Summary: Sermon #11 (and final) in a study in Hosea
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 You the orphan finds mercy.”
For those of you who think in pictures the suggestion I’m about to make would be unnecessary. For those of you who do not tend to put mental imagery to the words you hear, I’d ask you to think about what the prophet is calling the people to in the opening verses of this chapter, and visualize what the setting would be.
Here is a nation of people steeped in idolatry. They are guilty of faithlessness and deceit and spiritual adultery. As we have witnessed in earlier chapters, God has declared that He would remove Himself from them until they turn and acknowledge their guilt and acknowledge Him in repentance.
So in this final chapter of his writing the prophet is calling for just that. And using our imaginations we envision an offended king, high up on his throne and looking out over a kingdom of rebels. It is only by his grace and mercy that he has not sent out his army to obliterate his subjects.
But they have seen their evil and have experienced remorse for their wrongdoing, and now they are coming before him to acknowledge their guilt and acknowledge his goodness and seek his forgiveness.
This begs the question, just how should people such as these, approach a king such as this?
As I began to contemplate that it reminded me of the recent visit of the Queen of England to the United States. I was tickled at the obsessive attention that was given by the media to the proper exercise of protocol and the frequent faux pas they were able to detect and get on film during the Queen’s stay.
I tried not to spend too much of my time following these events, but I do remember passing the television one morning and hearing the newscaster chuckle as Mickey Rooney, who was in attendance at one of the functions given to honor her visit, reached out without invitation and shook the Queen’s hand. Apparently this is a ‘no-no’ when greeting or being greeted by royalty. So of course, the media couldn’t let it go by with any show of grace, even though the Queen herself very graciously shook Mr. Rooney’s hand and seemed to take no notice of his lack of attention to these details.
Having remembered that scene, memorable and mentionable only because CNN thought it was more important than anything else going on around the globe at that moment, I went to my computer and ‘Googled’ the words, ‘preparing to go before royalty’, and found this list of instructions published by someone named Baron Modar Neznanich.
I won’t give you the whole thing; just some highlights:
First listed are the reasons you may be going before royalty.
a. You are receiving an award
b. You are an officer and have an official function to perform