Monday, June 13, 2016

Hosea 14

Hosea 14
Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for your sins have brought you down. Bring your petitions, and return to the Lord. Say to him, "Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you the sacrifice of praise. Assyria cannot save us, nor can our strength in battle. Never again will we call the idols we have made 'our gods.' No, in you alone do the orphans find mercy."

The Lord says, "Then I will heal you of your idolatry and faithlessness, and my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever! I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. It will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon. Its branches will spread out like those of beautiful olive trees, as fragrant as the cedar forests of Lebanon. My people will return again to the safety of their land. They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines. They will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon.

"O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who looks after you and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green, giving my fruit to you all through the year."

Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those who are discerning listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, 
and righteous people live by walking in them. But sinners stumble and fall along the way.

God of Grace, have mercy on me! Admittedly, I'm conceited and controlling, insisting on having my own way. Thoughtless and inconsiderate, I'm absolutely self-absorbed, self-assured, self-righteous, self-reliant, self-seeking and just plain SELFISH. Demanding my own rights, I'm completely disrespectful and irreverent, denying Your supreme authority over my life. Vigilantly looking for virtues in others, I cease to be virtuous myself. O Lord, how I've disappointed You. Please be gracious, forgive me, and accept my sweet sacrifice of praise. 
Heal me of my selfish idolatry and faithlessness. Let Your limitless love fall fresh on me like tiny teardrops from heaven. Watered by them, I'll burst up from the dirt of despair like a lovely lily in springtime. My roots will go down deep and I'll stand firm, free and fragrant like a tall cedar in Lebanon. I'll produce many off-shoots and become a sheltering forest where others will find relief from the hellish heat. My beauty will be widespread like that of a hearty, ancient olive tree. I'll grow gracefully like a golden grain of wheat. My vine will be famous for producing fresh, flavorful fruit. 
O Lord, my God, You are the everlasting Tree of Life. You protect me and provide for me. Everything I need is found in You. In the shelter of Your presence give me wisdom to fully understand Your generosity and goodness. Carefully listening to Your time-proven, trustworthy teaching, I'll stand firm on Your powerful promises. My heart's desire is to live well by You and grasp all the blessings You bestow on those who walk close beside You. Following You, I will be faithful, fulfilled and fruitful and Your holy name will be glorified. Amen.

Confess your waywardness, asking the God of Grace to forgive and heal you. Then, claim all the powerful promises contained in these verses. Following Him, you will be faithful, fulfilled and fruitful.

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