Spurgeon Verse Expositions - Hosea 14:1 - 14:9

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Spurgeon Verse Expositions - Hosea 14:1 - 14:9


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

According to the heading of this chapter, we have here “an exhortation to repentance,” and “a promise of God’s blessing.”

Hos_14:1. O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.

Fallen into sorrow, fallen into shame, fallen into spiritual poverty, fallen into weakness of faith, fallen almost to destruction, though thou art Israel, and God loves thee, yet “thou hast fallen by thine iniquity;” and the only possible way in which thou canst obtain restoration, is to “return unto the Lord thy God.” Seek once again thy Father’s face; cry, with the prodigal “I will arise, and go to my Father.” “O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God.” Thou mayest do so, for he bids thee come back to him. Thou should do so, for it was ill of thee to wander from him; so end thy wandering, and return unto him. “Return unto the Lord thy God.” He is “thy God” still. He denies not the sacred band which binds thee to himself. Though thou hast forsaken him, yet still he bids thee think of him, not as a stranger, but as thy God. O child of God, are you just now very heavy in heart because of your backsliding? Is the lamp of spirituality burning very low? Do you feel as if you had got into a state of spiritual barrenness? Then return—return at once—unto the Lord your God, for your sad condition is due to your iniquity.

Hos_14:2. Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him,—

He puts the words into our mouths; for he knows that, sometimes, we feel as if we cannot give proper expression to our repentance. We feel it, but we cannot utter it; so he puts the very form of the confession into his children’s mouths: “Take with you words, and turn to the Lord: say unto him,”—

Hos_14:2. Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips.

Sin has had the mastery over you; therefore, ask to have it taken away by pardon, and by the cleansing which shall deliver you from the influence and power of it! Do not ask the Lord merely to take away some of your sin, but say to him, “Take away all iniquity. Especially, if I have indulged some darling sin that has been my ruin, take that away.” “Take away all iniquity, and receive us.” “Thou canst not receive us with our sins ‘upon us. Wilt thou press us to thy bosom while we are black and foul with iniquity? No, that cannot be; so, first take away all our sin, and then receive us. Receive us again into favour with thee, into a conscious sense of thy love. Receive us when we come to thee in prayer. Receive us when we come to the communion table. Receive us as thou didst at the first, as thy sons and daughters.” “Receive us graciously.” “We cannot hope to be received on any other footing but that of thy free and abounding grace; for even if thou dost forgive and cleanse us, we shall be sinners still, and shall still need thy grace and mercy.” “Receive us graciously; so will we render.” “When thou hast put away our sin, and received us, then we will begin to serve thee; and we will bring to thee, not the calves of the legal sacrifice; for a sense of thy love will make us feel that thou delightest not in burnt offering; but we will render unto thee the calves of our lips,—our testimony to thy faithfulness,—our declaration of thy truth,—our prayer,—our praise.”

Hos_14:3. Asshur shall not save us;-

When a man trusts to his God, he gets away from all other trust. Confidence in God is the death of all other confidences: “Asshur shall not save

Hos_14:3. We will not ride upon horses:

Which, somehow or other, were always the Israelites’ fear and trust. They always looked upon horsemen as the most powerful friends or foes in the day of battle; but now they feel that all creatures shall be given up, and they will cling to God alone: “Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses.”

Hos_14:3. Neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy.

What a sweet reason this is for confidence in God, namely, that he cares for those who have nobody else to care for them,—that he becomes the Helper of those who have no other helper, and the Guardian of those who are left friendless in the world! O my soul, art thou not just such an one,—friendless, helpless, hopeless, orphaned? Fly, then, to that God in whom the fatherless findeth mercy, and thou, too, shalt find mercy. Now let us listen to the voice of God:—

Hos_14:4. I will heal their backsliding,—

He can do it; he will do it, he evidently rejoices to do it. He soliloquizes with himself, as though it were a very pleasant thought to him: “I will heal their backsliding,”—

Hos_14:4. I will love them freely:

“Though there is nothing lovely in them, though they deserve my wrath,—though, according to their own confession, they have gone after false gods, I will love them freely.”

Hos_14:4. For mine anger is turned away from him.

