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Bible Commentaries

Simeon's Horae Homileticae

Hosea 3

Verse 5


Hosea 3:5. Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days.

KNOWN unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world: and whatever he has predetermined in his eternal counsels shall surely be fulfilled. Often indeed is the execution of his purposes delayed till unbelievers begin to think that his word has failed of its accomplishment: but “in the evening time it shall be light:” and when the obstacles to his will seem almost insurmountable, he will glorify himself in fulfilling it beyond all human expectation. Thus he acted, when, according to his promise, he brought the Israelites out of Egypt. He suffered them to be detained till the very last day that they could be detained consistently with the truth of his promise; and then, when the Israelites themselves were almost reduced to despair, he brought them out with a mighty hand and a stretched-out arm. Thus also will he act yet once more towards that chosen people. They are now dispersed almost beyond the hope of conversion to God. But there is a period when they shall as universally, and perhaps too as suddenly, commit themselves to the government of Christ, as ever they did to the direction of Moses; nor is it improbable that they will yet again inhabit that very land, from which they have been driven for their iniquities.
To elucidate this subject we shall consider,


The event foretold in this prophecy—

The whole of the Gospel dispensation is often called “the latter days:” but here the expression refers to what is called by many, the Millennium, or the time when all the kingdoms of the world shall be converted to Christ. In that day,
The Jews shall universally return to God through Christ—
[When the ten tribes revolted from the house of David under Jeroboam, they established idolatry in opposition to the worship of the true God, and set up kings of their own in opposition to those who sat on the throne of David. But in about two hundred and fifty years they were carried captive to Assyria; and from that time to the present hour they have had no king or governor of their own; and have been deprived of all opportunities of worshipping God, either according to the Mosaic ritual, or according to their own idolatrous superstitions [Note: ver. 4. The “Teraphim” seem to have been images to which they resorted for the purposes of divination.]. However they are not wholly and finally abandoned of their God: for, when his Spirit shall be poured out upon all flesh, they shall take the lead in turning unto God [Note: Zechariah 8:23.], and shall voluntarily appoint the Lord Jesus Christ as their head [Note: Hosea 1:11.]. This blessed truth is abundantly confirmed in Scripture [Note: Ezekiel 34:23-26.34.24; Ezekiel 37:21-26.37.22; Ezekiel 37:24.]: and the accomplishment of it will display in a most stupendous manner the unsearchable riches of God’s wisdom and goodness [Note: Romans 11:33.].]

In turning to God, they shall be peculiarly influenced by the Divine goodness—
[The sanctions of the Jewish law were principally of a penal nature, and calculated to beget a servile spirit. Even Moses himself at the giving of the law exceedingly trembled and quaked [Note: Hebrews 12:21.]. But, as formerly they feared the Lord and his judgments, so in the latter day they will “fear the Lord and his goodness [Note: Romans 11:4.]:” they will marvel at his kindness in choosing their nation in the days of old: and at his patience in bearing with them during their long departure from him; and, above all, at his mercy and faithfulness in bringing them back into his Church, and manifesting to them again the tokens of his love. With these considerations they will be overwhelmed; and, constrained by his love, will become patterns of all righteousness [Note: Jeremiah 33:9.].]

While we contemplate this stupendous event, let us improve it by considering,


The instruction to be derived from it—

Very appropriate instruction may be gathered from it,


By the unbelieving world—

[There are infidels who deny the inspiration of Scripture: and, even amongst those who profess to believe the Scriptures, there are not a few, who look upon the future restoration of the Jews to God as a cunningly-devised fable. But let both the one and the other of these persons look at this prophecy, and see how unreasonable their doubts are. Who that was not inspired of God, would have ventured to predict such events as are here referred to, namely, The continuance of the Jews as a distinct people all over the world, yet without any king or governor of their own, and without any priest or sacrifice, or opportunity to worship the true God according to their law, and equally without practising the idolatrous superstitions to which in every period of their history they were prone? Who, I say, would have ventured to predict such a state of things as this, if he was not inspired of God so to do? And who would go on to foretell their future restoration to God, and their entire consecration to him as his willing and obedient servants? Yet has the former part of this prediction been unquestionably fulfilled. We see them preserved a distinct people to this hour; the ten tribes, from the time of their captivity in Assyria, and the other two tribes, from the time of their dispersion by the Romans. Every where are they distinguished by these two great peculiarities,—an incapacity to worship their own God according to his appointment, and an aversion to idolatry, to which their whole nation were so long and so obstinately addicted. This then is to the whole world an evidence, that the Scriptures are divinely inspired, and a pledge, that the event predicted shall in due time be fulfilled.]


By those who are inquiring after God—

[Every awakened soul desires to know how it may find acceptance with God. And here the way of access to God, and of acceptance with him, is plainly declared. The Jews in due season will return to God through Christ, and will devote themselves to his service with filial gratitude and love. And it is in this way that every sinner must return to God. There is no other Mediator through whom any sinner in the universe can come to God: nor will any man be accepted of him, unless he surrender up himself to God in a way of holy obedience. On the other hand, no one who approaches God under a grateful sense of redeeming love, and with a desire to fulfil his will, shall ever be cast out. In fact, it is for this very end, even to produce this change in the hearts and lives of men, that God’s perfections are manifested [Note: See the blessed effect on Moses, Exodus 34:6; Exodus 34:8.], or his promises revealed [Note: 2 Corinthians 7:1.], or his blessings given [Note: Hebrews 12:28.]. Let every one of you then return to God in this way: for there is not one who has not departed from him, even as the Jews themselves, or who does not need the same penitence and faith as they: and I can venture to assure every penitent and believing soul, that whosoever cherishes this holy fear, shall have the light of God’s reconciled countenance lifted up upon him, and experience to his joy the same blessed liberty and the same divine enlargement, as they [Note: Isaiah 6:1; Isaiah 6:5.].]


By those who are giving way to desponding fears—

[Many, when first seeking after God, are ready to ask, Can it be that one so vile as I should ever obtain favour with God, or one so obdurate be ever penetrated with the feelings of penitence and love? Now I say, Look at the Jews; their wickedness, even from their first coming out of Egypt to their final expulsion from their own land, was most atrocious, even beyond that of the nations whom they were sent to extirpate. And now for the space of eighteen hundred years they have been as impenitent and obdurate as men could be. Yet behold, God has still designs of love towards them, and will ere long restore the whole nation to his favour. To all their other sins they added that of crucifying the Lord of glory: and yet are they not utterly and eternally cast off. Nay, when once the Spirit of God shall be poured out upon them, they shall, contrary to the course of nature, be like a majestic river “flowing up to the mountain of the Lord’s house, itself established on the top of other mountains;” so wonderful shall be the operation of divine grace upon them [Note: Isaiah 2:2.]. Who then should despair? Who should limit the exercise either of the power, or of the grace, of God? Dear brethren, let none despair either of themselves or others; for God’s mercy is open to all, and shall be effectual for all who seek it in his appointed way. I say not but that a man’s day of grace may be passed even whilst he is alive in this world: but I do say, that no man who desires mercy, can be in that deplorable condition, because he would have been already given up by God to utter insensibility and obduracy. Only let a man come to God through Christ, and he shall find that with God there is mercy, yea, and plenteous redemption. Let any man whatever be moved by a sense of God’s unbounded goodness to him, and be led by that goodness to fear and serve the Lord, and he shall never perish; but shall be made a monument of that very grace, which shall be so wonderfully displayed in the latter days, in the restoration of God’s ancient people, and the consequent salvation of the heathen world.]

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Bibliographical Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Hosea 3". Simeon's Horae Homileticae. 1832.