The DEEP

Remember

Some of the best teaching is straight memorization.

Hosea 14:1-3 (NIV)

Return, Israel, to the LORD your God.
Your sins have been your downfall!
Take words with you
and return to the LORD.
Say to him:
“Forgive all our sins
and receive us graciously,
that we may offer the fruit of our lips.
Assyria cannot save us;
we will not mount warhorses.
We will never again say ‘Our gods’
to what our own hands have made,
for in you the fatherless find compassion.”

Notice how this passage refers to the LORD in the third person (Take words with you and return to the LORD. Say to him; …). This isn’t God speaking through Hosea; it’s Hosea’s own thoughts.

And Hosea says something different. He gives a specific prayer.

Forgive all our sins
and receive us graciously,
that we may offer the fruit of our lips.
Assyria cannot save us;
we will not mount warhorses.
We will never again say ‘Our gods’
to what our own hands have made,
for in you the fatherless find compassion.

This isn’t prophesy; it’s instruction. Hosea’s teaching here. He’s making the same point that all his prophetic utterances made, but from his own point of view and with his own style.

He’s trying a different approach. If all the pain Israel has suffered hasn’t gotten through to them, maybe some straight recitation will help. This simple prayer sums up the lesson God has been pounding into them for the last 13 chapters.

Hosea is calling them to confess that they have trusted in things that do not deliver, namely idols and other kings. They will give this up and worship the true God only, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.

If they learn this prayer, they’ll at least have memorized the lesson God has been teaching them.


Memorization is an essential tool in education, especially in theology. The fact is that we aren’t going to fully understand the great truths of our faith; they’re beyond our comprehension. Since everything is so complex, the potential for error is boundless. Thus, the teaching must be precisely crafted.

The surest way to learn proper doctrine is to memorize carefully worded passages word-for-word.

That’s why we recite the great creeds.


All the weekly study guides, which include all five devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

The Job book is on Amazon and is eligible for Amazon Prime.

https://www.amazon.com/Higher-Purposes-Lesson-God-Job/dp/1684719534

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.