Have you ever messed up so bad you just didn’t think there was any hope of getting out of the terrible situation in which you had placed yourself?
In Hosea’s day the people really messed up – idol worship, mistreating one another, lying, stealing and being violent against each other – even so, there is a glimmer of hope in chapter eleven that Jesus was coming to deliver His people.
“Life seems darkest when we see the reality of our sin. How dark it is in the light of God’s holiness!…But we have hope because we have forgiveness. We know that Christ shed His blood for the forgiveness of our sins, … And we know our consciences are cleansed by this same blood. Rejoice!” – Kay Arthur
Hosea did not make many calls for repentance, instead we find a lot of announcements of judgment. Even so, He spent time trying to show them the way, teach them the way and there were small steps of joy in all of that for Him.
Here is what I love about God – and Hosea screams this at me – just like the poem Footprints in the Sand – we do not even know how many times God has healed us, carried us, protected us, opened doors and closed doors for us – He is so amazing. How is it that I cannot trust Him more?
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
I took them up in my arms;
but they did not know that I healed them.
I led them with cords of human kindness,
with bands of love.
I was to them like those
who lift infants to their cheeks.
I bent down to them and fed them. – Hosea 11:3-4
With repentance, Jesus gives forgiveness – the word that brings hope to every heart since we have all sinned against God’s holiness. Forgiveness means total forgetfulness, nothing will be brought forward against us in the day of judgement for Jesus paid the price that we ultimately deserved – spiritual death. There is nothing we can do about that – for God does not remove the guilt and penalty of sin, He holds our account through the actions of Jesus and now we stand before Him with His righteousness, completely clean.
Can you imagine Peter giving this message to the Jewish leaders when he was brought before them after the angel set them free from prison? The encouragement he gave the murders of Christ was the hope of forgiveness – he preached repentance and the remission of sin – that Christ was ready to give them both.
Christ had to be taken to the cross, that is what most think about when Jesus was lifted up but Peter reminds the leaders of the temple that it was the resurrection and ascension of Jesus that placed Him with authority and power. Because of this, no matter what the people of earth wish to do, nothing will hinder Jesus from fulfilling His mission – for He is the Saviour to those who put in Him their hope of salvation.
“We must obey God rather than any human authority. The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.” Acts 5:29-32