Today's devotion from Hosea 13-14. As Hosea's book comes to a close, there is a call for repentance. The people should return to the Lord, which is only possible when they realize they need to do so. They have to accept that they have wandered off track and have stumbled. This is the first step in repentance even today. It is difficult to encounter someone who mistakenly thinks they are ok and don't need God.
Their repentance goes a bit further in that it isn't enough to return to God, but they must bring with them confession. They must confess that they are in need of forgiveness. They must own their iniquity before it can be discarded at the feet of the Savior.
Verse three takes their confession to a new level by breaking it out into categories. First, they must confess that they have trusted in alliances instead of in God, and that these allies cannot save them. Second, they must confess that they will not ride on horses, a reference to trusting in their own military power and ability. Third, they must confess that their idols are not gods, and are lifeless statues fashioned by their own hands.
In doing these three things, they present themselves to God, not as blameless, but as dependent. Men forge alliances, strategize military tactics, and conceive of false gods. If they were to return to God it would be in complete and powerless dependence because God has compassion on the fatherless. He adopts those who recognize their need of Him because He is a Father at heart.
God's compassionate nature toward the fatherless is apparent throughout Scripture. He champions their cause in the Old Testament and defines real religion based on their care in James 1:27. You see, this is salvation. Salvation is simply a compassionate God acting on behalf of those who desperately need Him.
Stop trying to earn or justify your salvation. If you could live a thousand lifetimes, you'd never warrant God's forgiveness. Yet, when we adopt the position of dependence, God is moved by compassion to freely forgive those who call out to Him. In the New Testament we see salvation finished by the work of Jesus, but we must never forget that it began with the compassion of the Father looking upon those broken and in desperate need.