Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Hosea 14:4

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

I will heal their backsliding - God, in answer, promises to “heal” that wound of their souls, from where every other evil came, their fickleness and unsteadfastness. Hitherto, this had been the characteristic of Israel. “Within a while they forgat His works, and would not abide His counsels” Psalm 106:13. “They forgat what He had done. Their heart was not whole with Him; neither continued they steadfast in His covenant. They turned back and tempted God. They kept not His testimonies, but turned back and fell way like their forefathers, starting aside like a broken bow” Psalm 78:12, Psalm 78:37, Psalm 78:42, Psalm 78:57-58. Steadfastness to the end is the special gift of the Gospel. “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. The gates of hell shall not prevail against it” Matthew 28:20; Matthew 16:18. And to individuals, “Jesus, having loved His own, loved them unto the end” John 13:1. In healing that disease of unsteadfastness, God healed all besides. This He did to all, wheresoever or howsoever dispersed, who received the Gospel; this He doth still; and this He will do completely in the end, when “all Israel shall be saved.”

I will love them freely - that is, as the word means, “impelled” thereto by Himself alone, and so, (as used of God) moved by His own Essential Bountifulness, the exceedling greatness of His Goodness, largely, bountifully. God “loves” us “freely” in loving us against our deserts, because He “is love;” He “loves” us “freely” in that He freely became Man, and, having become Man freely shed His Blood for the remission of our sins, freely forgave our sins; He “loves” us “freely,” in “giving us grace, according to the good pleasure of His will” Ephesians 1:5, to become pleasing to Him, and causing all good in us; He “loves” us “freely,” in rewarding infinitely the good which we have from “Him.”: “More manifestly here speaketh the Person of the Saviour Himself, promising His own Coming to the salvation of penitents, with sweetly sounding promise, with sweetness full of grace.”

For Mine anger is turned away from him - As He says, “In My wrath I smote thee; but in My favor have I had mercy on thee” Isaiah 60:10. He doth not withhold only, or suspend His anger, but He taketh it away wholly. So the Psalmist saith, “Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of Thy people; Thou hast covered all their sin; Thou hast taken away all Thy wrath; Thou hast turned from the fierceness of Thine anger” Psalm 85:2-3.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Israel seeks God's face, and they shall not seek it in vain. His anger is turned from them. Whom God loves, he loves freely; not because they deserve it, but of his own good pleasure. God will be to them all they need. The graces of the Spirit are the hidden manna, hidden in the dew; the grace thus freely bestowed on them shall not be in vain. They shall grow upward, and be more flourishing; shall grow as the lily. The lily, when come to its height, is a lovely flower, Mt 6:28,29. They shall grow downward, and be more firm. With the flower of the lily shall be the strong root of the cedar of Lebanon. Spiritual growth consists most in the growth of the root, which is out of sight. They shall also spread as the vine, whose branches extend very widely. When believers abound in good works, then their branches spread. They shall be acceptable both to God and man. Holiness is the beauty of a soul. The church is compared to the vine and the olive, which bring forth useful fruits. God's promises pertain to those only that attend on his ordinances; not such as flee to this shadow only for shelter in a hot gleam, but all who dwell under it. When a man is brought to God, all who dwell under his shadow fare the better. The sanctifying fruits shall appear in his life. Thus believers grow up into the experience and fruitfulness of the gospel. Ephraim shall say, God will put it into his heart to say it, What have I to do any more with idols! God's promises to us are more our security and our strength for mortifying sin, than our promises to God. See the power of Divine grace. God will work such a change in him, that he shall loathe the idols as much as ever he loved them. See the benefit of sanctified afflictions. Ephraim smarted for his idolatry, and this is the fruit, even the taking away his sin, Isa 27:9. See the nature of repentance; it is a firm and fixed resolution to have no more to do with sin. The Lord meets penitents with mercy, as the father of the prodigal met his returning son. God will be to all true converts both a delight and a defence; they shall sit under his shadow with delight. And as the root of a tree; From me is thy fruit found: from Him we receive grace and strength to enable us to do our duty.
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

