The Ways of the Lord

Hosea 14:9. “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.”

Graceful Palette: Hosea 14:9 The Ways of the Lord are Right

A most fitting verse to close this chapter, and this book of Hosea. One cannot err when choosing the ways of the Lord. Such a simple principle, but one we often overlook when pursing our own desires.

Those who are wise and prudent understand that following God’s ways leads to rejoicing; following our own ways leads to sorrow. But we forget; or we simply grow tired of being good, and our fallen nature craves the enticing but false pleasures of forbidden things.

Time after time, Israel fell into the cycle of obedience, blessing, temptation, sin, warning, judgment, and restoration.

I have learned many things through studying this book. I hope you have as well, and that it has been a blessing to you to read as it has been a blessing to me to write.

On Monday, I’m going to step away from my book studies to do a study on hell, sheol, and hades. It came up in our adult Bible class last Sunday morning, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I hope you will join me!

Under His Wings

Hosea 14:7-8.

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.

Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard Him, and observed Him: I am like a green fir tree. From Me is thy fruit found.

Hide under His wings... — Arvada Christian Church

I have long loved Psalm 91, and this passage in Hosea took me there. Here it is:

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.

Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;

10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

11 For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

14 Because He hath set His love upon me, therefore will I deliver Him: I will set Him on high, because He hath known my name.

15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him My salvation.

The promises in today’s passage from Hosea are wonderful. Israel would return, revive, and grow. They would become as abundant as the wine of Lebanon. They would forsake idolatry, and return to the One Who would shelter and protect them under the shadow of His wings.

Blessings abound when we turn our hearts to Him.


Hosea 14:5-6.

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.

Hosea 14:5 I will be like the dew to Israel;He will blossom like the lily,And  he will take root like the cedars of Lebanon.
What Does it Mean to "Consider the Lilies of the Field"?

If you live in an area that tends to be dry, you know how valuable is the dew of the morning or evening. It’s refreshing, indeed life-giving. There are some succulents that thrive for months and months just on what little dew the desert produces.

God said He would be like that dew for Israel. They would unfold and blossom like the lovely lily, opening its petals in the daytime and spreading it’s wonderful scent.

Growth would be restored to Israel. Beauty, like that of the lily, would return to the land and the people. Strength would return like the mighty cedars of Lebanon. Value would be restored, like the olive trees. Delight would be restored to the people, like the fragrance of Lebanon. This fragrance can be translated as the wonderful smell of trees, plants, and abundant harvest; or as a fragrance to God in sacrifice. Abundance would be restored and that abundance would be like the wine of Lebanon.

These promises themselves must have fallen like rain after a drought on the people of Israel who survived the Assyrian army. Restoration was promised, and it would be abundant, giving life and strength and beauty where there had been desolation.

I Will Love Them Freely

Hosea 14:3-4.

Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in Thee the fatherless findeth mercy.

I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for Mine anger is turned away from him.

Rose Nolen on Twitter: "“I will love them freely.” Hosea 14:4" / Twitter

There are many who see the God of the Old Testament as one of anger and judgment. And yes, He was both of those things, just as Jesus was in the New Testament. But overwhelmingly, He was also a God of great love, mercy, tenderness, and compassion. When the people repented and returned to Him, He loved them freely. He blessed them abundantly. He forgave them completely.

The only ones who stand between God and His love are those who refuse to obey Him.

The first word in v. 3 is Asshur, which is another spelling of Assyria. Finally, the people recognized that Assyria was not going to protect them or help them in any way.

In the next clause, the people give up their idolatry. They will no longer worship that which they have created with their own hands.

Finally, they understand that it is in God alone that the orphan finds mercy. Many were orphaned when Assyria came crashing down on Israel. No mercy was extended to those who lost their parents in that devastating assault.

Verse 4 is such a wonderful promise. I WILL, says God. No maybe, no condition, no hesitation, I WILL heal their backsliding. God sees their backsliding as sin, for sure, but He also knows it is only one result of the sin of a fallen world. He has forgiven, He has restored, but more than that He promises to heal them of the grievous, sinful disease of idolatry.

Finally, God declares that He is no longer angry with Israel. All is forgiven; restoration of His blessing is restored to the people and the land.

