Hosea 14: 4-7 “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.
I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.
His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon.
They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.”
a. I will heal their backsliding: God saw that Israel was bent on backsliding from Him (Hosea 11:7), but He promises to heal the backsliding of a repentant Israel. He does it not because Israel now deserves it, but because it is in His nature to love them freely.
i. The word is compassionate: I will heal their backsliding. This shows God looks on our backsliding more like a disease than a crime. He does not say, “I will pardon their backsliding.” It is “as though he said, ‘My poor people, I do remember that they are but dust; they are liable to a thousand temptations through the fall, and they soon go astray; but I will not treat them as though they were rebels, I will look upon them as patients, and they shall look upon me as a physician.’” (Spurgeon)
ii. The word is certain: I will heal their backsliding. Not “I might heal” or “I could heal” or “I can try to heal,” but I will heal their backsliding. Come to God for healing of your backsliding, and He will do it! God is too great a physician to allow any patient to leave His office without being healed.
iii. The word is personal: I will heal their backsliding. He speaks to His people, and addresses them personally. We have to come to the Great Physician and say, “Heal my backsliding. I want to be the ‘their.’” To get the healing, you have to count yourself among the backsliders.
iv. Are you backsliding? The signs may not be so obvious to others. When you see a tree broken over in a windstorm, it’s easy to think that it was the wind. If you look closer, you will often see that insects have been at work a long time on the tree, making it weaker and weaker. It really wasn’t the wind that did it – other trees around it withstood the wind. It was the slow decline of strength, as insects nibbled away month after month.
b. This passage shows us what is restored when we return to the Lord.
· Growth is restored (He shall grow)
· Beauty is restored (He shall grow like the lily)
· Strength is restored (lengthen his roots like Lebanon)
· Value is restored (His beauty shall be like an olive tree)
· Delight is restored (His fragrance like Lebanon)
· Abundance is restored (revived like grain . . . grow like the vine . . . scent shall be like the wine of Lebanon)
c. His branches will spread: When God restores Israel, he will be a blessing to others, not blessed only unto himself.
© 2001 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission