Hosea 14: 5-9(NIV)
5 I will be like the dew to Israel; he will blossom like a lily. Like a cedar of Lebanon he will send down his roots; 6 his young shoots will grow. His splendor will be like an olive tree, his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon. 7 People will dwell again in his shade; they will flourish like the grain, they will blossom like the vine—Israel’s fame will be like the wine of Lebanon. 8 Ephraim, what more have I[t] to do with idols? I will
answer him and care for him. I am like a flourishing juniper; your fruitfulness comes from me.” 9 Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.
Every time the month of April comes by, it brings warm beautiful thoughts to me. So many wonderful things have happened to me in the month of April. I got married in the month of April. My husband’s birthday is in April. Some of the breakthroughs the Lord has given us have been in April. One bad thing that also happened in April was the loss of our first child. But somehow, it never registers as an April event because of all the other wonderful April testimonies we have.
April is also the month that ushers in the spring, when flowers begin to bud and blossom again after the dryness, cold, lack of warmth and color that comes with winter. Hosea wrote today’s text to the people of Israel after a time of dryness because they turned to other gods in idolatry. He was calling them back to God and making promises of better days ahead.
I was particularly blessed by some of the terms he used. He said God would be like dew to Israel. Dew is made of liquid water that has condensed from some of the water vapor contained in the air. If you have a garden, you will notice that the dew rests on the plants and eventually drips off unto the ground around the plants providing the moisture they need to survive. That means He will be the source of life to
He said Israel would blossom like the lily. Lilies are flowers that grow from bulbs. The bulbs contain the nutrients necessary for the flower to grow. Lily bulbs are either producing a flower or storing up nutrients to produce a flower for the next summer. That means the lily is always in a cycle of production and storage. That means we will always be fruitful.
He talked of the cedar of Lebanon which is a grand tree planted in the parks and gardens of stately homes and mansions. It has a distinct shape. It’s average height is 18-35 metres with a huge trunk of up to 2.5 meters in diameter. It is evergreen with deep and strong roots that spread wide. That means strength, longevity and depth, so much so that other people will fourish in our space because they will find refuge in us.
He further refers to Israel in terms of the splendor of the olive tree. They are also evergreens, flowering and ornamental trees. The European olive grows to be 30′ – 40′ feet in height. This olive does well in full sun and can grow in acidic, alkaline, drought tolerant, loamy, moist, sandy, well drained soils. The European Olive tolerates heat, wind and dry conditions very well. That means we will flourish, prosper and be beautiful
no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in.
He also talks about the fame of Israel being like the wine of Lebanon. Did you know that Lebanon, which is a Middle Eastern country, has an ancient wine culture? Lebanese wine history dates back more than five millennia. Wine was an important export for this ancient culture, and was taken to Egypt in large volumes and traded for gold. It is still a major source of the wine drank around the world, despite the
devastation of war over the years. That suggests that we will have fame for good that knows no boundaries.
Then He turns all attention from what He thought of Israel and refers to Himself as a flourishing juniper from where Israel gets her fruitfulness. The Juniper is an impressive plant that comes in more than 50 varieties, some of which are used as an excellent ground cover. There are several reasons to sow ground cover. The biggest reason is to control soil erosion. Most ground cover plants are vigorous spreaders. Ground cover helps to regulate the temperature and moisture of the soil. Gardeners usually choose juniper because it is evergreen, drought-resistant and can add to a garden’s structure and contrast. They are also good-looking shrubs year-round and are tough, durable plants in both the heat and the cold. Are you surprised God refers to Himself as a flourishing juniper. He maintains and holds up the entire garden. That means he holds us up and our essence comes from Him.
As I kept reading up all these descriptions, I realized that the words were carefully selected to say that Israel would get into a season where they would flourish, prosper, be strong, in and out of season, be a place of refuge for other nations- a place known all over the world for abundance as a way of life. They all reminded me of April, a new season that would usher in new experiences in our lives- families, relationships, work, businesses, ministries in ramifications we can never imagine. We are the spiritual Israel and if God promised them so much, how much
more does He promise us who are the bride of His dear Son, the apple of His eyes, His children by adoption, His peculiar people.
So, as we usher in the month of April, my expectations are very high based on these promises. I hope yours are too. Have you been in the dry place? Have you been in the place of drought? Have you had fretful moments when life was not quite clear anymore? Have you been in times
when it looked like God was nowhere to be found? Then today’s message is for you. It is up to us to realize and discern these things so we can be expectant. There is a new season coming your way. That is what Hosea was talking about. He was talking to you, child of God. CK