on Hosea 14 :2
Take with you words - And you may be assured that you pray aright, when you use the words which God himself has put in your mouths. On this very ground there is a potency in the Lord's Prayer, when offered up believingly, beyond what can be found in any human composition. And it may be presumed that it was this consideration that induced our reformers to introduce it so frequently in the public liturgy.
See the order of God's directions here: -
1. Hearing these merciful invitations, believe them to be true.
2. Cast aside your idols; and return to God as your Maker, King, and Savior.
3. Take with you the words by which you have been encouraged, and plead them before God.
4. Remember your iniquity, deeply deplore it, and beg of God to take it all away.
5. Let faith be in exercise to receive what God waits to impart. "Receive us graciously;" וקח טוב vekach tob, receive, or let us receive good; when thou has emptied us of evil, fill us with goodness.
6. Be then determined, through grace, to live to his glory, "so shall we render thee the calves" (פרים parim, for which the versions in general read פרי peri, fruits, omitting the ם mem) "of our lips;" the sacrifices of praise, thanksgiving, gratitude, and the hearty obedience which our lips have often promised.
7. Having thus determined, specify your resolutions to depend on God alone for all that can make you wise, useful, holy, and happy. The resolutions are: -
1. Asshur shall not save us - We will neither trust in, nor fear, this rich and powerful king. We will not look either to riches or power for true rest and peace of mind.
2. We will not ride upon horses - We shall no more fix our hopes on the proud Egyptian cavalry, to deliver us out of the hands of enemies to whom thy Divine justice has delivered us. We will expect no rest nor happiness in the elegances of life, and gratification of our senses.
3. Neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods - We will not trust in any thing without us; nor even in any good thing we are able to do through thy grace; knowing we have nothing but what we have received. We will trust in thy infinite mercy for our final salvation.
4. And we will do all this from the conviction, that in thee the fatherless findeth mercy; for we are all alike helpless, desolate, perishing orphans, till translated into thy family.
on Hosea 14 :2
Take with you words - He bills them not bring costly offerings, that they might regain His favor; not whole burnt-offerings of bullocks, goats or rams; with which, and with which alone, they had before gone to seek Him (see the note above at Hosea 5:6); not the silver and gold which they had lavished on their idols; but what seems the cheapest of all, which any may have, without cost to their substance; "words;" worthless, as mere words; precious when from the heart; words of confession and prayer, blending humility, repentance, confession, entreaty and praise of God. God seems to assign to them a form, with which they should approach Him. But with these words, they were also to turn inwardly "and turn unto the Lord," with your whole heart, and not your lips alone. "After ye shall be converted, confess before Him."
Take away all iniquity - (Literally and pleadingly, "Thou will take away all iniquity".) They had "fallen by their iniquities;" before they can rise again, the stumbling-blocks must be taken out of their way. They then, unable themselves to do it, must turn to God, with whom alone is power and mercy to do it, and say to Him, "Take away all iniquity," acknowledging that they had manifold iniquities, and praying Him to forgive all, "take away all. All iniquities!" "not only then the past, but what we tear for the future. Cleanse us from the past, keep us from the future. Give us righteousness, and preserve it to the end."
And receive us graciously - (Literally, "and receive good" ). When God has forgiven and taken away iniquity, He has removed all hindrance to the influx of His grace. There is no vacuum in His spiritual, anymore than in His natural, creation. When God's good Spirit is chased away, the evil spirits enter the house, which is "empty, swept, and garnished" Matthew 12:44, for them. When God has forgiven and taken away man's evil, He pours into him grace and all good. When then Israel and, in him, the penitent soul, is taught to say, "receive good," it can mean only, the good which Thou Thyself hast given; as David says, "of Thine own we have given Thee" 1 Chronicles 29:14. As God is said to "crown in us His own gifts;" ("His own gifts," but "in us" ;) so these pray to God to receive from them His own good, which they had from Him. For even the good, which God giveth to be in us, He accepteth in condescension and forgiving mercy, "Who crowneth thee in mercy and lovingkindness" Psalm 103:4.
They pray God to accept their service, forgiving their imperfection, and mercifully considering their frailty. For since "our righteousnesses are filthy rags," we ought ever humbly to entreat God, not to despise our dutifulness, for the imperfections, wanderings, and negligences mingled therewith. For exceedingly imperfect is it, especially if we consider the majesty of the Divine Nature, which should be served, were it possible, with infinite reverence." They plead to God, then, to accept what, although from Him they have it, yet through their imperfection, were, but for His goodness, unworthy of His acceptance. Still, since the glory of God is the end of all creation, by asking Him to accept it, they plead to Him, that this is the end for which He made and remade them, and placed the good in them, that it might redound to His glory. As, on the other hand, the Psalmist says, "What profit is there in my blood, if I go down into the pit" Psalm 30:9, as though his own perishing were a loss to God, his Creator, since thus there were one creature the less to praise Him. : "'Take from us all iniquity,' leave in us no weakness, none of our former decay, lest the evil root should send forth a new growth of evil; 'and receive good;' for unless Thou take away our evil, we can have no good to offer Thee, according to that, 'depart from evil, and do good.' Psalm 37:27."
So will we render the calves of our lips - Literally, "and we would fain repay, calves, our lips;" i. e., when God shall have "forgiven us all our iniquity," and "received" at our hands what, through His gift, we have to offer, the "good" which through His good Spirit we can do, then would we "offer" a perpetual thankoffering, "our lips." This should be the substitute for the thank-offerings of the law. As the Psalmist says, "I will praise the Name of God with a song, and magnify Him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the Lord, better than a bullock that hath horns and hoofs" Psalm 69:30-31. They are to bind themselves to perpetual thanksgiving. As the morning and evening sacrifice were continual so was their new offering to be continual. But more. The material sacrifice, "the bullock," was offered, consumed, and passed away. Their "lips" were offered, and remained; a perpetual thank-offering, even a "living sacrifice," living on like the mercies for which they thanked; giving forth their "endless song" for never-ending mercies.
This too looks on to the Gospel, in which, here on earth, our unending thanksgiving is beginning, in which also it was the purpose of God to restore those of Ephraim who would return to Him. : "Here we see law extinguished, the Gospel established. For we see other rites, other gifts. So then the priesthood is also changed. For three sorts of sacrifices Were of old ordained by the law, with great state. Some signified the expiation of sin; some expressed the ardor of piety; some, thanksgiving. To those ancient signs and images, the truth of the Gospel, without figure corresponds. Prayer to God, 'to take away all iniquity,' contains a confession of sin, and expresses our faith, that we place our whole hope of recovering our lost purity and of obtaining salvation in the mercy of Christ. 'Receive good.' What other good can we offer, than detestation of our past sin, with burning desire of holiness? This is the burnt-offering. Lastly, 'we will repay the calves of our lips,' is the promise of that solemn vow, most acceptable to God, whereby we bind ourselves to keep in continual remembrance all the benefits of God, and to render ceaseless praise to the Lord who has bestowed on us such priceless gifts. For 'the calves of' the 'lips' are orisons well-pleasing unto God. Of which David says, 'Then shalt Thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt-offerings and whole burnt-offerings; then shall they offer bullocks upon Thine altar.' (Psalm 51 ult.)."
on Hosea 14 :2
14:2 Render - This will qualify and encourage us to give the sacrifices which are more pleasing to God than calves or oxen.