“I have fully forgiven them, and I have caused my great wrath to pass away from them.” Now, dear child of God, you to whom I spoke just now, who have fallen into a dull, dead, dreary sort of state, are you not encouraged to return unto the Lord when he thus declares that he will heal your backsliding, and love you freely? You shall have your joy-days back again; you shall have your old love restored; you shall have your old delight renewed; you shall again dance before the Lord for very joy of spirit.

Hos_14:5. I will be as the dew unto Israel:

“When they come back to me, I will refresh them,—softly, sweetly, efficaciously, abundantly, mysteriously, even as the dew refreshes the thirsty earth.”

Hos_14:5. He shall grow as the lily,-

Your souls shall suddenly spring up. As the daffodil-lily springs up almost in a night, and its golden bells speedily appear, so you, who seem so dead, shall grow up adorned with the golden flowers of God’s delight in you.

Hos_14:5. And cast forth his roots as Lebanon.

Fickle as you have been, God’s grace will make you stable. You shall have as firm a roothold as a cedar has, and be as fixed as Libanus himself.

Hos_14:6. His branches shall spread,

You shall begin to have influence upon others, and cast a shadow over them for their good.

Hos_14:6. And his beauty shall be as the olive tree,

His soul, bedewed by grace divine, shall be beautiful as the olive tree, which has an almost indescribable loveliness all its own.

Hos_14:6. And his smell as Lebanon.

There shall be a gracious flavour about you, who are now so sapless and dry, when once the Lord returneth to you because you have returned to him.

Hos_14:7. They that dwell under his shadow shall return;-

Your children, your friends, all those who live in your house, shall be the better for your repentance and return to God. They try you now, but when you have left off trying God, they will leave off trying you. Among a man’s own children, there are often those who remind him of his own sin against God. Do you wonder that Jacob had so much trial with his sons when you remember what kind of man he was? Are you surprised that David’s latter days were so full of trouble when you recollect his great sin? Ah! But if the Lord restores, and revives, and refreshes you, your household also shall be blessed: “They that dwell under his shadow shall return;”—

Hos_14:7. They shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.

Your household shall have such a blessedness about them that observers shall say of you and yours, “They are a seed that the Lord hath blest.” The Lord has a most gracious way of making families to be very choice and select, and full of comfort and peace, when those families walk in his fear; but when there is sin in the head of the household, there comes disorder in the family, the departure of the divine blessing, and all goes awry.

Hos_14:8. Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols?

“I have had enough of them. They have cost me sorrow enough; they have plagued me enough. I will put them away, for I must have my God, and I cannot have him and idols too.”

Hos_14:8. I have heard him and observed him:

God hears the cry of the penitent, and observes what is going on in his heart.

Hos_14:8-9. I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found. Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.

The Lord give us wisdom, by his Holy Spirit, to understand and know these things, and to put our understanding to practical account by returning unto him, for Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.



Hos_14:1. O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.

Come back, poor wanderer! My brother or my sister, if your heart has grown cold toward your Lord and Master, return to him this very hour. This message comes from God himself, through his servant the prophet, “O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.

Hos_14:2. Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips.

As if he feared that we could not find suitable words to speak to him, he puts the right words into our mouths. Our Heavenly Father is so anxious to bring back his children when they wander from him that he actually makes the prayer with which they may come back to him: “Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render to thee the praise which is thy due, which shall come from our hearts, and which our lips shall express, “If there are any of you here who have grieved your Heavenly Father by growing cold at heart, I do trust that the spirit of God will sweetly draw you back again to your old standing, and to something higher and nearer to God than even that was.

Hos_14:3. Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will me say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy.

If you expect the Lord to smile upon you, you must have done away with all your idols. You must put away all your false confidences, and those other sinful things in which you have found even a little joy, and you must come back to your Father, throwing away those rivals which have been set up in your heart, and asking him to give you grace to live henceforth for him alone.