I will heal their backsliding - Here is the answer of God to these prayers and resolutions. See its parts: -

  1. Ye have backslidden and fallen, and are grievously and mortally wounded by that fall; but I, who am the Author of life, and who redeem from death, will heal all these wounds and spiritual diseases.
  • I will love them freely - נדבה nedabah, after a liberal, princely manner. I will love them so as to do them incessant good. It shall not be a love of affection merely, but shall be a beneficial love. A love that not only feels delight in itself, but fills them with delight who are its objects, by making them unutterably and supremely happy.
  • 3. For mine anger is turned away from him - Because he has turned back to me. Thus God and man become friends.

    Ellen G. White
    Prophets and Kings, 84

    All who enter the City of God will enter through the strait gate—by agonizing effort; for “there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth.” Revelation 21:27. But none who have fallen need give up to despair. Aged men, once honored of God, may have defiled their souls, sacrificing virtue on the altar of lust; but if they repent, forsake sin, and turn to God, there is still hope for them. He who declares, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life,” also gives the invitation, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” Revelation 2:10; Isaiah 55:7. God hates sin, but He loves the sinner. “I will heal their backsliding,” He declares; “I will love them freely.” Hosea 14:4. PK 84.1

    Solomon's repentance was sincere; but the harm that his example of evil-doing had wrought could not be undone. During his apostasy there were in the kingdom men who remained true to their trust, maintaining their purity and loyalty. But many were led astray; and the forces of evil set in operation by the introduction of idolatry and worldly practices could not easily be stayed by the penitent king. his influence for good was greatly weakened. Many hesitated to place full confidence in his leadership. Though the king confessed his sin and wrote out for the benefit of after generations a record of his folly and repentance, he could never hope entirely to destroy the baleful influence of his wrong deeds. Emboldened by his apostasy, many continued to do evil, and evil only. And in the downward course of many of the rulers who followed him may be traced the sad influence of the prostitution of his God-given powers. PK 84.2

    In the anguish of bitter reflection on the evil of his course, Solomon was constrained to declare, “Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good.” “There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler: folly is set in great dignity.” PK 85.1

    Read in context »
    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 143

    I saw these men while striving for the possessions of earth; what zeal they manifested, what earnestness, what energy to obtain an earthly treasure that must soon pass away! What cool calculations they made! They plan and toil early and late, and sacrifice their ease and comfort for earthly treasure. A corresponding zeal on their part to obtain the gold, white raiment, and eyesalve will bring them in possession of these desirable treasures and life, everlasting life, in the kingdom of God. I saw that if any need eyesalve, it is those who have earthly possessions. Many of them are blind to their own state, blind to their firm grasp upon this world. Oh, that they may see! 1T 143.1

    “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” I saw that many have so much rubbish piled up at the door of their heart that they cannot get the door open. Some have difficulties between themselves and their brethren to remove. Others have evil tempers, selfish covetousness, to remove before they can open the door. Others have rolled the world before the door of their heart, which bars the door. All this rubbish must be taken away, and then they can open the door and welcome the Saviour in. 1T 143.2

    Oh, how precious was this promise, as it was shown to me in vision! “I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” Oh, the love, the wondrous love of God! After all our lukewarmness and sins He says: “Return unto Me, and I will return unto thee, and will heal all thy backslidings.” This was repeated by the angel a number of times. “Return unto Me, and I will return unto thee, and will heal all thy backslidings.” 1T 143.3

    Read in context »
    Ellen G. White
    Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, 220

    I saw that if they would clear the way, and confess their wrongs, Jesus would walk through our midst in power. Sr. L. began to confess in a clear, decided manner, and said she thought they had got away where we could not find them; but she was glad that we had come. As she confessed, the flood-gates of heaven seemed suddenly opened, I was prostrated by the power of God. Sr. H. N. S. fell from her chair helpless. It seemed to be an awful, yet glorious place. I had no strength for two hours, but seemed to be wrapped in the glory of God. A great work was accomplished that night. The meeting held past midnight. 2SG 220.1

