There is a way back to God!
Despite repeatedly turning aside to false gods, one last time God appeals to Israel to return to Him.
As a first step, Hosea provides Israel with a model prayer they can use in order to start a conversation with God. The prayer opens with an honest, humble prayer of confession. And confession is the first critical step in sinners returning to God. Instead of constantly offering empty sacrifices to God accompanied by words they don’t mean, Israel must have an honest conversation with God…starting with an admission of wrongdoing.
The second step in returning to God is means actively turning away from false hopes and false gods. Instead of worshipping God alone – as they promised – Israel incorporated all kids of religion from the surrounding Canaanite countries. Hosea encourages Israel to turn away from this false religion and to worship God alone.
God is waiting to provide Israel with the most lavish welcome – if only they would return to Him. God promises blessing upon blessing for those who will turn back.
Will Israel listen? Will they respond by accepting God’s generous and undeserved invitation to return? Sadly not. Preferring their hand-made idols and trusting in foreign nations for their security, Israel refuses to return.
As we watch on, Hosea’s prayer is relevant to us…we who, like Israel struggle to love God with our whole heart…we who are equally tempted to place our trust in small ‘g’ gods who lure us away from being devoted to God. Will we listen and respond to God’s invitation to return?
The one who is wise will learn from Israel’s failure. The one who is discerning will accept God’s invitation…looking forward to His rich blessing!