By Helen Kennedy
At the outset of this chapter, Hosea says:
O Israel, return to the Lord your God,
For you have stumbled because of your iniquity;
Take words with you, And return to the Lord. (Hosea 14:1)
Plainly, the Lord exhorts us to return to Him when our wrongdoing has made us turn away.
"Take words with you," is an interesting phrase. It means that we should listen to our conscience - the voice within us that urges us to repent.
The next line,“Take away all iniquity; receive us graciously” shows very clearly what the Lord will do if the people ask Him.
Next, we have this: "For we will offer the sacrifices of our lips". We need to pay attention to detail, not only what we do but also how we speak.
“We will not ride on horses”, in verse (3), shows us to stop thinking we can escape by running away, using intelligent rationales to justify wrong acts.
“Nor will we say anymore to the work of our hands, ‘You are our gods,’” shows us to stop thinking that the things we do in the world and from ourselves are the only path to follow. Instead believe the truth that God is the only source of salvation.
“For in You the fatherless finds mercy” is saying that the Lord leaves no one without protection, and abandons no one.
“I will heal their backsliding,” in verse (4) means that God has the ability to keep people from returning to their old ways. “I will love them freely,” shows that He gives His love freely and without reservation.
“For My anger has turned away,” means the sinners’ perception of the Lord will clear and people will see He was never angry, only loving.
“I will be like the dew to Israel,” in verse (5) signifies that His instruction will be gentle like dew on the grass in the morning.
“Grow like the lily,” means the errant one will change, and will grow in purity like the lily;
“Lengthen his roots. . .” like roots growing in the ground the Lord work is in the dark and unseen.
“Branches shall spread” in verse (6) means good and truth will spread into the open and be seen, like the branches on a tree.
“Beauty shall be like an olive tree,” the beauty of the olive tree is in its bearing fruit.
“Fragrance like Lebanon,” like an aroma rising up, the ones who reform will be grateful;
“Those who dwell under his shadow shall return” in verse (7) means those in the dark of false thinking about salvation will be brought into full sunlight.
“They shall be revived like grain and grow like the vine,” explains that where good can flourish like grain in the sunlit field or be abundant like grapes on the vine.
“Their scent shall be like the wine of Lebanon“ means that this new life emanates a good scent, like the aroma of a good wine. In spiritual terms it means the person can now think through or understand why it is so important to live with good and truth joined together (Apocalypse Explained 730:15).
“What have I to do anymore with idols?” in verse (8) explains that as people are renewed they will no longer depend on their own idols of false thinking and reasoning.
“I have heard and observed Him” because they have heard the Lord speaking in His Word.
“I am like a green cypress tree; Your fruit is found in me” means that like trees that bear fruit, they will have perceptions that lead them to the life the Lord wants for them.
“Who is wise? Let him understand these things,” in verse 9 means those who accept the Lord will have wisdom to see the good paths they are to follow.
“Who is prudent? Let him know them,” explains that those being renewed will use the new thinking the Lord is giving them.
“For the ways of the Lord are right,” means they will understand that only the Lord knows the way to heaven.
“The righteous walk in them,” explains that those who are prudent will follow the Lord’s leading.
“But transgressors stumble in them,” signifies that wrongdoers will find the way to heaven difficult, and will stumble and fall away.