Let us know… Hosea 6:3

The offer of return is the recurring theme of God’s relationship with his people. The book of Hosea points very clearly to the repeated turning away of God’s people and calls for their repentance. But repentance, in the sense of turning away from our sin is only half of the story. God will revive us, bind us up, and raise us up. But, he does so in order that we might know him. Our goal is a movement towards God, not merely a move away from sin.

Therefore, our souls must say:

“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 water the earth.” Hosea 6:3

God seeks those who will seek his face:

“I will return again to my place, until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face, and in their distress earnestly seek me.” Hosea 5:15

This isn’t a return to ritual, or a half-hearted compliance. This is a lifelong passionate commitment to knowing God and to being known.

So often we come to God, and yet we daren’t look him in the face – not out of fear, but out of apathy, or self preservation. To look him full in the face is to see him for who he is, and to see us as his creation – his, body, soul, mind and spirit. It is to return all of this to him, freely and unreservedly, no matter the personal cost.

But whatever cost there may be is temporary, for a harvest is appointed when God will restore the fortunes of his people.

“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart I will be found by you says the LORD.” Jeremiah 29:13

Let us know… Hosea 6:3

Four Threads

No, it’s not the name of a Two Ronnies sketch, but the title of a sermon I preached a couple of months ago at Cuckfield Baptist Church.

Particularly for those who are new to the Bible, it can be difficult to understand context, or to see how all the different bits are a whole. This talk gives some pointers to look for while you read.

Four Threads Through the Bible

Four Threads

Feasting the Soul

Reading the book of Jeremiah can be quite daunting. At first glance it appears to confirm the assessment of Jeremiah as the weeping prophet – full of judgement and hopelessness. But nothing could be further from the truth! The book of Jeremiah is a beacon of hope in the throes of a hopeless situation: the exile of Israel & Judah.

Of course we all have our favourite, go to passages. One of these is chapter 31, which speaks of the New Covenant. But the temptation is to just jump to the bits that we understand and like, and in so doing to miss all that God is saying to his people.

The New Covenant, so wonderfully described in Jeremiah 31 is the foundation on which the community relationship of God with his people is built. It was Israel as a nation who had sinned grievously, and it was Israel as a nation who were judged and punished. They had broken the covenant and had separated themselves from God. The result was that God brought judgement on the whole community – the nation was punished. Their sin was ‘of the now’, it was the immediate satisfaction of the pagan rituals in which they indulged. In exile their here & now became a life of slavery.

But the promise of a New Covenant isn’t just a new foundation, but a new community built on that foundation. Satan would keep us living in the here & now, looking for small pleasures day by day and ignoring God.

God assures us that he has loved us with an everlasting love – it transcends the present. God also promises a life lived together as a community of his people: ‘they will be my people and I will be their God’. This is a life lived singing with gladness. It is a life lived as those who are redeemed, both personally and as God’s people. It is a life lived ‘radiant’ over the goodness of the I AM God. It is a life lived as God’s ‘watered garden’, bountiful in God’s care. It is a life of ‘feasting the soul with abundance’ and of being a people ‘satisfied with his goodness’. This is our hope and expectation, not just for the Day of the Lord and the world to come, but the here and now of God’s people, living in the light of his redemption, his love, his taking us to be his own.

So, let’s live now, in the light of this understanding of who God is and who we are in him, knowing that our life lived now as a community of God’s people, feasting our souls with his abundance and satisfied with his goodness is simply a ‘foretaste of glory divine!’

Feasting the Soul