Thursday, December 1, 2022
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.
Hosea is another of the Old Testament prophets (c.750 BC) who spoke to the wayward people on behalf of God. He speaks of the loving care of God in disciplining and loving his children. There is this phrase, “he has torn us to pieces; now he will heal us.” Hosea gives us an important truth in understanding how God shows his love toward his children. The tearing you and I experience in our walk with God is an act of his love though it surely doesn’t seem like it at the time. Tearing is the evidence of his love. Does God love you? His discipline, his rending of you confirms you are his.
What does this have to do with Advent you may be wondering? In a nutshell, the Lord wants us to be prepared for his return. He wants us to be close to him, to know him well. He is helping us be prepared for his return while at the same time giving us day to day guidance of living in relationship to him. God deems this preparation most important. Hosea has this same burden for his people. The same theme is picked up later by the Apostle Paul in his words to the Philippians “that I may know him . . .” (Phil.3:10).
There is the everpresent plea to “come, let us return to the Lord” voiced in so many ways. The prophet clarifies that the Lord “in a short time will restore us so that we may live in his presence.” The dominant message always is God’s desire for restoration and communion with his children. Some of the most beneficial times in my life were when my wife spoke “hard words of truth” to me out of love that brought healing and restoration. She was simply following God’s model.
Through Hosea God states that this closeness, this fellowship, is on his terms, not ours. “I sent my prophets to cut you to pieces— to slaughter you with my words, with judgments as inescapable as light.” God speaks piercing words that are hard to hear, but they come out of his great love. Hosea continues with God’s words, “I want you to show love,” not go through the motions of worship. “I want you to know me” more than I want your broken promises claiming how faithful you will be to me. Hosea underscores one of the main reasons for these devotionals―that of encountering God daily and knowing him better and better.
Our assignment today? Don’t go through the motions of living a Christian life, but press on living the real thing. God will respond. When we are torn by God, remember it is out of his love for us. And he heals what he has torn. Live with authenticity showing love wherever you go.
Music: “Is Not His Word Like A Fire?” Will Liverman from Elijah
Blessed Lord, who has caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; grant that we may wisely hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of your holy Word, we may embrace you, Lord God, and hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. ―Book of Common Prayer, 1928, altered Daniel Sharp