water” Israel so that she would flourish.
Then God told them what they could expect when they returned to Him.
he will blossom like the lily and take root like the cedars of Lebanon.
His new branches will spread, and his splendor will be like the olive tree.
The people will return and live beneath his shade.
They will grow grain and blossom like the vine.
His renown will be like the wine of Lebanon.”
When we as individuals or as a church or as a nation truly return to God, we can expect His blessings to be more abundant than ever before.
3. Don’t look back (vv8-9)
Hosea 14:8-9 “Ephraim, why should I have anything more to do with idols? It is I who answer and watch over him. I am like a flourishing pine tree; your fruit comes from me. Let whoever is wise understand these things, and whoever is insightful recognize them. For the ways of the Lord are right, and the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.”
God warned Ephraim not to look back to what had been when they were in idolatry. Looking back to your days in sin is dangerous. When the Israelites were delivered from Egypt but looked back longingly to the life that had there in bondage, it led them into idolatry (the golden calf). When Lot’s wife looked back at the sinful city of Sodom, it resulted in her death.
I hate when someone gives a testimony that seems to glorify their days of sin rather than magnify what God has done for them. (the teenager in Phoenix, AZ who felt she didn’t have a testimony).
God further reminded Ephraim that He is the one who answered their prayers and caused them to bear fruit. In John 15:4-5 Jesus admonished His followers (including us) Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.”
Then Jesus told them (and us) in John 15:8 “My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples.”
Production of fruit is proof positive that you are a disciple of Christ. Remember what Jesus said about those who did not abide in Him. Matt 7:15-17 ““Be on your guard against false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit.”
Bad fruit is identified in Gal 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I am warning you about these things—as I warned you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Good fruit is identified in Gal 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.”
Application: (How should I respond to this message?)
Examine your life under the search light of God’s Spirit. What kind of fruit are you producing.
Repent of any known sin and press forward in obedience to God and His Word.
If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
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