Green Valley Sermons

In Thee the Orphan finds Mercy


Sunday, November 23, 2014  

Hosea 14:1-9


1 Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God,

For you have stumbled because of your iniquity.

2 Take words with you and return to the Lord.

Say to Him, "Take away all iniquity,

And receive us graciously,

That we may present the fruit of our lips.

3 "Assyria will not save us,

We will not ride on horses;

Nor will we say again, 'Our god,'

To the work of our hands;

For in Thee the orphan finds mercy."


4 I will heal their apostasy,

I will love them freely,

For My anger has turned away from them.

5 I will be like the dew to Israel;

He will blossom like the lily,

And he will take root like the cedars of Lebanon.

6 His shoots will sprout,

And his beauty will be like the olive tree,

And his fragrance like the cedars of Lebanon.

7 Those who live in his shadow

Will again raise grain,

And they will blossom like the vine.

His renown will be like the wine of Lebanon.


8 O Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols?

It is I who answer and look after you.

I am like a luxuriant cypress;

From Me comes your fruit.


9 Whoever is wise, let him understand these things;

Whoever is discerning, let him know them.

For the ways of the Lord are right,

And the righteous will walk in them,

But transgressors will stumble in them. NASB


As Hosea ends his writings he sums up the book of Hosea. This has been a call to Israel to repent and return to the God who loves them. The personal call of God on Hosea to marry Gomer, a prostitute and unfaithful wife, was a very personal illustration of God's faithfulness to Israel and Israel's unfaithfulness to God. As Hosea ends the messages to his wayward flock he calls them to return to God.

There are three words that are used to speak of Israel's sin in this last chapter of Hosea. If we are going to repent of our sin we need to understand what that sin is. Hosea gives us three pictures of what sin is.


The first is iniquity. The idea with this word is something that is bent or crooked. Have you ever eaten with a fork that the tines were bent? Doesn't that feel awful. A bent tool is difficult to use properly. Have you tried to use a screw driver that had a bent shaft? It just does not work very well.


You cannot do much with a bent tool. That fork would just not feel right when you put it in your mouth. Bent screw drivers are not of much use any more. Those come from using a tool for an incorrect purpose. Screw drivers should not be used as pry bars. Eating utensils should be used for the purpose they were meant for.


Iniquity is being bent out of shape, or crooked. When we move away from God we begin living in a state of iniquity. We were intended to live with God, as His servants, His children. We have no purpose apart from this. God made us to have fellowship with Him. From this relationship He is glorified and we are cared for by the God of all Creation. When we begin seeking our meaning and purpose in other things we are bent. We are living in iniquity. God calls us to return to Him from this state of crookedness.


The second word for sin that is used in translating Hosea's prophecy is apostasy. Webster defines apostasy as a renunciation or abandonment of a former loyalty. The word in the original language gives the idea of turning away, or backsliding. In verse 4 Hosea quotes God as saying, “I will heal their apostasy, I will love them freely”.


God loves people and He desires to heal us. He desires to return us from our crookedness, our iniquity to our original state. We just need to honestly pray the prayer that Hosea gave to Israel in the 2nd and 3rd verses of this closing chapter of the prophet.

2 Take words with you and return to the Lord.

Say to Him, “Take away all iniquity,

And receive us graciously,

That we may present the fruit of our lips.

3 Assyria will not save us,

We will not ride on horses;

Nor will we say again, 'Our god,'

To the work of our hands;

For in Thee the orphan finds mercy."


When we turn away from following God, we are orphans. We have rejected our Father. We are not fulfilling our purpose in life. We were made to live as children of God. We were created to live in relationship to Him. When we commit apostasy, we are turning our backs on the Lord. When we sin, go our own way like wandering sheep as one of the other prophets put it. We are ignoring the best that life has to offer and going out to pastures that are not safe and streams that are poisoned. God does not want this for us. He calls us to return to Him and pray. We are to put away our idols: those things that distract us from following God.


Iniquity is crookedness, being bent out of shape so as to be a useless tool. Apostasy is backsliding or turning away from the source of life and hope and meaning.


The third word Hosea uses to refer to sin is transgressors. Actually referring to those who commit sin. The idea here is of one who breaks away from proper authority.


The last verse of this last chapter of Hosea says: “9 Whoever is wise, let him understand these things;

Whoever is discerning, let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right, And the righteous will walk in them, But transgressors will stumble in them.”


We have only one rightful authority. He is Lord of lords and King of kings. His authority is above all others. “The ways of the Lord are right and the righteous will walk in them, but transgressors will stumble in them.” When we ignore the Lord's leading we are stumbling around in the dark. We do not know where we are going. We have no purpose that will carry us through this life and into eternity.


Loving people is good and right. But there is a higher purpose. Loving God must come first. If you love God He will lead you to love people. Loving, trusting, and obeying God come first. This is our eternal purpose. The best way to love people is to call them to return to be healed of our iniquity, our apostasy, our transgression. We must call them to return to the only truly proper authority in life. This is what is best for people.


You can feed them, clothe them, and house them and we should as God leads us, but until you point them to God they do not have what they really need. They will not be healed of their sinfulness until they return to the Lord.


Hosea's call to repentance begins and ends with stumbling.


Verse 1 says “Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity.” And the last part of verse 9 says “For the ways of the Lord are right, And the righteous will walk in them, But transgressors will stumble in them.”


Our iniquity, our bentness, our crookedness has caused us to stumble. He says transgressors, those who reject proper authority, stumble in walking in the ways of the Lord. We are called to return to a proper relationship to God. We are called to accept His right to be the final authority in our lives.


We have a Heavenly Father who loves us and wants to have a relationship with us. We do not need to live as if we are orphans who have no one who will lead us and take care of us.


When we have the proper understanding of sin and decide to return to the Father, He promises to accept us and heal our bentness, our crookedness, our transgression, our apostasy. We are called to return to following God who is our proper authority. We are called to face God and allow Him to forgive us and heal us.


When we do, we will thrive. Hosea says we will be beautiful like the lily. We will have roots that go deep like the cedars of Lebanon. Have you ever seen those pictures of the rugged little cedars that are dwarfed and misshapen up on the rocks of mountains? Some of them are known to have roots that go down through cracks in the rocks for great distances, searching for water and the nutrients they need from fertile soil.


God promises we will have deep roots that will anchor us in life if we return to Him and repent of living life our own way. We are called to follow Him and allow Him to be our King.


He promises that He will make us to be a people who are famous for our productivity and we will bring honor and glory to our Father. This is our purpose in life. Are you seeking Him and allowing Him to change you from one who is bent because of your rebellion against Him?


Refuse to live for what other people live for. Do not allow the world to shape you in its image. Seek God and allow Him to mold you into the image of God's Son, Jesus Christ, who was willing to follow the Father through death and the grave to bring honor to the Father and to bring us back to the glorious beings we were meant to be by the only authority that really matters.


The righteous walk in the ways of the Lord. Transgressors, or those who break away from proper authority are walking in other ways that lead to destruction and death.


9 “Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; Whoever is discerning, let him know them.”


True wisdom is walking in the way of the Lord. Following Him. Trusting Him to Love us and trusting Him to Lead us, to be our Lord.


Do you hear God calling you to follow Him today? Do you understand that your iniquity has caused you to stumble? Are you willing to return to seeking and following the only Master who really matters? Seek Him and He will be found.


Proverbs 3:5-6 says:

“5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.”


When we turn from following God, we are as orphans. God offers mercy to all us orphans. In God the orphan finds mercy. Come to Him today.