Behold a Noontide of Light!

“O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. 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. Asshur shall not save us, we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in Thee the fatherless findeth mercy.'”- Hosea 14:1-3

We are in the last chapter of the book of the prophet Hosea. Throughout the book there has been thunder: sometimes a low rumbling, as of a distant tempest, sometimes peal on peal, as of a storm immediately overhead. And now the tempest has gathered all its force. Here it culminates. You expect the bolt of heaven to destroy. Lo, instead thereof a silver shower of mercy! The gentle drops come down plenteously, and you hear their fall upon the tender herb like music soft and low. God does not say, “O Israel, depart accursed!” But instead thereof, in dulcet tones He cries, “O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God.” In the midst of wrath He remembers mercy. He stays His uplifted hand, reins in the steeds of vengeance, and holds communion with grace; “for His mercy endureth forever,” and “judgment is His strange work.” Behold the Judge, instead of putting on the black cap to pronounce doom of death, stretches out His hands to the condemned, and in tones of pity cries, “O Israel, return”!

This is a wonderful chapter to be at the end of such a book. I had never expected from such a prickly shrub to gather so fair a flower, so sweet a fruit; but so it is: where sin abounded, grace doth much more abound. No chapter in the Bible can be more rich in mercy than this last of Hosea; and yet no chapter in the Bible might, in the natural order of things, have been more terrible in judgment. Where we looked for the blackness of darkness, behold a noontide of light! ~ C.H. Spurgeon

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