Though backslidings from God are dangerous diseases of the soul, yet they are not incurable,
for God graciously promises that if backsliders will return to be reconciled to Him and to His whole will,
He will heal their backslidings and make them conscious of His love.
1 O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.
2 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.
3 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.
4 ¶ I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.
5 I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.
6 His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon.
7 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.
8 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.
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.
Hosea 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Hosea 13:15-16; 14:1-9 – “I Will Heal Their Backsliding.”
The prophet here ransacks the world of nature for phrases sufficiently expressive of his transports of joy. The whole world seems laid under contribution to set forth the love of God. The gentle dew, the rich raiment of the lily, the far-reaching spurs and roots of the Lebanon range, the spreading branches of the olive, the fragrant breath of the wind which is laden with the perfume of the land, the golden corn ripe for the sickel, the scent of the vines – these are the images with which the inspired imagination of the prophet teems.
But how deeply the chapter appeals to us! The very words that returning prodigals should adopt are set down. And as we return, we hear the divine voice assuring us that our backslidings shall be healed, that there is no anger and only love, and that God himself shall be the sap of our fruit-bearing life. Our Father wants it to be clearly understood that these promises do not belong to Israel only but to all who will accept them. (Meyer)
Hosea 14:5 – The dew does not fall on rude or stormy nights; there must be stillness and repose. And it does not fall on cloudy nights; there must be nothing of cloud between our souls and God if we would have His dews. The dew does not fall on the world’s beaten highways, but on the green grass, on the least and lowliest blade of life; for God cherishes all He plants. Grace always attracts dew. (Fox)
Hosea 14:8—I am like a green fir tree. From Me is thy fruit found.
This chapter abounds with picturesque natural imagery. The dew distilling on the parched herbage, as the sign of the Holy Spirit. The blossoming lily, fragile but beautiful, an emblem of the retiring grace and purity of Christian character. The roots of Lebanon, descending far down into the valley, anchoring in its rugged strength, significant of the stability which in each Christian should mingle with grace. The silver beauty of the olive, the cool aromatic breath of the wind that has passed over the snows and slopes of Lebanon, commemorating the beauty and fragrance of the influence of the child of God. The covering shadow, the yellowing corn, the delicious scent of the vine, when it gives a good smell, to denote the gifts and graces of holy living. And finally, all of these summed up in the cry of Ephraim, “I am like a green fir tree.” O child of God, canst thou appropriate this wealth of imagery for thyself? Are the facts which these symbols denote true of thy life? Be not content to be as the lily, seek also to be as the rooted strength of Lebanon; be not satisfied with the similitudes of beauty, seek also those of usefulness. And above all, be an evergreen, never showing signs of autumnal decay.
But, amid it all, remember the caution — “From me is thy fruit found.” Count naught thine own but sin. Thou hast nothing thou didst not receive; thou couldst do nothing apart from Jesus. It is only as thou abidest in Him, and He in thee, that thou canst bring forth any fruit, or be fragrant, or serve any good purpose in the world.
“As some rare perfume in a vase of clay
Pervades it with a fragrance not its own,
So, when Thou dwellest in a mortal soul,
All heaven’s own sweetness seems around it thrown.” (Meyer)