Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Approaching the Presence of the LORD

“Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord;

his appearing is as sure as the dawn;

he will come to us like the showers,

like the spring rains that water the earth.”

~Hosea 6:3 (NRSV).

As our Lord approaches we gather sheaves of repentance so we’re ready. It’s a simple response in planning. There are so many linked connections: the nearness of the Lord’s coming and a response of repentance.

Still, the Lord’s never been distant; no, never.

Even times when we didn’t know God, as we cast our minds back, he was there. During our darker times—as the Footprints poem suggests—God was there. This is how we can associate the healthily reverent fear of the Lord. Nothing’s kept from God’s vision. It’s appropriate to repent.

Knowing God Is Repenting

How deliciously convoluted is the knowledge of God? Out of this passage we see the prophet call the people out of unfaithfulness into walking with the Almighty; the adherent foci of landing in the sweet centre of God’s inimitable grace.

The imperative, to ‘know’ God, is stark and rich. The prophet is imploring a certitude-worth of obedience. Only as the people come to know, and therefore repent, are they demonstrating a “steadfast love” of God and not mere “sacrifice,” which was in fact the case (Hosea 6:6). Their hearts were not in it.

Genuine repentance is a heart-thing. It cannot be otherwise. Coming to God without heartfelt conviction is repealing the knowledge of God—it’s deliberately distant to the Lord. It’s mocking the Almighty; a disdainful position sure for the cursing.

The Lord – The Only Credible Provider

In the original context, the people of Israel had turned away from God, and their unfaithfulness was a macrocosm of Hosea’s situation—his wife had turned to whoredom. Not only did they turn their interest away from God, but they went to Baal worship. Here enters the significance of those prophesied freshening rains; Baal is no longer to be thought as the Provider. Yahweh is no longer to be relegated with the pagan gods.

Our Jehovah-Jireh, God the Provider, is the one and only provider. Never has it been otherwise and never will it be.

God’s Response to Our Repentance

The second verse of this subset (Hosea 6:1-3) alludes the nature of God to quickly restore otherwise broken relationships at accord to the willingness of the penitent.

The Lord’s voice echoes through Hosea. Jesus implores us to repent, and not for any other reason than it’s right, just and fair; it’s the restoration of Divine balance. As fervent as this Divine call is, is the fervency of response. Like the Prodigal Son, we’re welcomed in God’s embrace.

And let us just know... the Lord is near. His Presence is here. The providential and redeeming rains of heaven—as a living metaphor for blessing—are imminent; both now and to come.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

General Reference: Thomas E. McComisey, The Minor Prophets: Hosea – An Exegetical & Expository Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1992), pp. 87-89.

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