Template:DOD protected/September 19

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September scripture portion: Ezekiel 12 - Malachi (including the Books of Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi)

In today's reading Israel's restoration is promised. The Book of Hosea does not end on a note of gloom, but Hosea sees the future glory of the nation of Israel. Just as his wife was brought back from slavery and restored to his home and heart, so the nation would one day be restored to her land and to her Lord. These closing chapters magnify the faithful love of God in contrast to the unfaithfulness of His people.

In chapter 14 God gives a loving appeal to His "wife" (the nation of Israel) to return unto Him. He asks for sacrifices from her lips--words of confession--and not the sacrifices of animals. In return, He promises to heal their backslidings (verse 4) and restore them to His favor. He pictures the nation as a fruitful tree or vine (verses 4-7), once she was turned from her idols and returned to the Lord. Of course, we know that Israel is still not fruitful, but we also know that God's Word says she will be when Jesus Christ returns to the earth to establish His Kingdom and fulfill the promises made to her forefathers.

The closing verses of Hosea present two ways-- the way of the Lord, which is right; and the way of transgressors, which is wrong. I trust you will claim verse 4 for yourself, and experience the healing of sins forgiven!

The personal message here is that backsliders may return to the Lord, experience His forgiveness (I John 1:9), and be restored to the place of blessings and usefulness.