A Plea to Repent
Open Your Bible
Hosea 14:1-9, 2 Chronicles 16:9, Psalm 52:1-9, Ephesians 2:1-10
BY Patti Sauls
Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot. It was a painstaking process for our youngest daughter to navigate stairs. Her sensory issues muddled her balance, and she often stumbled and fell as she missed steps. I would stoop behind her, with my hands lightly cupping the back of her heels, helping to plant each foot firmly, step by step, as she climbed.
The book of Hosea also reveals a painstaking walk of faith. Gomer fell hard, time and time again, as she strayed from her husband and chased other lovers. Yet the prophet graciously pursued, forgave, and redeemed his adulterous wife. These marriage dynamics reflect Israel’s own rocky relationship with God. Instead of trusting the God who saved them, they sought security in foreign allegiances. Instead of worshipping the God who loved them, they fawned over false gods. Like Gomer, they lost their footing and fell hard.
How solid is our footing in our walk of faith? Hosea’s plea to Israel, “Take words of repentance with you and return to the LORD” (Hosea 14:2), speaks to me and startles me. Return to God? I didn’t even know I’d left. But, deep down I do know. Just like Gomer and Israel, I betray God again and again. I stumble and fall. Even though I believe in God and want to trust Him, I reject Him whenever I chase lesser things to satisfy my deepest desires for security, status, and stuff.
Hosea’s call to return and repent is personal. Just this week, I’ve allowed a hidden bitterness in my heart to fester and grow. I’ve overlooked my grumbling thoughts, avoided conflict, and faked nice. Instead of admitting my sin, I’ve settled for self-pity. I’ve missed a step and stumbled into resentment as I’ve rejected God’s way of reconciliation. What’s my next step? Repentance. I can take words with me and return to the Lord. Instead of ignoring my vague sense of being off-balance, I can specifically confess my sin to Him.
We all stumble and fall in the real walk of faith. But, like my daughter on the stairs, we don’t walk alone. Left foot, right foot. We take a step forward in faith with the Lord—left foot. Yet we step into unbelief and sin, too. So, we return to God in repentance—right foot. He graciously forgives and never stops leading and loving us. This is the gift of walking by faith. “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8–9). God is always with us, helping us plant each foot firmly, step by step as we go.