Gracious Assurances
Hosea 14:4
I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for my anger is turned away from him.

As the father was forward to meet and to welcome the returning prodigal, so our heavenly Father is ever anxious and ready to console and to restore the wandering sinner who repents, confesses, and deplores his transgressions, and casts himself upon Divine compassion. The assurances of this verse must have been comforting to Israel; they have been comforting to multitudes who have sought in the Word of God some consolation for their burdened and penitent spirits.


1. The displeasure of God with sin and with the sinner is a fact in the moral government of the universe which it would be folly to overlook. God is angry, i.e. with the wicked, every day.

2. Yet God delights not in wrath, but in mercy. Hence the provision in the gospel of redemption from the curse of the Law. It is not by any interposition from without; it is by the exercise of his own wisdom and clemency, that the great Judge of all lays aside his anger. The penitent and believing sinner is the object of the compassion of a God of righteousness and love.

II. HUMAN DEFECTION AND DISOBEDIENCE ARE OVERLOOKED AND FORGIVEN. "Backsliding" is an expression which implies that privileges and blessings have in the past been enjoyed, but then misused. Such was the case with Israel; the sin was the greater because it was sin against light and knowledge, against favor and forbearance. The grace of God is sufficient not as in the olden times, to deal with cases of defection and apostasy. These are regarded as malignant spiritual diseases; but they are not beyond the healing power of the great Physician. The virtue of the Savior's blood, the efficacy of the Spirit's purifying energy, are sufficient even for a case apparently so hard and hopeless as this supposed. None need despair who "truly repents, and unfeignedly believes Christ's holy gospel."

III. THE LOVE OF GOD ENRICHES HEARTS LONG AND PAINFULLY ESTRANGED. The promise here uttered is beyond our highest expectations. Forbearance and forgiveness do not, among men, necessarily imply the bestowal of friendship, of love. But God's ways are not our ways. He is not satisfied simply to annul a sentence of condemnation, to remit a merited penalty. He reveals the tenderness of a fatherly heart rejoicing over the restoration of those long alienated. He completes the work of recovery by manifesting his love towards those whom he pardons and accepts. The freedom and generosity of this Divine love are specially mentioned; and may well awaken the wonder and admiration of the ransomed and. restored.

APPLICATION. What gratitude, affection, and devotion are due from pardoned and accepted sinners towards him who is not satisfied merely to heal, but who condescends to love! - T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.

WEB: "I will heal their waywardness. I will love them freely; for my anger is turned away from him.

Grace Abounding
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