Returning to the Lord
Loving Father, You bring sight to the blind and good news to the poor. Bring me a word from Your Word today.
Read Hosea 6:1-7:2
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
When we make an “empty promise” which we don’t fulfill, it brings hurt to others. When we make an “empty promise” to God, it brings hurt to the heart of God.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of contrasting the judgmental God of the Old Testament with the merciful God of Jesus in the New Testament–but it’s usually a sign that we haven’t been reading the New Testament recently; after today’s reading, we might add that we haven’t been reading much of the Old Testament either!
The mention of the third day in verse 2 is inevitably going to seem like a prophecy of the resurrection of Jesus, though it involves taking it out of context. Rather, we might imagine this as the words of Hosea, calling on his nation to return to the Lord, recognizing that he disciplines us but heals us as well. These earlier verses are like the whole book of Hosea in miniature, not holding back on the fierceness of God’s dealings with his people, but never leaving us for long without the wider picture of healing and redemption.
The first part of verse 3 is one of those “motto” scriptures, something we can use as a signpost for our journey. How might we press on to know the Lord, then? Do we need greater urgency and expectation in our Christian reading? Or do we need to involve ourselves with others, meeting the kinds of needs that Jesus himself did? (As I write, about a year before you read this, local churches are establishing food banks to meet the specific needs of the economic downturn in our country and others around the world.) Do we need to join with others–“let us press on”–and spend more time in seeking the Lord together? Where do you think the Spirit is leading you and your church to know God better? The refreshment we gain (3) ought to make God better known and more attractive to those we meet day by day.
What is the best way for you to “press on to know the Lord”? How can we recognize the activity of God in our lives at the moment?
Lord, I need You to press in on me so that I will then press toward You. Clear my head and heart so that You will have the priority in all things.