Thursday, February 9, 2012

the effort to know God

Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.
Hosea 6:3

Hosea makes an impassioned appeal to the nations of Israel and Judah to return to the Lord. We can see that one vital goal of the covenant relationship was knowledge of God. The relationship of obedience in the worship of Yahweh was intended to draw the nation close to God. Hosea's appeal is for the people to know the Lord. In that knowledge is renewal, refreshment, and relationship.

There is a way in which the prophet talks about the process of knowing God that is instructive. He urges God's people to "press on" in their knowledge of the Lord. This denotes both determination and effort in the process. Determination is the mental preparation in knowing God. We must want to know Him. Our hearts must seek God. Effort is the work of knowing God. There has to be some energy expended in order to reap the reward.

For me, the energy expended looks like this: I have to be in the Word of God daily. I have to discipline myself to hear from God. Life's troubles and the dissonant voices of the world around me will make demands of my time. But the very best time I have each day is spent in the Bible, in prayer, and in expending the effort to know my God. Why? Because I do what I was most created to do... walk with God. For me, the next step is to journal something that I saw in scripture. That gives me a few thoughts to hold on to for the rest of the day. It gives me something I can share with others. And years of this discipline have given me over 80 books filled with these thoughts. This translates into my hard evidence of God at work on me. At this stage in my life I find it personally irrefutable.

The rewards of "pressing on" in the knowledge of God are worth the work. They do not grant a life of ease. They do give us an adventure worth having and joys that last even in our hardships. And for that reason, I want to remind myself to continue to heed Hosea's call to "press on" to know the Lord.

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