Hosea 6:3 ESV
3 Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”
The prophet first says, “Let us know.”
Let’s describe this with a little bit of theology and a lot of reality. Knowing God is a confession of faith followed by a usually slack commitment to serve Him. EG- Church a few times a year, drink less beer and watch my mouth. I’m different than before. Maybe not completely different- but at least I’m better. And for that puny amount of effort, I believe God’s grace to cover the balance of the mess and assume one day I’ll live eternally in heaven. If you asked me, I’d say, “Jesus is Lord” and I would mean it. But, basically, we’re just one tick of passion above that insulting lukewarm description of Rev 3:16.
People who work like this are marginal employees.
They’re barely better than having no one. Hardly successful. Marriages like this are usually medicated by innocent flirting around town to preserve that need to be cute followed by an annual vacation that keeps the whole thing from falling apart. Hardly flourishing.
Here’s the point- knowing God and pushing to know God is different.
If we push to excel at work. If we push to make a near-happy home. If we even push to raise great kids. What does all that look like? Exactly- very different than the unenthusiastic examples from above. Nothing about this is easy, but the effort can make for triumph. Most of the time. That said, how many of us push with this fervency to know God? To that, we answer no. All of us. Because in the context of work, marriage, and kids, our efforts to know God are pale. Actually, we compare gathering with the community of God to things like hunting, fishing and sports. Hobbies. Exercises to know God are juggled with the little stuff, not the big stuff.
Don’t feel bad here- it’s everyone. EV. ER. Y. ONE.
The problem isn’t our conflicting pushes- the problem is the way we know God.
If you find God in work, with your spouse and near your kids, there is no conflict.
Time with all is time with God. If whatever I do for work, I do in the name of the Lord (Co 3:17) then I know God there. This isn’t easy. This is why we must push to know God there. Everywhere. If I’m seeking ways to love my wife the way Christ loves me (Eph 5:25) then I know God there. If I’m raising my kids in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph 6:4) then I’m finding God there. Pushing to know Him actually pushes me to be great at life.
We know why the effort is worth it in life- but why push to know God? Why add another layer of complexity to an already hassled existence? Because He will then come to us as the spring rains that water the earth. Most of us aren’t farmers so we don’t really get the point. Rain delays games, ruins the weekend car wash, and slows everything down. Rain is not refreshing. It’s an inconvenience- unless, of course, you live in California or Washington right now. And that is the point.
Without the rain, everything we’ve worked so hard to build just burns up. We can dig trenches and dump water from planes but the fire just keeps going. We need the rain.
That gigantic, all-consuming fire isn’t a surprise. The devastation isn’t a surprise. We know it’s coming because we absolutely know when we are dry. What’s crazy is that we ignore it. Finally, after we collapse under the pressure, we seek fleeting happiness from consumption or forged revival from more activity. But the fire just gets bigger because spending and playing doesn’t make rain.
Pushing to know God is not writing Him first on that hierarchical line of to do’s. God is in the center- the hub- upon whom I do everything. I work better and love more wherever I am because I push to know God in the middle of it all. Not before it or after it…in the middle of it.
When God is the center of life, the labor is rewarding. Joyful. Even peaceful. Yet, whatever we leave Him out of will ultimately deplete us. Burn us out. God wants to be in your life- not just in your temple.
Pushing to know God brings the rain. It’s as sure as the dawn.
A weekly blog by G. Shawn Scarborough, Pastor of Livingstone Church