By Robert Olsen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Christian Studies, University of Mobile
The Restoration Promised
True repentance (1–3)
The final chapter of Hosea begins with a call to repentance. In the Book of Hosea, God has made His case against the nation of Israel: She has turned to the worship of foreign gods, failed to meet God’s demands for righteousness and trusted in foreign nations rather than God for help. However, despite all of these transgressions, God still calls on His people to turn to Him, and He promises to forgive their sins.
The continuing theme of Hosea, that God will judge sin but calls people to repent and turn to Him, is as relevant now as it was in the days of Israel. God still offers His forgiveness to those who trust in Christ. True commitment to God means repentance: turning away from our sins, turning to God and accepting Christ’s righteousness to cover our sins. This, of course, is the good news of the gospel. Because this is the one way people can be made right with God, it is a message worth sharing.
Just as Hosea was called to share this message with the northern kingdom, we also are called by God to share this message with our families, coworkers and in some cases, across borders into other countries. If we truly believe the only way to be saved is through the gospel message, this is a message worth sharing with all people everywhere. We need to be involved in supporting missions efforts through our local church, convention and with people we know personally who are involved in missions here in the U.S. and abroad.
True forgiveness (4–7)
The passage continues with a plea for the Israelites to return to God. If they do, God will bless the nation of Israel. While this would not be fulfilled in the days of Hosea due to the Israelites’ continual disobedience, this prophecy will ultimately be fulfilled when Christ returns and makes all things new. Throughout the Old Testament there is an anticipation of a joyful kingdom in which each person lives in peace because of the blessings of God.
This theme will see its fulfillment in Christ’s return. This is the reason Christians can live with hope in the midst of world disasters and awful political entities and leaders. We live with hope that God will restore the earth, and all believers will live in His presence.
True wisdom (8–9)
God shows the futility of worshipping foreign gods by explaining He alone is the One responsible for the fertility of their crops. The Israelites worshipped foreign fertility gods in the belief this would help the crops grow and produce fruit abundantly. But God reminds them the wise man is the one who realizes God is the source of all the Israelites’ blessings. God alone is the God of the universe, the One who created the trees and plants that produce food and the God who sends rain or withholds it. The wise man realizes these things and turns to God.
Wisdom is a key feature of the Bible. The Book of Proverbs begins with an emphasis on the need for wisdom, and Jesus Himself discusses the wise man in Matthew 7, where He says the wise man is the one who hears His words and puts them into practice (Matt. 7:24). This is as much a reminder for us today as it was in the days of the Bible.
We live in an age where there are many temptations for our time and energy, and we are often drawn away from our dependence on God. We need to be mindful in our era of business to make time to spend in God’s word so we know what it says, and then put it into practice. We also need to be in fellowship with others in church to be encouraged and learn how to put God’s word into practice.
Hosea encouraged his audience to be wise and turn away from their sin and toward God. The message resonates with us still today.
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