Yet I have been the LORD your God since the land of Egypt; and you were not to know any god except Me, for there is no savior besides Me.
Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity. Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to Him, “take away all iniquity and receive us graciously, that we may present the fruit of our lips. Assyria will not save us, we will not ride on horses; nor will we say again, ‘our god,’ to the work of our hands; for in You the orphan finds mercy.”
The Prophet Hosea lived around 750 BC in the Northern Kingdom, Israel. The kingdom was in bad shape. Religious pluralism was rampant, with worship of the god Baal (the Canaanite god of rain and fertility in the land) flourishing. Assyria (their ISIS?) was breathing down their necks. There was a series of rebellions and multiple assassinations. They had forsaken God (Yahweh).
In those troubled times, Hosea especially believed his mission was to remind the people that God had been their Lord since he brought them out of Egypt, and there was no other savior besides Him. He called on them to repent: “… you have stumbled because of your iniquity. Take words with you and return to the Lord; say to him. ‘Take away all guilt; accept that which is good’…”
For me, Lent is the time I need to reflect on these words, reexamine my life, and endeavor to live a new, more fulfilling one. During this time of my reflection, I always recall David’s cry in Psalm 51. “Thou shalt make me hear of joy and gladness, that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Turn thy face from my sins, and put out all my misdeeds. Make me clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
Appointed readings for today: Hosea 14:1-9, Psalm 81:8-14, Mark 12:28-34