THE JUST WALK IN GOD'S WAYS
Hosea 14:9 Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? Prudent, and he shall know them? For the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.
The prophecies of Hosea are primarily directed to the ten tribes of Israel, the Northern tribes. He refers to them as a corrupt people, having left the ways of God to follow after idol worship. To a lesser extent, the same prophecy is given to the kingdom of Judah which included Benjamin. There is continual mention of the dreadful consequences that will result from God taking vengeance against His people; punishments for those that follow the ways of idolatry and disobedience, as well as their tendency to be influenced by the ways of the sinful nations that surrounded them. These severe threats were generally followed with God's wonderful promises of redemption for their repentance. The promises were extended to those that returned to the sanctified and righteous worship of God and obedience to His commanding ways.
The last verse penned by Hosea is the text of this lesson. And what a wonderful lesson it is for each of us. These things, which the wise understand, are God's rewards for those that follow His ways, and the punishments are for those that follow the Satan-influenced ways of the world. God rewards those that love Him and keep His commandments, and punishes those that love the world and disobey His will. God rewards good deeds of kindness and punishes evil deeds that are selfish and show no mercy or compassion. The wise understand these things. The prudent shall know them. Wisdom points out God's ways, and prudence causes us to study them to the extent that we know His commandments.
The reason is that the ways of the Lord are right. The path that God sets before every man and woman of the world is the way that will lead those that are faithful to eternal salvation. This seems to be the conclusion that Hosea is making at the end of his prophecy. Not only does God show us the right way, He tells us about the justice that He will mete out; rewards for the obedient, and punishment for the disobedient. In the dispensation of justice, God's way is always righteous.
The just shall walk in them. Those that faithfully follow God's ways will walk in paths of righteousness and lead a pious and devoted life. But the transgressors shall fall therein. Those that fail or refuse to follow God's ways will stumble over them and fall into a pit of despair and unrighteousness as they travel down the pathway of life - an eternally condemned pathway made of their own worldly choices.
The psalmist recognized the importance of God's way, Teach me, O Lord, the way of Thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep Thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me to go in the path of Thy commandments; for therein do I delight (Psalm 119:33-35). Speaking through His prophet, Isaiah, God gives us a comparison between His way and that of mankind: For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:7-9).
Finally, Proverbs 2 discusses the options that we have as we choose thepath we travel duringour sojourn here on earth: He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: He is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgement, and preserveth the way of His saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgement, and equity; yea, every good path (Vss. 7-9). Wisdom and understanding are available for the righteous. His ways are made known to His followers and can be understood by them. Wisdom and understanding of God's ways will ...deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things; who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked; whose ways are crooked... (Vss. 12-15). Without being grounded in the truth and knowledge of God's ways, men and women will stumble and fall as they search for the true way that leads to everlasting life. They will be lead in paths of evil by perverse teaching - things that are dark and deceptive. Be wise; be prudent; find God's ways and walk in them.