Hos_14:4. I will heal their backsliding, —

“Nobody else can do it, but I can, and I will. I will not chide them any more, I will not keep them at a distance from me as unworthy to draw near to me; but ‘I will heal their backslidings,’” —

Hos_14:4. I will love them freely; —

That is a grand sentence. God could not love us anyhow else, for what price could you and I bring with which to purchase his love? And if his love were not most free, it could never come to such unworthy ones as we are: “I will love them freely;” —

Hos_14:4-5. For mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel: —

You know that, in the East the dew is a great fertilizer, even more so than it is here; When a plot of ground is all browned by the hot sun, the dew makes it green and fruitful again. So God says, “I will be as the dew unto Israel:” —

Hos_14:5. He shall grow as the lily, —

That is, upwards, bearing his flowers as near heaven as he can; not groveling as he once did. He shall grow rapidly, as the daffodil lily does, which seems to start up, in the East, after a shower of rain, and come to maturity at once. Lord, grant that we may bring forth lilies of grace all of a sudden! May there be in us the beauty of holy Christian love which shall come all at once! “He shall grow as the lily, —

Hos_14:5. And cast forth his roots as Lebanon.

There will be rapid growth, but sure growth. The lily has frail beauty, but Lebanon has the permanent lasting cedar; and God can make the graces of his people to be as enduring as they are beautiful.

Hos_14:6-7. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return;

His children, who were led into mischief by his bad example, shall be drawn back again.

Hos_14:7-9. They shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found. Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.



Hos_14:1. O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God;

Bless his name that he is still thy God, however much thou mayest have backslidden, thou hast not lost thy right to claim him as thy God, for he is thine eternally by a fixed entail; and because he is still thy God, let his everlasting kindness entice thee to come back to him.”

Hos_14:1. For thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.

“Thou hast lost thy comforts, thou hast become a poor despicable creature; thou hast fallen by thine iniquity, this is the eve of all the mischief; thy sin is the seed of all thy ruin; get rid of that, and thou shalt soon have thy comforts back again.”

Hos_14:2. Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him,-

See, he puts the words into your mouth; as if he felt persuaded that you would say, “Lord, I cannot pray an acceptable prayer,” he makes one for you, so that you, who have backslidden the most, and have gone the farthest astray, may have no excuse: “Turn to the Lord: say unto him,” —

Hos_14:2. Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips.

“Our thankfulness shall give thee such hearty praise that it shall not be like the Jew’s slender sacrifice, when he offered the turtle-doves or the young pigeons, but we will give thee of our praise as hearty a sacrifice as when the devout Israelite brought the young bullock, the very best of his beasts, to be offered upon the altar of his God; so we will offer to thee the calves of our lips.”

Hos_14:3. Asshur shall not save us;

-Backslider, hast thou been putting thy trust anywhere but in God, hoping to find comfort in the world and in sin? Then make this confession: “Asshur shall not save us;” —

Hos_14:3. We will not ride upon horses:

These were the confidence of the Egyptians, and the Israelites vainly tried to imitate their powerful and rich neighbours, so we will not put our confidence in the strength of cavalry.

Hos_14:3. Neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods:-

Happy is that man who turns aside from every idol, and trusts in God alone. It is a mark of very black backsliding when we begin to make our business, our families, our pleasures, and our bodily health the objects of such tender consideration that we virtually say to them, “Ye are our gods.”

Hos_14:3-4. For in thee the fatherless findeth mercy. I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.

Everlastingly turned away through the complete and satisfactory atonement of Jesus Christ.

Hos_14:5. I will be as the dew unto Israel:-

The dew is God’s gift, and so is grace; the dew falls silently, yet copiously, and bedews both the leaf and the root sufficiently. “I will be as the dew unto Israel,” is a promise to the man of faith, the man of prayer, the man who can endure trial: “I will be as the dew unto Israel;” —

Hos_14:5. He shall grow as the lily,

It is “the daffodil” in the original, the yellow daffodil, in the East, springs up after a shower where you could not have perceived anything before; yet there is the idea of frailness in that simile, so it is balanced by the next one:-

Hos_14:5. And cast forth his roots as Lebanon.

After you have grown upward, you must grow downward; and growing downward, though it may not be so pleasant, is quite as excellent as growing upward, so the promise to you is, “He shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.”

Hos_14:6. His branches shall spread,

This is growing sideways; so the believer spreads his branches by public profession and testimony after having become deeply rooted in the faith and having grown up in love to God, then he begins to spread his shadow over the sons of men by telling-

To sinners round,

What a dear Saviour he has found.”

