Hosea 14:4-7 I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them. I will be like the dew to Israel; he will blossom like a lily. Like a cedar of Lebanon he will send down his roots; his young shoots will grow. His splendour will be like an olive tree, his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon. Men will dwell again in his shade. He will flourish like the corn. He will blossom like a vine, and his fame will be like the wine from Lebanon.
The Prophet Hosea had been commissioned by the LORD to hold nothing back in declaring his anger and Judgement against his rebellious, idol-worshipping, compromising-with-the-God-denying-sinful-world people. The faithful Prophet had even been required to marry a prostitute to drive home this unpopular, unpalatable message (1:2)!
But now, at the end of his prophecy, he can speak freely of the LORD’s amazing, forgiving, (com)passionate love that is available to any and all who turn in genuine, heartfelt repentance (verses 1-2). How much we need to hear and respond to this powerful message today.
The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is the ‘New Israel’ (Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 3:16; Ephesians 2:18-22; Galatians 6:16; etc.), and there is a sense in which we have a firmer basis for confidence in God’s forgiveness and renewal than the OT prophets had: we KNOW that the the promise, “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them” is secure because it is based on the fact that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16), and that, in his death, Jesus has already borne the full force of God’s anger against our sin and TURNED IT AWAY FROM US!
In these days of discouragement for God’s people, we need to take hold of all God’s promises for the Church he loves so much – that “[Its] splendour will be like an olive tree, [its] fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon”, and that “men will dwell again in [its] shade”, that “[it] will flourish like the corn, … will blossom like a vine, and [its] fame will be like the wine from Lebanon.”
“Though with a scornful wonder men see her sore oppressed, by schisms rent asunder, by heresies distressed; yet saints their watch are keeping, their cry goes up, ‘How long?’ And soon the night of weeping shall be the morn of song.” (Samuel John Stone).