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“My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me.” — Hosea 4:6 (NLT)
LET’S TAKE A QUIZ.
It’s Sunday morning, the church is filled with well-dressed men and women singing hymns and reciting liturgy. Some take out their Holy Bibles to follow along as the pastor reads the morning’s text.
Question is: How many of them, your fellow worshippers, would you say have a “personal relationship” with the Lord?
Not just have a “head knowledge” of who He is, or the ability to spout off two or three Bible verses about Him, but who really walk with the Lord and consider their relationship with Him to be the most precious gift they have, a bedrock foundation for their earthly lives?
Go ahead. Take a look around. What about her? Or that man over there? What about the young family sitting in front of you?
Or, more to the point, what about you?
WHAT IS “KNOWING THE LORD” REALLY ABOUT?
Here’s one explanation, taken from a Commentary from the New Living Translation Bible:
“Knowing God means entering into an intimate relationship with him. It means identifying with God and learning to view everything as God does. Knowing God will transform our thoughts and actions, our priorities and values, and our relationships with fellow human beings.”
Why is this quiz important, you may ask?
For the answer, let’s go back to our source text. Here’s the same verse from a different translation:
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6 NKJV)
In this passage, the God of creation is lamenting that the people He created, the people He loves, don’t know Him, and because they don’t know Him, they are suffering inside and dying.
GOD IS DOING MORE than lamenting. In the text of Hosea, an Old Testament prophet, He is calling His people to return to Him, to repent of their wrongdoing and seek forgiveness, a gift He has promised to give.
But they don’t repent. They don’t turn back to God.
Here’s the reason God gives. Let’s look at it from two translations:
“Even though I gave them all my laws, they act as if those laws don’t apply to them.” (Hosea 8:12 NLT)
“Even if I gave her [Israel] ten thousand laws, she’d say they weren’t for her—that they applied to someone far away.” (Hosea 8:12 TLB)
Can we see the problem here?
Many of those people who we see singing each Sunday morning or thumbing through their Bibles to find the day’s teaching or shaking hands with one another during the greeting do not know the Lord.
They don’t know the Lord they supposedly are praising.
They are being “destroyed,” in God’s terms, because “they don’t know me.”
IT’S NOT LIKE they haven’t been told.
God has placed learned men in their lives, from the Old Testament prophets to the New Testament apostles to the current crop of pastors and teachers, but, God is saying, no one is listening!
“And I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Listen to the song of the trumpet!’ But they said, ‘We will not listen.’” (Jeremiah 6:17 NASB)
“But you replied, ‘No! We won’t pay attention!’” (Jeremiah 6:17 NLT)
Do His people know of God?
The Bible says they do.
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1:21 NIV)
How does God respond when His people refuse to listen?
How should He respond?
“Because they did these things, God left them and let them go their sinful way, wanting only to do evil.” (Romans 1:24 NCV)
WHAT NOW? What should we do about this situation? What does God want us to do?
He tells us to respond to Him and to call on Him as our God:
“For I desire faithful love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6 CSB)
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8 ESV)
Here’s the crux of it, for each us, and for each of those fellow worshippers we asked about earlier. It’s the same question for everyone:
“But what about you?” Jesus asked. “Who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:15 BSB)
Along with the plea comes a promise: forgiveness and abundant life.
“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV)
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20 NASB)
Now, isn’t that a God worth knowing!!
O Lord, our loving and merciful Father, who also is a just and jealous God. You call us to love You, to turn to You, to know You as our God. Yet, we confess that, all too often, out of sinful pride, we go our own way, refusing to listening, and making excuses instead of obeying. Please forgive us, Abba Father, and instill within our hearts a loving desire to obey You, worship You, and adore You. We lift this prayer in the mighty name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen
Questions for Personal Meditation and Group Discussion
1. Do you claim Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? Do you, or others you know, “do church” on Sundays without a personal connection with the Savior?
2. Do you see people who call themselves “Christian” acting any differently or talk any differently from those who do not claim a Christian connection? If so, why do you think that is so?
3. When Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say I am?” (Matt. 16:15), how would you answer that question? Do you understand that Jesus wants a personal relationship with you and that your answer to that question will determine your eternal fate?
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