He will love them freely.

The Calves of our Lips

Hosea 14:1-2.

O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine 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.

A dictionary of the Bible.. . - failed toperform their covenant. Gen. 15 :  9,10, 17. Calf, Molten, Ex. 32 : 4, was an idol-god prepared by Aaron in  compliancewith the request

We don’t know exactly how all the calves that were created by man, for worship, looked. We do know that the calf was often used in idolatry, and was an insult to God, Who said, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.”

In these first two verses of the last chapter of Hosea, Israel is once again urged to return to the Lord. They are urged to use their words to plead with Him for forgiveness and mercy.

I was intrigued by that last clause: So will we render the calves of our lips. It is well-translated as to make whole or good, restore, make compensation. Remember, they had been worshiping golden calves, among many other idols. Their words had been profane, blasphemous, and wholly offensive to God.

Now Hosea is telling them what they will need to do to restore God’s blessing and favor. They would need to give more than lip service, sort of like a child will do when he hopes. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” will cause his parents to decide against punishing his behavior. There will need to be more than words. God knows the hearts, and He is never fooled. They would need to make compensation for their sin by once again obeying God’s law for sacrifice and atonement. Instead of “calves of our lips,” this could just as accurately have been translated as “the sacrifice of our lips.”

There is much more coming in this chapter, but today I want to close with this quote from Charles Haddon Spurgeon:

“This is a wonderful chapter to be at the end of such a book. I had never expected from such a prickly shrub to gather so fair a flower, so sweet a fruit; but so it is: where sin abounded, grace doth much more abound. No chapter in the Bible can be more rich in mercy than this last of Hosea; and yet no chapter in the Bible might, in the natural order of things, have been more terrible in judgment. Where we looked for the blackness of darkness, behold a noontide of light!” 

Blue Letter Bible

An East Wind

Hosea 13:15-16.

Though he be fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come, the wind of the LORD shall come up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up: he shall spoil the treasure of all pleasant vessels.

Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.

Hosea 13 - Holy Bible English -

These last two verses of ch. 13 are horrible to us. In fact, I looked at one illustration that called this prophecy “Nonsense from the Bible.” Yet it came true in every respect.

The Assyrians were well-known for their extreme, unnecessary cruelty. Their reputation preceded their armies, and intimidated some nations into agreeing to pay outrageous tribute to Assyria to avoid the slaughter. Ruling through fear was the go-to for the Assyrians.

Samaria, the once-capitol of Israel, had at one point been fruitful and wealthy. Because of their descent into idolatry, God says that He would send a devastating east wind. It would come up out of the wilderness, and would destroy everything it touched.

The Assyrian army would come through the desert part of Syria. They would destroy everything in their path, including springs of water, and treasure from the Temple. They were the east wind that God would use to punish Israel. The horrors of v. 16 are historically documented.

They had been warned over and over; the prophet had begged Israel to repent and return to God; yet they refused, and they paid the terrible price for their sin.

A Promise

Hosea 13:14. “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from Mine eyes.”

Hosea 13:14 ESV

When God says, “I WILL,” He is making an iron-clad promise. There is no “I might,” or “maybe” with God.

If this verse seems familiar to you, it’s because Paul referred to it directly in I Cor. 15:55. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”

Israel has been guilty of great sin, but God’s power to forgive, heal, show mercy, and restore cannot be defeated. I think we forget that sometimes, when we turn our faces away or show disdain for those we consider to have sinned. Never forget that if no one besides you had ever lived, Jesus would still have had to die.

However, where there is no repentance, no recognition of sin against God, He will not have compassion. In the long term, Israel will be redeemed; before that, however, she will be sorely chastised for her sin of turning away from God.

Travail in Birth

Hosea 13:13. “The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son; for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children.”

Travail is a strong word. It connotes great effort, accompanied by lots of pain. Any woman who has borne a baby understands, especially if her labor was long and hard. While a woman is enduring childbirth, she can concentrate on only one thing: Bearing down to push the baby out of her body. Even in a normal, uncomplicated birth, it can feel as if one’s own body is going to break. It’s hard, painful, sometimes excruciating.

