Pressing On

I have been reading through the Old Testament prophets lately. Even though these books can often be overlooked, I have read them several times, so I’m a bit surprised when I find a verse that sounds “brand new”. It’s a good reminder of the fresh nature of God’s Word. No matter how often we may  read it, His Word is alive and active which means new insight is to be expected. In the book of Hosea, God asks that the prophet live out a picture of His love for the Jews, an adulterous people. God wanted his people to know that He still loved them in spite of their unfaithfulness. But he also wanted to express to them the absolute necessity of repentance. His love was meant to induce a turning from their idolatry toward loving Him back.

As I was reading, the timeless message of these verses struck me. Hosea 6:3  says, Oh that we might know the Lord. Let us press on to know Him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rain in early spring.  Hosea is begging his audience to respond to God’s seeking love–and seek back. This plea is expressed in a groan of longing, followed by an assurance that the Lord will respond to our seeking. Just as surely as the cycles of the seasons, God will reveal Himself to those who seek Him. Another Scripture puts it this way, “He is the rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him.” It is easy to get lazy about seeking Him, when we lose sight of the kind of love He has expressed toward us. But reading through Hosea, and imagining God as the One who finds us in the cesspool of our own sinful choices, is a graphic reminder. He loves us, “while we are still sinners.” Earnest, passionate longing after Him is the only response that makes sense.

In Hosea 6:6, just a few verses later God confirms the truth of Hosea’s plea when He says, I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices; I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.  In other words, “pressing on to know Him” isn’t about performing rituals or following the rules.  It is about a heart that longs after Him. It is about forsaking the idolatry that so quickly takes root in our heart, and earnestly loving Him back, because indeed He is the one who has “first loved us.”

 


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