Wise people listen to God’s word, understand its meaning, follow its teaching, and show that they are righteous.
Whoever is [spiritually] wise, let him understand these things;
Whoever is [spiritually] discerning and understanding, let him know them.
For the ways of the Lord are right,
And the righteous will walk in them,
But transgressors will stumble and fall in them.
Hosea 14:9 (AMP)
Hosea’s book closes with a saying that could be taken from the collection of proverbs. It assumes the teaching that being wise is life’s ultimate achievement. It summarizes the prophet’s teaching from a different perspective than that in the rest of chapter 14.
In effect, this saying provides a self-test to see if you have caught the message of the book. If you have read correctly, you will understand what has been taught, will apply it to your life, and will walk in it because the words of the prophet teach God’s ways.
To obey the prophetic call for repentance is to be righteous and walk in God’s ways. To refuse to accept the prophet’s words is to stumble off the path of God’s ways in rebellion.
Hosea had issued a woe oracle against rebels in Hosea 7:13 and called for the trumpet alarm in Hosea 8:1 to warn a people who had rebelled against God’s law that danger lurked. In Hosea 4:5 he claimed both people and prophets stumbled in not obeying God’s basic expectation. In Hosea 5:5 he denounce Israel (Ephraim) for arrogantly stumbling in their sin, leading Judah to stumble with them.
Then the last words in Hosea’s book (transgressors will stumble and fall in them) form an artistic inclusion with the same thought in Hosea 14:1 (“You have stumbled and fallen [visited by tragedy], because of your sin”), giving a frame to this concluding chapter.
Foolish Israel stumbles through life sinning and following any path but God’s. They can display their wisdom only by hearing the prophetic call to repent, turning away from their path of sin, and turning to God for forgiveness. That of Hosea is righteousness.
Sinners must quit stumbling along the path of sin, find the way back to God in repentance, accept God’s loving forgiveness and healing, discard their idols, find new life under God’s blessing and act with wisdom.
PRINCIPLES TO LIVE BY
- Sinners have one direction to go for help and hope.
- The way back to God involves repentance, turning from sin and turning to God.
- Repentance involves confessing sin and asking God for forgiveness.
- Repentance involves obeying God rather than trying to please God through human rituals and efforts.
- Repentance involves giving up all other allegiances and committing oneself to God alone.
- God wants to heal his people and show them his love.
- God changes a repentant people into a people with splendor and beauty that attract others to him.
- Admit you are a sinner.
- Confess your sins to God.
- Ask God to forgive you.
- Quit trying to impress God with your goodness.
- Admit that anything but God on which you rely cannot save you.
- Depend on God’s healing and love to make you what He wants you to be.
- Become wise in God’s eyes.
Father, we are sinners. We can bring nothing to you to deal with our sins. We ask you to forgive our sins, and we commit ourselves right now to turn away from stumbling down sin’s paths. We will turn around to walk in your ways.
I pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ! Amen.
DECLARATION OF FAITH
The ways of the Lord are just and proper, and I walk in them.
In and through Him, I obtain tremendous wisdom and understanding.
In Him, all of the precepts and promises in the Word are realized in my life.
I declare this declaration of faith in the name of Jesus Christ! Amen.
Holman Old Testament Commentary
The Complete Personalized Promise Bible