Reader: “Oh, that we might know the Lord!”
Response: “Let us press on to know him.”
Scripture: Hosea 6:1-6
“Come, let us return to the Lord.
He has torn us to pieces;
now he will heal us.
He has injured us;
now he will bandage our wounds.
In just a short time he will restore us,
so that we may live in his presence.
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 rains in early spring.”
“O Israel and Judah,
what should I do with you?” asks the Lord.
“For your love vanishes like the morning mist
and disappears like dew in the sunlight.
I sent my prophets to cut you to pieces—
to slaughter you with my words,
with judgments as inescapable as light.
I want you to show love,
not offer sacrifices.
I want you to know me
more than I want burnt offerings.
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
“Danny, I want you to go sit in the corner for ten minutes and think about what you did to your sister.” I was never fond of “time outs” or, when the offence was more egregious, a spanking. Hard discipline is still not my favorite thing. Yet the opening sentence of this passage is beautiful in demonstrating the great love God has for his children. Advent has to do with judgment, both that which is yet to come, as well as current guidance from the Lord. Sometimes we may have the idea that God judged and dealt with his children in Bible times, but that he doesn’t really intervene much in people’s daily lives today. We may read this passage and assume that it is speaking only of Israel and Judah’s circumstances. It certainly does address his chosen people, but like all Scripture, it speaks to us as well today, December 3, 2020. It would certainly seem that God has been disciplining us and the whole world in the year 2020. God’s words, “What should I do with you? Your love vanishes like the morning mist and disappears like dew in the sunlight.” Israel had gone through the motions of worship, but their hearts were distant. Then came these powerful words from the Lord to you and me, “I want you to know me.” Imagine! God wants a very personal relationship with us. The Creator of all that is seen and unseen, all that exists, past, present, and future, cares intimately about you as you read these words. Then there is the earlier verse, “Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him.” How is your “pressing on” coming? One of the main purposes of writing these daily devotionals is to help all of us “press on to know him” daily. So when you read a passage, don’t just read it once and move on. Pause, read, reread, get stuck on a word or phrase, talk with the Lord as you read, “Lord, what do you want me to see here?” “Come, let us return to the Lord.” We’re supposed to come back again and again . . . In other words, take your time with your ears open to the Holy Spirit. There is so much to consider in this passage, for it tells us so much about the Lord and what he views as important. All of us need to take “time outs,” that is, time with the Lord and his word. It’s a good discipline!
Music: “The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns” Chris Brunelle
Almighty God, in this hour of quietness I seek communion with Thee. From the fret and fever of the day’s business, from the world’s discordant noises, from the praise and blame of men, from the confused thoughts and vain imaginations of my own heart, I would now turn aside and seek the quietness of Thy presence. All day long have I toiled and striven; but now, in stillness of heart and in the clear light of Thine eternity, I would ponder the pattern my life has been weaving. Gracious God, I seek Thy presence at the close of another day, beseeching Thee to create a little pool of heavenly peace within my heart e’re I lie down to sleep. Let all the day’s excitements and anxieties now give place to a time of inward recollection, as I wait upon Thee and meditate upon Thy love. This I pray, Father, through Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit, reign one God eternal, world without end. Amen. ―John Baillie, A Diary of Private Prayer