By Nathan Jones
We continue on with our thirteenth installment of our faith study of the biblical Minor Prophets book of Hosea. This time we’ll finally understand the cure for sin and the shattered heart.
What then does the book of Hosea teach us is the cure to healing both our broken heart and our tattered faith? This is the cure-by restoring the relationship back to its former mutually loving and trusting condition, and that is accomplished through repentance and forgiveness. This is called reconciliation.
Repentance is seeking. What does repentance look like? It first begins with seeking. Hosea 5:15 explains, “I [God] will return again to My place till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.”
While we wallow in the suffering of our own making, God remains patiently waiting for our return, because repentance starts with us. We are the faithless, covenant-breaking offenders, so it’s our responsibility to go to the One we’ve offended. It is sinful man who by the Holy Spirit’s prompting must obey by seeking out the Lord.
Repentance is acknowledging. Once God is sought out, repentance next involves an acknowledging of our offense. Hosea 14:2 explains what this acknowledgment looks like. “Take words with you, and return to the Lord. Say to Him, ‘Take away all iniquity; receive us graciously, for we will offer the sacrifices of our lips.'”
Once we have sought the Lord out, with words that pour forth from our broken, penitent heart, we recognize that we have sinned by rebelling against our loving Heavenly Father. We ask for mercy and the grace granted us by God’s Son, Jesus Christ, who died to take the punishment in our place. Accepting Jesus Christ as the only ruler of our life, we then commit to loving only Him and obeying His moral law.
The Carrie Underwood song “Jesus Take the Wheel” melodiously explains what giving our lives over to Jesus is like:
“And for the first time in a long time
She bowed her head to pray
She said I’m sorry for the way
I’ve been living my life
I know I’ve got to change
So from now on tonight
Jesus, take the wheel
Take it from my hands
Cause I can’t do this on my own
I’m letting go
So give me one more chance
Save me from this road I’m on
Jesus, take the wheel”21
Great will be the day of our salvation! Hosea 2:15 compares it to passing through a door of hope. We are promised by God that mercy will be shown. “And I [God] will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy.” Forgiveness will be granted, for through Jesus’ sacrifice, He bought us at the cost of His own life.
We are finally restored into a mutually loving and trusting condition. The relationship transforms from enmity to affinity. We become sons of the living God and are called “My people.” Just like the depths of personal intimacy found in a covenant-bound marriage relationship, though with no sexuality, we shall know the Lord. In spiritual union with God once more, the Lord reveals to us in Hosea 2:16, “And it shall be in that day you will call Me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer call Me ‘My Master'” (Hosea 1:10-11; 2:1,15-16,20; 3:2).
In the fourteenth part of this series on faith in the book of Hosea, Israel and the nations will learn some life lessons.