Hosea 14

The Word Made Fresh

1Israel, return to the LORD your God!
You have stumbled because of your sins.
2Return, and say these words to the LORD:
“Remove our guilt, and accept that which is good.
We will offer the words of our lips.
3Assyria won’t save us and we will not mount war-horses.
We will no longer call the things our hands have made our gods.
Your orphans find mercy in you.”
4I will heal their sinfulness and love them freely
for my anger has been turned away from them.
5I will be like the dew to Israel,
and he will blossom like the lily.
He will take root like Lebanon.
6His roots will spread out
and he will be as beautiful as the olive tree.
His fragrance will be like a cedar of Lebanon.
7They will once again live in my shadow
and grow like a garden; they will blossom like the vine
and their fragrance will be like the wine of Lebanon.
8What does Ephraim have to do with idols?
I am the one who answers and looks after you.
I am like the evergreen cypress tree,  
and your fruit comes from me.
9The wise ones will understand these things.
Anyone who possesses discernment will know them.
The LORD’s ways are right and the righteous walk in them,
but sinners stumble through them.


1-3: Hosea begs Israel to return to God as an orphan begging for mercy, for the scriptures have made abundantly clear that God has tender compassion toward the orphan and the widow.

4-7: Here is God’s response. Is this not the response God makes to every repentant sinner?

8-9: Verse nine presents a number of difficulties in translation. However, the sentiment seems to be pretty clear: If/when they repent, their security will be secured by God’s faithfulness to them even though they have been unfaithful to God. The book ends with a platitude we have seen often, especially in the book of Proverbs: “The LORD’s ways are right and the righteous walk in them, but sinners stumble through them.”


Hosea presents God as a loving parent who is angered by the children’s sinful behavior and will send punishment commensurate with their sins. But then God is also a loving parent who forgives and once again embraces the wayward child. It doesn’t matter how far we have strayed; God is always ready to welcome us home.