    The next day the meeting commenced where it left off the night before. All who had been blessed retained the blessing. They had not slept much, for the Spirit of God rested upon them through the night, and they came with it to the meeting. Confessions were made of their disunion of feelings with us, their wrong feelings, and their backslidden state. Others were slain by the power of God that day. Our meeting continued without intermission from ten o'clock a. m. until five o'clock p. m. Bro. J. N. A. was prostrated by the power of God, and lay helpless some time. He felt thankful, he said, that we had come, and believed that the Lord had sent us. 2SG 220.2

    In the evening the labor left us who had come to the place, and the brethren and sisters in Wawkon [Waukon] had the burden rolled upon them, and they labored for each other with zeal and with the power of God upon them. Countenances that looked sad when we came to the place, now shone with the heavenly anointing. It seemed that angels from heaven were passing from one to the other in the room, to finish the good work which had commenced. Bro. J. N. L., who had left the work to which God had called him, and had begun to work at his trade, cried out, that he had laid up his hammer, that he had driven the last nail. We soon bid our brethren in Wawkon [Waukon] farewell, and started on our homeward journey. Bro. J. N. L. was again at liberty to labor in the gospel field. 2SG 221.1

    Read in context »
    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 104

    Many who should stand firm for righteousness and truth have manifested weakness and indecision that have encouraged the assaults of Satan. Those who fail to grow in grace, not seeking to reach the highest standard in divine attainments, will be overcome. 5T 104.1

    This world is to the Christian a land of strangers and enemies. Unless he shall take for his defense the divine panoply and wield the sword of the Spirit he will become the prey of the powers of darkness. The faith of all will be tested. All will be tried as gold is tried in the fire. 5T 104.2

    The church is composed of imperfect, erring men and women, who call for the continual exercise of charity and forbearance. But there has been a long period of general lukewarmness; a worldly spirit coming into the church has been followed by alienation, faultfinding, malice, strife, and iniquity. 5T 104.3

    Read in context »
    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, 446

    The words of Christ are plain: “Strive [agonize] to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” Not all professed Christians are Christians at heart. There are sinners in Zion now, as there were anciently. Isaiah speaks of them in referring to the day of God: “The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly, he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; he shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.” 2T 446.1

    There are hypocrites now who will tremble when they obtain a view of themselves. Their own vileness will terrify them in that day which is soon to come upon us, a day when “the Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity.” Oh, that terror might now lay hold upon them, that they might have a vivid sense of their condition and arouse while there is mercy and hope, confess their sins, and humble their souls greatly before God, that He might pardon their transgressions and heal their backslidings! The people of God are unready for the fearful, trying scenes before us, unready to stand pure from evil and lust amid the perils and corruptions of this degenerate age. They have not on the armor of righteousness, and are unprepared to war against the prevailing iniquity. Many are not obeying the commandments of God, yet they profess so to do. If they would be faithful to obey all the statutes of God they would have a power which would carry conviction to the hearts of the unbelieving. 2T 446.2

    I have sought to do my duty. I have pointed out the special sins of some. I was shown that in the wisdom of God the sins and errors of all would not be revealed. All would have sufficient light to see their sins and errors, if they desired to do so and earnestly wished to put them away, and to perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord. They could see what sins God marked and reproved in others. If these were cherished by themselves, they should know that they were abhorred of God and were separated from Him; and that unless they earnestly and zealously set about the work of putting them away they would be left in darkness. God is too pure to behold iniquity. A sin is just as grievous in His sight in one case as in another. No exception will be made by an impartial God. All who are guilty are addressed in these individual testimonies, although their names may not be attached to the special testimony borne; and if individuals pass over and cover up their own sins because their names are not especially called, they will not be prospered of God. They cannot advance in the divine life, but will become darker and darker, until the light of heaven will be entirely withdrawn. 2T 447.1

    Read in context »
    More Comments