1 Come, and let us return to the LORD;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
2 After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.
3 Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth.
“Let us know,” says Hosea to the northern tribes of Israel. “Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD,” he continues. That sounds like a familiar litany, doesn’t it? Doesn’t every pastor worth his or her salt say the same thing? Doesn’t every evangelist preaching for your salvation say “Know the Lord”? And yet how few, how very few are those who accept Him! How few come to accept the mercy He rains down upon them. How few know – yes, truly KNOW that He came in the flesh and died and rose on the third day, “That we may live in His sight.”
Hosea might just as well have been preaching to a brick wall, for all the good it did. Like every prophet in the Bible, Hosea’s words were largely ignored, and so the northern tribes found themselves enslaved in Assyria for a time. But God is every bit as merciful as His prophets foretold, and Israel was indeed returned to their home, and they did cast off the worship of hand-made idols. Unfortunately, by the time the Messiah came to them hundreds of years later, when Jesus came preaching the true kingdom of God, Israel had forgotten these words of Hosea. They had replaced the worship of graven idols with the worship of pale rituals and stale sacrifices. They did not recognize the Savior of the world who fulfilled prophecies that had been spoken since Moses. They didn’t “know” Jesus as Lord.
Except, of course, for one sinful woman by a well in Samaria, who said of Him, “Come see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” (John 4:29) Jesus then stayed with the Samaritans – the descendants of the northern tribes of Israel – for two days, teaching and speaking truth. And then…
Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”
On the third day, they DID know Jesus as the Christ, because they had pursued knowledge of the Lord. They came expectantly, sure that the Messiah was coming, sure that His arrival was as certain as the sunrise, as certain as spring and fall rains. They came to Jesus because they knew they needed a Messiah, and they found salvation because they believed.
Do we seek Jesus so eagerly, seek to know Him that way? Do we believe in His coming again? Do we anticipate His return as much as we await the break of day or the coming of spring? Or do we treat the Christ as a fairy tale, an unlikely magical thing in some far-off time? Hosea didn’t say to Israel “Believe” as if he were talking about Santa Claus. Hosea said to Israel “KNOW.”
Know that Jesus is Lord. Know that He lived in the flesh, died, and was resurrected on the third day. Know that He came to wash away the sins of the world. Know that Jesus came to die for us while we were yet sinners. Know that He WILL come again to judge the quick and the dead. Know in your heart of hearts that He is here even now, in the Holy Spirit that dwells inside every believer. Know that He is with you “even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
Father God, all praise and glory are Yours, for Your Word is truth and Your ways are righteous. Thank You, Lord God, that we may know You through Your Word – Your creation, Your Bible, Your Son. I pray, O Lord, that all will come to pursue the knowledge of You, that all men and women will someday know Jesus and see Him as Savior of the world. Amen.