Hos_14:6. And his beauty shall be as the olive tree,

Which largely consists in its fruitfulness. That is always the most beautiful olive which bears the most fruit; so the fruitful Christian shall have the beauty of the olive tree. Besides, the olive is an evergreen, and the Christian’s beauty is of a kind that shall never fade. There is an old saying, “Beauty soon fades” but that does not mean the Christian’s beauty, for that shall never fade, neither in life, nor in death, nor in eternity.

Hos_14:6. And his smell as Lebanon.

That is, the holy influence of his life and conversation shall be as fragrant to God and men as are the perfumes exhaled by the sweet flowers upon the side of Mount Lebanon.

Hos_14:7. They that dwell under his shadow shall return:

His children, his servants, his congregation shall be blessed by his gracious influence. As the Upas tree droppeth with deadly poison, so the tree of grace in a Christian droppeth living drops to fall on dead souls.

Hos_14:7. They shall revive as the corn,

Which suddenly springs up in the East after rain falls,-

Hos_14:7. And grow as the vine:

The branches shall in their turn become fruitful.

Hos_14:7. The scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.

Our families and households should be so well-ordered that, not only we ourselves personally, but all in our household, should have a heavenly influence, a blessed savour upon all around us.

Hos_14:8. Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols?

Let that question also go round our ranks, “What have I to do any more with idols; I, who am bought with the precious blood of Jesus; I, who am named by the name of Jesus; I, who have been baptized into the Sacred Trinity, what have I to do any more with idols?” You may make an idol of that boy or girl of yours; you may make an idol of that house or garden of yours; you may make an idol of that business or profession of yours. Do not so, I entreat you, but rather say, “What have I to do any more with idols?”

Hos_14:8. I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree;

That is what Ephraim says, and this is what God says:-

Hos_14:8. From me is thy fruit found.

We are never so fruitful as when we get all our fruit from God. We always shine in borrowed light, and we are always fruitful in borrowed fruitfulness.

Hos_14:9. Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right,-

Did your murmuring spirit say that they were not right? Because you have had some sore trial, did your repining spirit say that they were not right? They are certainly right, and you shall see that it is so one day: “The ways of the Lord are right,” —

Hos_14:9. And the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.

Even in God’s good ways, transgressors cannot stand; they fall even when they try to praise God, or to pray to him; and this is a sad proof of man’s deep depravity, that even when he is engaged in the worship of God the thing which is in itself good becomes obnoxious to God by reason of the sin which is certain to be mingled with it.



Hos_14:1. O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.

Let anyone here, who has turned aside from the Lord, hear these tender pleading words, and then yield to him who utters them. God speaks, not to condemn, but to comfort. He would fain allure you back to him with his gracious words of love: “O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.”

Hos_14:2. Take with you words, and turn to the Lord:

But the poor penitent cries, “Alas, Lord, I do not know what to say. So God puts in the sinner’s mouth the very words he is to utter.

Hos_14:2. Say unto him. Take away all iniquity, —

That is where the mischief lies, in your iniquity, your turning aside from the path of truth and iniquity. Say to the Lord, “I do not want to keep any of my iniquity, I desire to be delivered from it altogether.” “Take away all iniquity,” —

Hos_14:2. And receive us graciously: —

“Lord, take us back again. According to the greatness of thy grace, restore us to thy heart of love, and let us dwell where thy children dwell: Receive us graciously:’” —

Hos_14:2. So will we render the calves of our lips.

That is to say, “We will give thee the sacrifice of our praises. We will speak well of thy name. If we have the calves of the stall, we will give them to thee; but, in any case, we will give thee the calves of our lips.”

Hos_14:3. Asshur shall not save us; —

They had been accustomed to rely either upon Assyria or upon Egypt; and one of the first signs of their real repentance was that they had given up their false dependences. So, sinner, you must give up your self-righteousness, your ceremonialism, anything and everything in which you have trusted in place of trusting in the Lord: “Ashur shall not save us;” —

Hos_14:3. We will not ride upon horses: —

In the day of battle, they had trusted in their cavalry; but now, in the time of their repentance, they cry, “We will not ride upon horses;” —

Hos_14:3. Neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy.

