Summary: This sermon deals with the fact that as beleivers we don’t always get what we deserve and we don’t always deserve what we get.
“Repentance Brings Restoration”
Scripture Reading: Hosea 14:1-9
Text: Hosea 14:2-4
Sermon Idea: Do we get everything we deserve?
In the movie Les Miserables, the main character a man named Jean Valjean is released from 19 years of captivity for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister’s family. He wants to forget his past and move onto a future with more promise and hope. Yet he was dogged by society’s attitudes and by a police investigator who wants to send him back to prison.
Jean is given a place to stay by a bishop, but he can’t sleep and leaves. When leaving he takes the silver with him.
This is the end of Hosea’s prophecy. It begins with a call to repentance. It begins with prayer. The people of Israel needed to seek God’s grace and forgiveness, renew their alliance to Him by renouncing foreign alliances. Their own reliance in their military and their self-made images.
In order for God to forgive they needed to understand that they had sinned. Their return must be accompanied with the words that He gives them. When they ask for forgiveness, the Lord will forgive them. Instead of the offering of unblemished animals the Lord wanted the unblemished words from our hearts that offer praises to God.
Israel was not to put any reliance upon the nation of Assyria’s or their own armies ability to save them. She was also once and for all give up her fondness for man-made idols as her god. Israel could be assured that because God had compassion for the orphan He would have compassion for Israel.
In response to Israel’s repentance, God begins to describe the blessings, that He will shower on her. However we are told by the commentators that because they had not repented yet and they would not repent until the “Great Tribulation,” these blessings must be seen as future tense.
We have God’s grace in action. His healing of their wandering. His unconditional love for them. Israel was making commitments to God with their lips but not their hearts and God had pronounced judgement on them and placed them into captivity. Did the Israelites receive all the punishment that was to come their way? God was showing them a picture of what was going to happen in their captivity. They would begin to worship Him through their hearts and it would come out of their lips.
I. Repentance comes from the heart through our lips. (V. 2)
Matthew 12:34b says this “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (NIV). This verse has two distinct meanings in association here. Earlier in Hosea in chapter 8:2 the nation of Israel is using their lips to honor God but out of their hearts are flowing the disregard they have for God. Her prosperity made her forget God.
In this verse two in chapter 14 something different is happening. God is inviting them to return to Him. Yet He asks for a price to be paid. They must confess their sins. Eugene Peterson says this, “No judgment is inevitable. Repentance can radically change the course of events. The moment we turn away from all god-substitutes—become an ‘orphan’ to the world—and return to God, new life begins to flow” (Praying with the Prophets September 30).
Billy Graham tells a story about Georgia Tech and the University of California in the 1929 Rose Bowl. He relates the story to Jonah I would like to relate it to this chapter of Hosea.
A player recovers a fumble and in his confusion proceeds to run the other way. A teammate is able to stop him before he scores a touchdown for the other team. The half ends and all the players go into the locker room. Everybody is wondering what the coach is going to say. The player is in the corner and head hung low covered by a towel, crying.
The team is ready to go back out for the second half and to the team’s amazement the coach announces that everyone who started the first half would start the second. Everyone left except the player in the corner. He wasn’t going to leave. The coach called him again, and saw that tears were streaming down his cheeks. The player said, “Coach, I can’t do it. I’ve ruined you. I’ve disgraced the University of California. I can’t face the crowd in the stadium again.”
The coach walked over and put his hand on the players’ shoulder and said, “Get up and go back in. The game is only half over.”
When we look at this story compared to the nation of Israel and of thousands of people like the nation and even some here tonight. To think that God would give them a second chance! (More Stories for the Heart 37).