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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Growing Lilies and Deep Roots (Hosea 14:5)

 "I will be like the dew to Israel; He will blossom like a lily. Like a cedar of Lebanon he will send down his roots."

The theme of the book of Hosea is Israel's call to repentance. Hosea catalogues the sins of Israel, sparing no words as he condemns both national and personal transgressions committed against Israel's true Lord. The book ends, however, on a wonderful note of hope.

Hosea calls Israel to repentance (14:1) with a plea to "Return . . . to the LORD your God." He urges this erring nation to plan the words of repentance by which they will come to God ("take words with you and return to the LORD"). Like the prodigal son ("I will arise and go to my father and say to him . . . " - Luke 15:18), Israel's repentance is preceded by planned words seeking forgiveness and grace (14:2-3). God promises healing, love, and removal of anger for such repentance (v. 4). Ephraim's repentance will be so complete that the nation will turn from idols and seek fruit from God alone (v. 8).

Nestled in the midst of this powerful drama of repentance is the picture of the lily and the cedar. Israel shall blossom like the lily and send down roots like a cedar. Cedars can withstand harsh winds and difficult climates because their root systems extend deep into the earth. On the other hand, lilies are fragile flowers of great beauty that bloom and fade quickly. The picture is profound: on the surface, others will see this incredible flower that radiates with beauty; underneath, strong, long roots will nourish and sustain this outward appearance with great strength and power.

This is exactly what God intends for you; He desires that you so come to Him in repentance that you renounce every wrong way and live in His presence. The deep roots of a mighty relationship with Him will support a delicate beauty that draws others by the fragrance of Christ through you.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading: Hosea 10:1-14:9

  • What reasons does Hosea give for Israel's coming captivity?
  • How does Hosea describe the Lord's relationship with and care of Israel?
  • What will returning to the Lord require of Israel?
  • What does Hosea promise Israel that captivity will do for them?
  • What will captivity cure Israel of once and for all?
Micah 1:1-7
  • Review Deuteronomy 28. Verses 1-14 contain the blessing which accompany obedience while verse 15-68 address the cursing that accompany disobedience. What are the details of God's lawsuit against Israel? What have they done that has brought about their cursing?
  • What does the imagery of the Lord treading the high places tell you about God?
  • How does creation respond to the manifest presence of God?
  • What will happen to Samaria, the capital area of Israel?
Turning truth into prayer
Ask the Lord to enable you to develop deep relational roots with Him.