Sunday January 19, 2020
The theme of the book of Hosea is God’s steadfast love for Israel (and us) in spite of her continued unfaithfulness, vividly depicted by Hosea’s marital experience. Hosea married Gomer only to discover that she was unfaithful. But Hosea’s love persisted and reconciliation eventually ensued. That is a beautiful picture of God and His love for us…a love He wants us to truly “ginosko”…know.
How do we get to know someone? Well, first of all, we need to spend time with that person. We get to know what that person likes and dislikes. We learn about their past and their dreams for the future. We learn to recognize them when we see them and we know their voice when we hear them. We begin to understand how that person thinks and how they react in certain situations. We know that person.
Getting to know God requires the same diligence. The word “know” is the word ginosko (ghin-oce-ko) in Greek. It is an experiential knowledge. A knowledge based on seeing, perceiving, and experiencing first hand. It is much more than a head knowledge…it is a physical knowledge.
God places a high value on knowing Him. Paul prayed that above all things we are to know God (Eph.1:17). We are told in Philippians that everything is counted as loss in view of the “surpassing value of knowing Jesus” (Phil.3:8). Hosea tell us that God delights in knowledge of Himself rather than our sacrifices. (See WORD WISDOM for a deeper study of sacrifices)
For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. (Hos.6:6)
There are amazing blessings in truly knowing God. Of course, that alone is the greatest blessing of all. But beyond the sweetness of intimacy with the Father we are blessed with knowing His ways (Ps.25:4), knowing His salvation (Ps.98:2), knowing the Truth (Jn.8:32), knowing all the mysteries of God (1 Cor.13:2), knowing the love of Christ, (Eph.3:19), knowing eternal life (I Jn.5:13), wisdom (Ps.51:6), and His voice (Jn.10:27).
There is a caution from Paul though in the book of Romans:
Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. (Rom.1:21-23)
Knowing God must be followed by loving God. Loving God is followed by obeying God. Obeying God is followed by serving God. And serving God is followed by knowing Him even more. To know Him is to love Him.
Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. (1 Jn.2:3-5)
The true knowledge of God will result not in our hearts being puffed up with conceit at how knowledgeable we are, but in falling on our faces before God in sheer wonder. Whenever our knowledge becomes dry or leaves us cold, something has gone wrong.
Do you ginosko God? If not, go experience the miraculous wonder of knowing Him!