What a beautiful ending there is to this verse! If any of you are full of sin and full of wants, and have become like orphans who have lost everything, and are utterly destitute, — if you have none to provide for you, and none to care for you, come to the God of the fatherless, and put your trust in him: “For in thee the fatherless findeth mercy.” Then follows this gracious promise: —

Hos_14:4. I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: —

Listen to the heavenly music: “I will.” “I will.” When God says, “I will,” you may depend upon it that he will do what he says he will. If you or I say, “I will,” it must be with the proviso, “If it is God’s will, I will do so-and- so,” but God is the almighty king whose least word is a sovereign mandate: “I will heal their backsliding: I will love them freely:” —

Hos_14:4. For mine anger is turned away from him.

If you have come back to the Lord with true penance of heart, he is no longer angry with you, but he is ready to welcome you again.

Hos_14:5. I will be as the dew unto Israel: —

“Not as first, not as tempest; but in gentle yet effectual grace, I will visit them. I will be as the dew unto Israel:” —

Hos_14:5. He shall grow as the lily,

“He shall be as beautiful and fair as the lily, though just now he was black as night.”

Hos_14:5. And cast forth his roots as Lebanon.

“He shall be as stable as he is beautiful. Like old Lebanon, the mighty mountain, which none can shake, so shall this poor sinner be when I have visited him with my love.”

Hos_14:6. His branches shall spread,

“I will endue him with usefulness and influence.

Hos_14:6. And his beauty shall be as the olive tree,

“I will load him with fruit. He shall have the beauty that belongs to that fat and oily tree, the olive.”

Hos_14:6. And his smell as Lebanon.

God can make the foul, polluted sinner to become fragrant to him: “His smell shall be as Lebanon”

Hos_14:7. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; —

His family, his work-people, his neighbours, who wandered from the Lord because he wandered, shall get good from his holy influence. His restoration shall be a benediction to them: “They that dwell under his shadow shall return;” —

Hos_14:7. They shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.

All good things come to a man when God comes to him, and he comes to God. Get right with God, and you shall get right with all things around you, and you shall be the means of helping to put other people right.

Hos_14:8. Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols?”

He will spontaneously purge himself from the evil things which he once loved. I shall not need to send the hammer to break his idols, but he shall say, out of the fullness of his own heart, ‘What have I to do any more with idols?’”

Hos_14:8-9. I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found. Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressor shall fall therein.

Yes, they shall fall even when they are in the right ways; and I know of no falling that is worse than for men to be in the ways of religion, and yet to stumble and fall even there; for, if they fall there, where will they not fall?

This exposition consisted of readings from Hosea 11, , 14.



Hos_14:1. O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.

When we fall by sin, we must regain our comfort by going back to the place where we lost it: “Return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.” Then, to help us return, God, through his servant, actually makes a prayer for us.

Hos_14:2. Take with you words, and turn to the Lord:

“What words am I to take?” asks the poor convinced sinner. “I cannot put words together.” Here are the words put into your mouth: —

Hos_14:2. Say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips.

Come with humble confession, come with sincere repentance, come with earnest supplication, come trusting to the grace of God, come bringing your heart with you, and rendering it to God as a living sacrifice.

Hos_14:3. Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy.

If you come to God to be saved, you must bring no other saviour with you. What an encouragement is given to us to come to God! He calls himself the Father of the fatherless. O thou, whose soul is orphaned, thou who art left disconsolate in a world of grief, come thou to him in whom the fatherless find mercy, for so shalt thou find mercy!

Hos_14:4-5. I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel:

“Swiftly and mysteriously will I come and refresh him.”

Hos_14:5. He shall grow as the lily,

Quickly, beautifully, —

Hos_14:5. And cast forth his roots as Lebanon.

He shall be as permanent as he is fair, like a cedar as well as like a lily.

Hos_14:6. His branches shall spread,

The dew of the Lord imparts influence to men; it gives them, as it were branches, with which they cast a wide shadow.

Hos_14:6. And his beauty shall be as the olive tree,

The beauty of fruitfulness. God grant all of us this beauty!

Hos_14:6. And his smell as Lebanon.

Oh, to stand in holy repute among men, so that there is a fragrance going forth from us, like the sweet odours from the wild thyme and other products of Mount Lebanon!

Hos_14:7. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.

When God blesses men, he also blesses those round about them. Your children, your servants, your neighbours, shall all be the better if the grace of God comes to you. So may it be!

Hos_14:8-9. Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found. Who is wise? and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.

This exposition consisted of readings from Psalms 34; and Hosea 14.