Some ancient scholars viewed the Lord, as revealed in the Old Testament,
as harsh and unforgiving, in contrast to Jesus, as revealed in the New. Why is that such a wrong conclusion? How does the message of Hosea 14 help to show just how wrong that conclusion is? What does this chapter reveal about God’s character and love for His people?
The last chapter of Hosea is a fitting climax to the message proclaimed by the prophet. It reaffirms the promise that God’s salvation will have the last word. The chapter opens with one more call to turn away from all iniquity. In bidding the people to return to God, the prophet supplies the actual words that they should say in worship. Their request should be that God take away the guilt that made them stumble. They should also renounce their dependence on the other nations and totally reject idolatry. In Bible times no person was supposed to appear before the Lord empty-handed (Exod. 23:15). Beyond bringing an animal sacrifice, the people are told to bring words of genuine repentance as their thanksgiving offering.
Then, following a penitential confession on the people’s part, God responds with a series of promises. The foremost of these is the healing of the people’s maladies by the divine Physician. God’s renewed relationship with Israel is likened to the dew that provides the only moisture available to flowers and trees during the long and dry summer season in Palestine. It is also linked to the olive tree, which is considered especially valuable, a sort of crown of the fruit trees. Its foliage provides shade and freshness and its oil is used as food, skin lotion, and as fuel for lights. The great cedars of Lebanon are considered the most useful of the large-growth trees in the lands of the Bible. Their highly prized lumber serves for the construction of temples and royal palaces (1 Kings 6:9-10). The roots planted by God will produce such an abundance of fresh plants that Israel will become a garden full of blessings for the whole world.
Read the last verse of the chapter. What conditions are required for all these promises to be fulfilled? Why is it no different for us today, in our role as Seventh-day Adventists?