“I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them.” Hosea 14:4
My sister and I are the best of friends. We rarely fight, except maybe once every couple of weeks.
Last week was one of those occurrences. I already forget what we got mad at each other over, but we did. The thing about our tiffs is when we do get mad at each other every-so-often, we move on from the conflict even faster.
I don’t know if it’s an underlying rule among siblings, but fights don’t last long in our house. I would say most of the fights come from me saying something insensitive, or just being plain stupid, but my sister has never failed to forgive me.
Regardless of the conflict, the ease with which she shows me grace has always helped me to understand, in a small way, the Lord’s forgiveness.
But unlike us, God doesn’t need time to cool down before He is ready to forgive us. He is readily available to forgive us before we commit an act of sin or wrongdoing against Him! Forgiveness is not something we need to ask for in shame or pain, but something God desires our hearts and wants to show us grace.
Messing up can be hard, but it’s the realization that you may have hurt the people you love that brings us shame and pain. That’s why repentance can be so hard for people. The idea that God has forgiven us for something we did that hurt someone, and they may still feel hurt over, is a tough pill to swallow.
That’s what makes asking one another for forgiveness so difficult — it bears a risk: Rejection.
As Christians, we’re supposed to forgive and love like Jesus, but that’s not always so easy.
Lucky for us, we serve a God of unconditional love and unrelenting understanding. When we go to God in repentance, He doesn’t scold us like our friends might, nor does He hold old grudges against us. No, the God we serve is a God of grace and mercy.
We see the grace of God in the book of Hosea, as we read as the consequences of sin and repercussions of Israel’s disobedience to God comes crashing down around them. After years and years of sin, disobedience, and strife, God still called his people back to Him. God doesn’t just forgive the Israelites, but He helps guide them back to righteousness.
“I will heal their apostasy,” God promises. “I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them.” Hosea 14:4 reads.
They abandoned God, left Him for earthly things, yet He was the one who redeemed them.
How often do you abandon God for things of the world?
Even after everything they had done to hurt God, He still was waiting for them to return to Him in repentance.
We read through their call to repentance in Hosea 14:1-2. “Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity. Take with you words and return to the LORD; say to him, ‘Take away all iniquity; accept what is good and we will pay with bulls the vows of our lips’ “
It’s important to see that their call to repentance was two-pronged. They didn’t just ask for forgiveness from God, but they also performed actions of sacrifice. They demonstrate what true repentance looks like: in words, and through their actions.
We should also do the same! Go to the Lord in prayer when you mess up, confess your sins, and ask for forgiveness. But next, change your actions.
If you asked for forgiveness for gossiping, then work to stop gossiping altogether.
If you asked for forgiveness for lying, then work to stop lying.
God’s here to help you along the way and wants to see you turn from things that are evil.
In Hosea 14:4-8 we watch as the Lords language dramatically changes towards the nation of Israel.
“I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them. I will be like the dew to Israel, he shall blossom like the lily; he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon; his shoots shall spread out, his beauty shall be like the olive, and…”
The Lord is speaking to the same people who brought so much disgrace to Him and turned from His guidance for so long. Instead of saying, “you did this wrong,” or “you guys are a lost cause,” God says that his people will “flourish” and “blossom,” and that they will be filled with “beauty” and “fame.”
This is the same God we have access to! We serve a God whose character is made up of mercy, forgiveness, and kindness. Remember this when you start to think your sins are too big to bring to God.
He conquered the world, so nothing is too big for Him, not even your dirtiest of sin.
Just like with praying through your praises, praying through your sins is a good way to get to know God better.
Asking for forgiveness and repenting of your sins should be something you learn to implement throughout each day. As soon as you find yourself heading in the direction of sinning, go straight to prayer. Ask God for guidance and strength to get you out of a sin-mindset and into a holy-mindset.
Asking for forgiveness from God will also help you to easily ask humans for forgiveness. But just like with God, if you ask for forgiveness from friends, you must also change your actions to match your words.
Just like He did with Israel, God is patiently waiting for you to go to Him in repentance, no matter the gravity of your sin.
You can read “Learning To Pray Praises” from yesterday HERE.
Thoughts Of The Day
This day is a little harder than yesterday. Often times it’s way easier to pray praises than it is to pray in repentance. Do you already practice praying your repentance to God?
Make a list this morning of things you would like to ask God forgiveness for! Pray through this list, asking God for forgiveness over each one.