God’s Verdict

Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity. Take with you words and return to the LORD; say to him, “Take away all iniquity; accept what is good, and we will pay with bulls the vows of our lips. Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride on horses; and we will say no more, ‘Our God,’ to the work of our hands. In you the orphan finds mercy.” I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them. I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily; he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon; his shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive, and his fragrance like Lebanon. They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow; they shall flourish like the grain; they shall blossom like the vine; their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon. O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols? It is I who answer and look after you. I am like an evergreen cypress; from me comes your fruit. Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the LORD are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.
Hosea 14:1–9
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God’s Verdict
The guilty never want their day in court. They know their guilt and they fear the sentence. Throwing oneself at the mercy of the court is not a sure bet, because the guilt is still there. Their crime has been committed and they must pay. Israel’s guilt was overwhelming, the evidence of Israel’s apostasy was incontrovertible. God’s indictment leveled through His prophet Hosea was solid. In our own cases, the verdict is similarly clear. We have no defense. We are guilty of turning from God towards sin. We deserve His wrath and punishment. Yet, when the verdict is read at our trial, we hear the words “not guilty”. How can this be? It is so because Jesus Christ has borne our sentence for us. He took the Father’s wrath; He took our punishment.  The dew of His mercy and the shade of His cross heal our apostasy. The nail marks and thorn-pierced forehead declare us innocent before God. For this, we give thanks to our Lord Jesus, for all that He has done to make us holy and righteous. May we always walk in His ways now and forever.
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