Salvation God’s Way
O Israel, return unto the LORD your God; for you have fallen by your iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: Say unto Him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips. Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, You are our gods: for in You the fatherless find mercy (Hos. 14:1–3).
Hosea now gives an Altar call! It is for Israel, but yet it is just as succinctly applicable for any and every person.
What the Holy Spirit gives through the Prophet is a perfect example of what the Lord wants and desires from anyone who comes to Him. It is as follows:
1. Israel is commanded to “return unto the LORD your God”: This is the first step that must be taken, and the only direction that holds an answer, irrespective of the problem.
2. “For you have fallen by your iniquity”: Sin was the problem of Israel, as sin is the problem of the entirety of the human race. Someone has well said, “If the economy was the problem, the Lord would have sent an economist. If manufacturing was the problem, the Lord would have sent an engineer. If construction was the problem, the Lord would have sent a carpenter. But the problem was sin, so God sent a Saviour.”
3. “Take with you words, and turn to the LORD”: Not sacraments, nor ceremonies, nor rituals, but “words.” This is a confession of sin.
4. “And receive us graciously”: This is a cry for forgiveness upon the principle of Grace and not of merit.
5. “So will we render the calves of our lips”: This corresponds to the sacrifice of praise, and refers actually to the Cross.
6. “Asshur shall not save us”: Israel’s sin was trusting man (Assyria and Egypt) and idols for salvation. Trusting man is still our sin.
7. “We will not ride upon horses”: We will not place any trust in the Egyptian cavalry.
8. “Neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, You are our gods”: “Self” cannot save self. Our efforts are constituted by the Lord as idolatry.
9. “For in You the fatherless find mercy”: Jehovah was to be the Father of Israel; however, Israel had forsaken Jehovah and was now fatherless. But her cry is, as it should be ours: “The Lord shows mercy to the fatherless.”
THE ANSWER OF THE LORD TO THE REPENTANCE OF ISRAEL
(AND ANY INDIVIDUAL, FOR THAT MATTER)
10. “I will heal their backsliding”: The “backsliding” referred to apostasy and idolatry. Forgiveness based upon Grace, not upon merit, can pardon the most desperate sins.
11. “I will love them freely”: The statement means “without a just cause.” In other words, even though Israel will give the Lord no reason to love her, He will, just the same, extend his love, just as He will for all who come to Him in humble supplication.
12. “My anger is turned away from him”: True Repentance cools the anger of God.
13. “I will be as the dew unto Israel”: “Dew” speaks of the Holy Spirit, Who will be freely given to Israel, and, again, to anyone who meets God’s terms.
14. “He shall grow as the lily”: The “lily” speaks of Righteousness, freely given!
15. “And cast forth his roots as Lebanon”: Like a tree planted by the waters.
16. “His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree”: Israel will now bring forth fruit, which, of course, will take place in the coming Kingdom Age.
17. “And his smell as Lebanon”: This speaks of the cedars of Lebanon. It is a fact that no insect or serpent can be found where there are Cedar trees, or any of the Cedar family. This tells us of the protection of the Children of God—protection from demon spirits.
18. “They who dwell under His shadow shall return”: This is the resting place for the Child of God, “under His shadow” (Hos. 14:4–7).
To close this great Book, the Prophet, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit said, “Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? Prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein” (Hos. 14:9).