from Lynda Lindsey
Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall! Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to Him: “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.” Hosea 14:1-2
“O Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols? I will answer him and care for him. I am like a green pine tree; your fruitfulness comes from me.” Hosea 14:8
Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them. Hosea 14:9
Rebels defiantly oppose and resist authority, are proud of their non-conformist attitudes, and see themselves as heroes leading a charge against the establishment. God, however, doesn’t label a rebel a hero, but a sinner in need of repentance. The wise and discerning understand God’s ways and walk uprightly; rebels, in their unwillingness to conform to God, stumble through life. Sinners all, rebellious to the core, have only to return to the Lord seeking forgiveness with words of repentance and restoration will follow.
With what words do we approach the Lord? We ask the Lord to receive us graciously and forgive all our sins. We admit we cannot save ourselves and confess the worthlessness of trusting anything except the Lord for salvation. We confess and renounce as vain hope the idols of riches, fame, power, and greed. We lift up praise and thanksgiving to God from our heart.
God sees into the heart of a repentant son or daughter; His ears are quick to hear our contrite prayer. He forgives. God turns His anger away from us. He heals. He restores. He makes us fruitful again. Our roots grow deep, our life flourishes like a spreading tree that offers shade and respite to others. Be wise. Be discerning. Gain understanding. Walk in the ways of the Lord. Sow for yourselves righteousness. Reap the fruit of unfailing love. Break up the unplowed ground of your heart…because a tender heart is ever receptive to the Lord. Turn, or return, to the Lord. Ask, seek, and find Him; His door will open!