Bible Reading: Hosea 14:1-9
One of the most moving pictures of the father of the prodigal son is the way that he watches and waits for his son to return. It wasn’t insignificant that he was watching and saw his son coming home when the son was still a long way off. He was always watching, scanning the horizon and longing for his son. This picture speaks of both grief and patience.
In the same way that the father of the prodigal grieved over and patiently waited for his lost son to return, so our Heavenly Father grieves and patiently waits for lost sinners to come home to Him.
Our Father knows the emotions of both great joy and grief. Jesus was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He wept when His friend Lazarus died and He saw the sorrow of Martha and Mary, and He wept over Jerusalem. When Jesus asked His disciples who did men say that He was, one of the answers was Jeremiah – known as the weeping prophet. The Bible says that God grieved over Israel’s sin when they wandered in the wilderness [Hebrews 13:10,17]. Paul commands Christians not to grieve the Holy Spirit [Ephesians 4:30]. Yes, God does grieve.
Many years ago, I heard a well-known pastor speaking about grief over sin. His teenage daughter had been very naughty, was telling lies and stealing. He and his wife had tried everything to make her change her ways. They spoke with her, withheld privileges from her, prayed over and punished her, but nothing seemed to work. One morning, before she left for school, her father sat with her and began to weep. In desperation he said to her, “What can we do to help you see the folly of your ways and change?” The daughter couldn’t wait to get home from school and ran straight to her father. “Daddy,” she said, “I am so sorry that I have been so naughty. Please forgive me.” Her father was puzzled at this amazing change of heart that turned out to be permanent and not temporary. When he asked why she had so dramatically and radically, changed her response was, “Daddy, I had never seen you cry over me before!” May our Heavenly Father help us to see the grief that our sin causes Him, as He longs for us to return to Him and repent over the things that break His heart.
We sometimes sing a song that says, “Break my heart over the things that break your heart”. What are the things in your life that might be breaking God’s heart?
Read Hosea 14:1-3. What is God pleading with His people to do in this passage?
What does He promise to those who give heed to his words [Hosea 14:4-8]?
What are the pictures of the Christian life that the words “dew” “grow” “roots” “branches” “beauty” and “fragrance” in this passage from Hosea portray?