Is it true that when the baby is born, the mother immediately forgets the pain? Well, I don’t know about the “immediately” part, but speaking for myself, I went on to have three more after the first, so yes, I think we do forget to a degree. Or at least we accept the birth process because the results are so incredibly satisfying.

Israel would experience travail, trouble, suffering and pain that God compares to what a woman experiences when she gives birth.

The rest of the verse intrigued me, so I did some research. “He is an unwise son; for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children.”

Him, in the first part of the verse, of course, refers to Israel (Ephraim). Judgment will fall with the urgency of labor pains. But most of the commentators I read agree that the He in the second clause refers to the unborn child. As the mother endures the pain and pressure, the baby moves down the birth canal. The natural result would be that the child would emerge into the world and take his first breath, finding life.

If, however, the child could decide he’s not quite ready to be born yet, and hesitates to leave the “safety” of his mother’s body, the result would be death for both the baby and the mother.

In the same way that labor pains announce the coming of the end of the pregnancy, so God’s judgment signals the end of Israel’s disobedience. But if Israel pays no attention to the rigors of judgment, and decides to stay in the place of disobedience, then death is the unavoidable result of his choice.

God created in us a will and desire for life. Of course babies cannot choose to remain unborn, but the inevitable end of a lack of the proper result of the birth process can lead to death. It doesn’t always end so, because the midwife or doctor intervenes and provides assistance to the mother and child. In the same way, God can intervene with His people, providing a clear way of escape from the pain.

The choice, however, remains with the people, who need only to repent and turn to Him in order to gain life and freedom.

We Want a King!

Hosea 13: 11-12.

I gave thee a king in Mine anger, and took him away in My wrath.

The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid.

Kings/Northern Kingdom of Israel | THE MARION COUNTY MANNA PROJECT | Marion  County, Florida

It would be interesting, I think, to do a study of all the kings of Israel and Judah. However, it would take a lot of time and a great deal of research, so it’s going on the back burner for now.

To give you a little background to God’s statements in this passage: God had given Israel many prophets and judges, most of which they dismissed in their ignorance and determination to be just like all the surrounding nations. It wasn’t enough for them to have God in their very midst. They wanted a power figure that they could hold up as being, at the very least, equal to the kings of the surrounding nations. God warned them what would happen. The king would tax them to support his armies. He would take their sons and daughters as slaves. He would take their livestock to feed those in his great banqueting halls, and the kings would build extravagant palaces in which to house themselves and their courts. The daughters of the people would be examined for their beauty, and taken off to the king’s harem, never to be seen again by their families. You can read about it in I Samuel 8: 4-22.

Of course, God was right. It wasn’t long before the first king, Saul, began to hold himself as an authority higher than God. He came to a dreadful end, and God replaced him with David. David did have a heart to serve God, but he was weak in matters of the flesh and committed grave errors against the God he truly did love. He wasn’t a good father. His children suffered for his weakness. After he died, Jereboam and Rehoboam split the kingdom, northern and southern, and the deterioration continued. All of the things about which they had been warned came to pass.

Verse 13 describes Israel’s sin as being hidden, or, in the best usage I found, it was set aside and covered, waiting for the judgment of God to fall. The coming judgment would be severe, but when God chastises His children, whether then or now, it is always done for the purpose of bringing them back into the place of blessing. Sometimes it takes a while, and a lot of suffering, for us to see the love behind the chastisement. God wants to bless His people. Sadly, His people want to have that blessing not because of their obedience, but in spite of their disobedience.

In Me is thine Help

Hosea 13:9-10.

O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in Me is thine help.

I will be thy King: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes?

You can almost hear the tears in God’s voice when He say, “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in Me is thine help.”

Even when His people turned from him to worship idols made by the hand and imagination of man, thereby bringing divine wrath on themselves, God reassures them that He is still their source of help, if only they would return to Him.

In verse 10, God reminds them of how they demanded a king so they could be just like the other nations around them. God had given them judges and prophets, but they wanted the pomp and circumstance that came with a king, a royal dynasty, palaces and treasures. His promise that HE would be their king was ignored in their demand for all the trappings of earthly kingship. So the heart of mankind has always desired to elevate itself and become as a god, gaining the worship and adoration of all those who desire such things.