Hosea 5-7

To Know Him.

“I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.” ­– Hosea 6:6 NLT

How well do you know God? Or do you just know about Him? God condemned Israel and Judah, His chosen people, for not knowing Him. Yet He had saved them out of captivity in Egypt, led them through the wilderness for 40 years, fed and clothed them the entire time, then gave them the land of Canaan as their inheritance. Yet they didn’t really know Him. And they really had no desire to know Him, in spite of what they might have said. “Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him” (Hosea 6:3 NLT). All they really wanted from God was what He could give them. At this point they needed rescue from their enemies, so they wanted to “know” Him. But they wanted to know other gods just as much. Their relationships with their gods were based solely on what they could get out of them. So God tells them what He really wants in a relationship. He wants them to show love, not offer sacrifices. The Message paraphrases that verse this way: “I’m after love that lasts, not more religion.” The word translated “love” here is checed. It is the Hebrew word that can mean goodness, loyal love or faithfulness. What God is asking for is that they would express a faithful, loyal love to Him. This isn’t about loving others, but about loving God. The context is unfaithfulness or spiritual adultery. Remember how this book started? Hosea was commanded by God to marry a prostitute who would prove unfaithful to him. Gomer was a picture of Israel. God wants us to love Him faithfully, to show Him fidelity and devotion. He doesn’t want our religious rituals or outward acts of piety. We can go through the motions, do all kinds of acts of service, and never really love God.

Then God tells them that He wants them to know Him more than He wants their burnt offerings. Again, The Message paraphrases this verse “I want you to know GOD, not go to more prayer meetings.” God is basically claiming that they are ignorant of Him. They have no knowledge of who He really is or what He really desires. They have no recognition or understanding of God. Sure, they know all about the history of His relationship with Israel. They can quote all the stories about how He delivered them in the past. But their knowledge of Him was not intimate or personal. The fact that they simply came to Him to offer burnt offerings was based on the fact that they simply wanted something from Him, not to get to know Him. They prayed to Him just to get an answer from Him. The offered sacrifices to Him just to pacify Him and in hopes that He would deliver Him. But they didn’t know Him. They didn’t understand Him.

So let me ask again. How well do you know God? Do you just know about Him? Do you pray to Him just to get things from Him? Do you serve Him just to keep Him happy with you? Do you try to obey Him just because you fear Him? If so, you probably don’t really know Him. God wants a relationship with you based on faithfulness. He wants you to want Him. He wants you to desire Him more than anything else. Hosea wanted Gomer to love him. But instead she continued to give herself to others, being unfaithful to her covenant with Hosea. In what ways are you being unfaithful to God? Return to Him. Seek to know Him. He is waiting.

Father, may we be a people who really know You. May we move beyond actions and express our love with our attitudes. May we seek You more than anything else in the world. May we desire You more than anything else. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

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