Righteous People Walk In The Paths Of The Lord

Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. Hosea 14:9

Hosea ended his prophetic book with that verse. In it, he said, Let those who are wise understand these things. As we look into this final chapter, let’s examine what “things” the prophet spoke of.

The Old Testament gives us a historical picture of the nation of Israel. They certainly had problems, many of which they brought on themselves because of their sin.

Hosea, along with the other prophetic writers, addressed Israel’s situations. But their prophecies included future events as well. The words Hosea spoke to the Israelites benefit everyone.

Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for your sins have brought you down. Hosea 14:1

What God Wants You To Know
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You can’t get any more universal than that. Sin brings everyone down. It caused division between humanity and God because God doesn’t accept sin in any form.

Because of sin, God flooded the entire planet. He drowned everyone except Noah and his family. So the next time you want to say, “Everyone’s doing it,” remember the days of Noah.

The Israelites often ended up in captivity. Usually, it was because they worshiped other gods and followed the customs of those who made them. They proved to be anything but righteous people.

When they got tired of being in bondage, they cried out to God, and He sent them a deliverer. When the deliverer died, whether a judge, prophet, or king, they found another way to sin.

Ask God’s Forgiveness

So, speaking through the prophet Hosea, God didn’t mince His words but spoke straightforward and to the point.

Bring your confessions, and return to the Lord. Say to him, “Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you our praises. Hosea 14:2

The Lord ensured He sprinkled the word “forgive” throughout the Bible. Even when Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He included forgiveness as a part of it.

… and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. Matthew 6:12

Immediately after Jesus taught the Lord’s Prayer, He spoke about forgiveness. He made it clear that we won’t receive forgiveness if we don’t forgive.

In the book of Hosea, God expected Israel to confess to each of the sins they had specifically committed. In other words, confession means giving God more than a blanket statement.

  • “Assyria cannot save us, nor can our warhorses.
  • Never again will we say to the idols we have made, ‘You are our gods.’
  • No, in you alone do the orphans find mercy.” Hosea 14:3

Sometimes, when we pray and ask His forgiveness, we might make a general statement. Something like, “Forgive the sins I’ve committed today.” God wanted more than that in Hosea.

When we know we have committed specific sins, we best name them individually. God wants all His people to live righteous lives, which begins by asking for forgiveness.

Keep in mind God forgives and forgets. He doesn’t hold any forgiven sin against us. The next verse tells us why He does that. 

The Lord says, “Then I will heal you of your faithlessness; my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever. Hosea 14:4

Righteous People

How Far is the East from the West?

I like what the Psalmist said in Psalm 103 about when God forgives our sins. He completely removes them, never to see them again!

For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. Psalm 103:11-12

I recently read an interesting analogy of that last verse. In your mind, picture the earth. North meets South at the South Pole, and South meets North at the North Pole.

East and west, however, never meet— neither an east pole nor a west pole exists. So, no matter how far one travels east, they will continually move east. The same holds true for traveling west.

We all sin innocently, and Jesus covered that when He taught us to ask and forgive our sins. Willful sinning shows faithlessness on our part. He forgives those, too, when we confess and ask.

I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. Israel will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon. Its branches will spread out like beautiful olive trees, as fragrant as the cedars of Lebanon. Hosea 14:5-6

God has always been like a refreshing dew from heaven, but the Israelites seldom stopped to notice it. The Lord also wants His righteous people to blossom with a sweet fragrance.

My people will again live under my shade. They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines. They will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon. Hosea 14:7

Path of Righteous People

The Paths of God’s Righteous People

In bringing this chapter to a close, Hosea recorded one more command from God. A command for us, as well as Israel, to obey. Then he followed it with two reasons why we should obey it. 

O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me. Hosea 14:8

This brings us back to where Hosea said the following. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them.

He also added something for people who act righteous but aren’t. They might fool us by their actions, but not God, because He knows everyone’s heart.

But in those paths sinners stumble and fall. Hosea 14:9

Lord, as we examine our hearts, point out anything in us that offends you. We want to walk in your paths as all righteous people do.

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