Bride Day 15 Gracious Reception: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

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The Questions

1) Why is God asking Israel to return to Him?

2) What does God promise to do for those who return to Him?

3) What are the benefits experienced by those who return?

4) What is the risk of choosing not to return?

Hosea 14:1, 4-9

1Israel, return to the Lord your God,
for you have stumbled in your iniquity…

4 I will heal their apostasy;
I will freely love them,
for my anger will have turned from him.
5 I will be like the dew to Israel;
he will blossom like the lily
and take root like the cedars of Lebanon.
6 His new branches will spread,
and his splendor will be like the olive tree,
his fragrance, like the forest of Lebanon.
7 The people will return and live beneath his shade.
They will grow grain and blossom like the vine.
His renown will be like the wine of Lebanon.
8 Ephraim, why should I have anything more
to do with idols? It is I who answer and watch over him.
I am like a flourishing pine tree; your fruit comes from me.
9 Let whoever is wise understand these things,
and whoever is insightful recognize them.
For the ways of the Lord are right,
and the righteous walk in them,
but the rebellious stumble in them.

Original Intent

1) Why is God asking Israel to return to Him?
As we have seen throughout this study, the book of Hosea is God’s love letter imploring His people to come back to Him.   This final chapter is no different:  God tells His people the state of their sin and asks them to turn their hearts in His direction one final time.  God desires His rebellious people to return to Him.  In Hosea 4:1  God declares that His beloved people have turned away, and are seeking after their own desires; there is no truth, faithful love or knowledge of God remaining in them.  Instead, sinfulness has overtaken His people.  In today’s passage, God adds that His people need to be “healed of their apostasy” (verse 4) which refers very simply to God’s people turning away from what they believed (see the Holman Bible Dictionary).  They were guilty of forsaking their faith.  But rather than writing them off, God invites His people to come back to Him out of His love for them.

2) What does God promise to do for those who return to Him?
After telling His people about their current condition, God launches into a beautiful promise of what He has in store for them when, and if, they return.  God promises to receive His people with open arms, restoring what has been lost.  In verses 4-8, God promises to heal them; to love them freely; to turn away from His anger; to be like the dew and shade; and to make them fruitful.  God says here that not only will He take them back, but He will also make them flourish.  God clearly knows their failures, but He promises to bring restoration that will return them to their former beauty.

3) What are the benefits experienced by those who return?
Not only does God declare what He will do for His people, but He paints a picture of the benefits they will come to know if they will make the choice to return from their wandering.  He tells His people that they will blossom, take root, experience new growth and will give off a beautiful fragrance (v. 5-7).  He essentially promises His beloved people that their lives will have meaning, purpose, and impact.

4) What is the risk of choosing not to return?
God’s final word to His people about their rebellion is a clear warning of what will happen if they choose to continue in their disobedience.  The Lord warns His people that if they continue to pursue their own direction, walking away from what they have known of faith, they will only encounter more difficulty.  He says that their rebellion will cause them to continue to stumble in the ways of the Lord instead of bring them life. (v. 9)

Everyday Application

1) Why is God asking Israel to return to Him?
As you read about rebellion and people turning away from God, you likely found yourself thinking of someone you know who could use this post.  LET THAT GO.  NOW.  Instead, refocus your thoughts squarely back on yourself.  We are all Israelites – including you, and most definitely me (Romans 3:23).  We all have a rebellious side to us.  We all turn away in one way or another.  We forsake faithful love and walk away from growing in our knowledge of God.  So rather than giving in to the desire to show someone else where they are failing, what if we instead invite God to search me and show me where I am guilty of sin (Psalm 139:23-24) in both my heart and mind?  Give Him the invitation, time and space to respond to you.  He will be faithful, despite any faithlessness on your part.

2) What does God promise to do for those who return to Him?
Think about the last time it was a hot, miserable day and all you wanted was to find some shade.  As you stepped out of the scorching sun and into the place of relief, imagine how your body relaxed and you felt better.  Protected. At peace. This is one of the promises God makes to us if we will return to Him: to give us shade, or a place of rest and relief.  Ezekiel 17:23 is a prophetic metaphor for the coming Messiah that uses the image of a tree that will be planted for God’s people and that, “…birds of every kind will nest under it, taking shelter in the shade of its branches.”  But here’s the funny thing about it:  shade doesn’t typically find us; we have to seek it out.  We have to stay in its protective shadow.  We can also choose to leave the shade (Ezekiel 31:12), which is exactly what we do whenever we choose to continue in our rebellion.

3) What are the benefits experienced by those who return?
Hosea 6:1-3 tells us that when we return to God from our rebellion, we should “…strive to know the Lord.”  We live in a world that is great at striving; yet, how much of that effort is given in pursuit of Him or His direction for our lives?  Often we strive for tangible and worldly things that benefit us in no way.  We often choose to do this to the neglect of working to know God more and more deeply.  We want to have a life of significance and so we seek to find it for ourselves. But God promises that He holds that purpose and meaning for us and will gladly share it with us if we will come to Him.

4) What is the risk of choosing not to return?
RETURN TO ME…God wants His people to come home.  To rest.  To know Him.  To sit in His shelter.  Yet in our rebellion, we can allow arrogance to keep us in our state of unrest (Hosea 7:10). In that place, we will experience none of the blessings He has designed for us.  We will spin our wheels with our best efforts, never fully reaching our goals.  We lie to ourselves and believe that something inferior to Jesus will meet our needs.  Friend, do not fall into that trap.  RETURN.  He is waiting.  Arms wide open.  Ready to welcome you fully home.

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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