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.
Hosea 14: 1-2
Words are powerful. We know this because of the emotions they evoke within us.
If someone says, “I love you.” Our own heart is stirred. If another says, “You have done well. We need you around here.” Our confidence soars. “I am disappointed in you.” This brings its own powerful influence to our spirit.
Words aren’t only powerful from human to human, but also, apparently between us and God.
Last night while tucking my daughter in to bed I asked her if she wanted to pray. She responded by saying she didn’t know if she really wanted to, after all, “God already knows it all.” Haven’t we all been down this road before? Why do we spend time exerting the effort to pray and speak and explain so many things to God, all of which He already knows?
My wife’s response to our daughter was so wise: “Do you know that I love you?”
To which my daughter responded, “Yes!”
“But don’t you still want to hear me say it?”
Of course she does. We all do.
Words are powerful. Words are significant. Somehow, within the fabric of our being, within the intricacies of being made in the image of the Father, words hold great sway with us. And apparently with God as well.
In Hosea 14:1-2 we are called upon to first of all recognize our downfall and our downfall is us. Or more precisely: our sins. So we need to take ownership of this. When we have wronged God it is true that there is grace for us. It is true that God’s mercies are new every morning. But we need to take ownership of the fact that it’s our sin. We need to Own our sinfulness without letting it own us. Okay, that’s a topic for another day. But look at what comes next:
“Take words with you and return to the Lord.”
God wants to hear our words. He wants to hear us say it. He wants to hear us seek forgiveness.
Isn’t it tempting to think, “Well, I’m sorry and God knows my heart. Let’s move on.” And it’s true! He does know if we are really sorry, really repentant. And it certainly would be easier to just move on, wouldn’t it? But maybe that’s part of the point. Saying the words takes some humility. It takes some willingness to own up to our fault. It shows a level of priority to the relationship we have with God. It says this is important enough to me to say the difficult things.
God cares about our words.
So when we go to him, whether in times of reconciliation, in times of daily devotion, or in times of crisis and care, let’s pay attention to the words we take with us.
What’s in my heart that I haven’t spoken to Jesus yet?
What words do I need to take with me as I return to God today?