Who is wise? He will realise these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. (Hosea 14:9)
As we come to the end of the year, we tend to focus in two different directions. One is to look back on the year just gone and what we have learnt, and the other is to look ahead to the year coming and what it might hold.
I can’t imagine many of us will be sad to say goodbye to 2020 with its many heartaches and struggles. But what about 2021? What do we hope for the coming year, and what do we want from these next twelve months?
There are probably lots of common hopes and expectations for this next year: an end to the global coronavirus pandemic, a return to something like normality in various ways, and so on. Those are certainly good things to hope for and to pray for. But what about us personally? What do we want for ourselves in this coming year?
I think one of the best things we can desire and pursue in this year (and any year) is wisdom. Wisdom is powerful and necessary for direction in life, good relationships, a sense of purpose and so much more.
The Bible book of Hosea ends with a call to wisdom. Hosea asks “Who is wise?” The answer is the one who has taken on board the lessons of the book, and indeed the message of the whole Bible. That is the path to wisdom, and to life, joy and peace. So what is it?
Hosea summarises wisdom in this way: “Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God.” (Hosea 14:1). That has been the consistent message through the whole of Hosea’s book. Wisdom lies in recognising there is a God, that he is our God and that we can, and should, return to him.
As I write this, and probably as you read it, we stand at the turn of the year. One year is ending and another is beginning. Will we start this new year with wisdom? Will we take this opportunity at the turning of the year to return to God? We can turn back to God at any point, but this time is an ideal opportunity to do just that. To turn to God, to seek him and to walk in his ways throughout this coming year.