Hosea 14:2, 3
Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say to him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously…
Words alone are vain. Yet, in the order of nature, words are the expression of thought and sentiment and resolve. Especially must words uttered to Heaven be sincere and truthful; for he is the Searcher of hearts, whose favor the sinner beseeches with contrition and with confidence. Let it, then, be understood that the words here suggested as suitable for the repenting sinner's address to God are the utterance of deep emotion and sincere resolution.
I. PENITENT CONFESSION. Israel acknowledges that there has been misplaced confidence. She has trusted in alliances with Assyria, in military resources, in the vain aid of the idols of the surrounding idolaters. In all this she has been her own enemy, and has been proving her own folly. The confession, which is the indispensable condition to acceptance, is here made.
II. REPENTANCE AND RESOLVE. Israel not only sees the fact and feels the reproach concerning herself; she resolves upon a change - a turning from human aid and an abandonment of self-confidence. Apart from this there is no hope of a safer way, a better life.
III. ENTREATY FOR FORGIVENESS AND ACCEPTANCE. Israel loathes her sin, and desires that both the sin and its consequences should be removed. Israel is weary of enmity with God, and desires that there may be peace, that she may be accepted and dealt with in grace and love.
IV. THE SUPPLIANT'S VOW. It has ever been characteristic of human nature to deal with the higher Power as though that power were human, and to be appeased with offerings and with promises of service. Vows have been and still are made under the influence of this superstitious belief, Yet this is no argument against such vows as that here put into the lips of Israel: "So will we render the calves of our lips." Sacrifices of obedience and of praise are just on the part of man, and are acceptable to God. None who is graciously pardoned and accepted can withhold this tribute. There have doubtless been those who, in their ignorance and unspirituality, have hoped to bribe Deity with the proffer of their praises. But none the less does it become the pardoned penitent to express his gratitude to him who is plenteous in forgiveness. - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.