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Sunday, September 23, 2012

I Will Be as the Dew Unto Israel

In the Book of Hosea, at chapter fourteen and verse five, the Word says: "I will be as the dew unto Israel." You will notice that the rest of the chapter discloses that this is a promise for the contrite, for those who are aware and deeply grieved by the baseness of their own departure from the Lord, and lack of faithfulness to Him. The chapter opens,

O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and return unto the Lord: say unto Him, "Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render as bullocks the offering of our lips"

That is the kind of person to whom the Lord says, "I will be as the dew," - the one who has only God's mercy to appeal to. There may be some who would resent the application of this story of Hosea to themselves, for it is a very dark one, showing the worst kind of ingratitude and unfaithfulness. You may think, "Well, there are Christians like that, but not me." You may perhaps feel, "Well, I know some people like that, but I am not the one." Then, all I can say to you, dear friends, is that this promise is not for you: "I will be as the dew unto Israel."

Now, do not say you have no promises and no blessings. You may have the lightning and the thunder and the rainstorm, but you will not have the dew. The dew is only for the contrite! And if you will look at the last verse of this chapter, you will find that this is what it is saying, "Who is wise, and he shall understand these things?" - This obviously does not only refer to this chapter, but to the whole book, and it is regarded by many as the final comment when the book is read. The whole story is told, "Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them?"

This chapter is the chapter of the joys of reconciliation, as the erring people come back asking the Lord to be received graciously, making their own confession and promises: "so will we render as bullocks the offering of our lips," - disclosing how disillusioned they are with the path that they have been treading. In verse three Israel says, "Never again, never again! Asshur cannot save us, I will never look to anyone but the Lord again! We will not ride upon horses, I will not try to imitate anybody else! Neither will we say anymore to the work of our hands, 'You are our gods.' I will cease from all my own work and effort! Never again, Lord! you are the One, and the only One, to fill my life!" And in response to this blessed reconciliation, the Lord has His promises to answer every profession of truth in Him. And the interchange goes on until we come into verse eight, where the two can hardly wait to speak. We have four separate statements, Ephraim begins: "What have I to do any more with idols?" The Lord breaks in: "I have answered, and will regard him." Says Israel, "I am like a green fir tree." The Lord can hardly wait to say, "From Me is thy fruit found." This is the atmosphere of the chapter. If you have ever had a quarrel and a reconciliation, you will know what this is all about. Thus, Israel and the Lord can hardly wait for each other to pour out their heart in renewed and deeper love than ever before. So look in chapter fourteen and verse four at the Lord's response to Israel's fresh assurances of trust in Him: "I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely!" And now in this atmosphere of mutual interchange, where there are fresh protestations of sorrow for sin and, on the other hand, a gracious call of forgiveness, there comes this blessed assurance from the Lord, a special promise in verse five, "I will be as the dew unto Israel."

In may parts of the Bible, you will find the Lord's assurances that He will heal their backsliding, "He will love them freely," but here is a special promise: "I will be as the Dew unto Israel." Does not your heart cry out? - Mine does! O, to know the Lord like that, like the dew! - Not just a matter of comfortable feeling, for we have verses in this chapter fourteen, which express how this will work out in life if the dew is in its abundance and profuse refreshing power. Well, here we have the picture in the dew of how the child of God ought to be: What the Prophet Hosea sets out as being the fullness of life as God means it.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 2)

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