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What does it mean that God will be like the dew to Israel (Hosea 14:5)?

I will be like the dew to Israel

The book of Hosea gives us a beautiful portrait of God’s grace. The prophet’s mission included experiencing the betrayal of an unfaithful wife. God used that broken relationship as an analogy. God is Hosea. Hosea’s wife’s sexual infidelity represents Israel’s spiritual adultery through idol worship and abandoning God’s holy laws. Through Hosea, God promises to remain faithful, first disciplining His people and then graciously restoring them to intimacy with Himself: “Then I will heal you of your faithlessness; my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever. I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. Israel will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon” (Hosea 14:4–5, NLT).

Dew results from moisture condensation as warm air mixes with the cool night air. It appears as tiny droplets or a fine mist blanketing the ground, plants, and other surfaces. In ancient Israel’s arid climate, dew provided an essential source of moisture for successfully growing and harvesting plants.

God is like the dew in that He sends down refreshment, nourishment, healing, and new life to the wayward children of Israel. The people had been dead in sin, but God promised that they would bloom again like the beautiful lilies because He would water their dry and thirsty souls. The Lord’s healing, heaven-sent dew would cause the new plant to grow healthy and strong. The nation would be established again, sending deep roots down into fertile soil like the great cedars in Lebanon. Israel would be rebuilt on a solid, unshakable foundation.

Elsewhere in Scripture, God is like the dew in that His teachings “fall like rain” and His words “descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants” (Deuteronomy 32:2). The prophet Isaiah affirms the life-giving quality of God’s Word: “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it” (Isaiah 55:10–11, NLT).

God is like the dew in that He consistently and mysteriously provides for our daily needs. When God sustained Israel in the wilderness, He nourished them with manna, the miraculous bread from heaven (Exodus 16:13–21). The historical record associates manna with dew: “When the dew settled on the camp at night, the manna also came down” (Numbers 11:9).

In Isaiah 18:4, the Lord looked down from heaven and prepared the nations for his harvest “as quietly as the heat rises on a summer day, or as the morning dew forms during the harvest” (NLT). Just as the dew causes new life to sprout from the ground, so God will raise the dead out of the earth: “But your dead will live, LORD; their bodies will rise—let those who dwell in the dust wake up and shout for joy—your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead” (Isaiah 26:19).

Since dew is a source of refreshing and revitalization for plant life, it symbolizes refreshment and blessing throughout the Scriptures. In Psalm 133:1–3, King David likened the dew of Mount Hermon falling on the mountains of Zion to the blessing of God’s people dwelling together in harmony. When Isaac blessed Jacob, he prayed, “May God give you heaven’s dew and earth’s richness—an abundance of grain and new wine” (Genesis 27:28). Dew is also a sign of renewal and prosperity in the Bible (Micah 5:7; Job 29:19). In wisdom literature, God’s infinite knowledge covers the whole realm of creation like dew, yet remains a mystery to humans (Job 38:28; Proverbs 3:20; Psalm 147:8; Jeremiah 14:22; Job 36:28). The king’s favor was “like dew on the grass” (Proverbs 19:12).

God is like the dew, pouring out His grace and blanketing our lives with His great faithfulness. His steadfast love and tender mercies appear anew every morning, exactly like the dew (Lamentations 3:22).

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Questions about Hosea

What does it mean that God will be like the dew to Israel (Hosea 14:5)?
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This page last updated: June 15, 2022