Advent Devotion for December 7
Candle Lighter says: “I want you to know me…”
Response: “…more than I want burnt offerings.”
SCRIPTURE: Hosea 6:1-6
1 “Come, let us return to the Lord.
He has torn us to pieces;
now he will heal us.
He has injured us;
now he will bandage our wounds.
2 In just a short time he will restore us,
so that we may live in his presence.
3 Oh, that we might know the Lord!
Let us press on to know him.
He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn
or the coming of rains in early spring.”
4 “O Israel and Judah,
what should I do with you?” asks the Lord.
“For your love vanishes like the morning mist
and disappears like dew in the sunlight.
5 I sent my prophets to cut you to pieces—
to slaughter you with my words,
with judgments as inescapable as light.
6 I want you to show love,
not offer sacrifices.
I want you to know me
more than I want burnt offerings.
SOME THOUGHTS: Do you ever wonder what the heart of God is like? We know many of the characteristics of God. He is holy, just, righteous, loving, all knowing, and so forth. But what is His heart like? Is He emotionally and personally connected to people, to you? These words of Hosea are most intriguing. You just read that God has “torn us to pieces, now he will heal us.” In a short time he will restore us (why?), so we can live in His presence. (v.2) We have a clue here as to God’s heart toward you and me. He wants us to live in His presence…on His terms. From our point of view, it means repentance. His presence is holy. We are not. Something has to be done. God’s “tearing” is a way of waking us up to realize our need for repentance. Hosea writes of the importance of pressing on to “know him.” How do you and I press on? We absorb His words. We read elsewhere that the “word of the Lord is sharper than any two-edged sword.” God’s word brings us truth, God’s truth which inevitably exposes our need for repentance. Hosea is very blunt here. God’s prophets came to “slaughter you with my words!” God wants their undivided love, not simply obeying the sacrificial law. God is after their heart, not their religious actions. The actions follow, but are not a substitute for the heart, fully abandoned to loving the Father. Where is God tearing you? He’s after your undivided heart.
MUSIC: What Child Is This by Jerry Palmer, Don and Wendy Francisco (instrumental) (YouTube)
PRAYER: Lord, I know not what I ought to ask of Thee; Thou only knowest what I need; Thou lovest me better than I know how to love myself. O Father, give to Thy child that which he himself knows not how to ask. I dare not ask either for crosses or consolations; I simply present myself before Thee, I open my heart to Thee. Behold my needs which I know not myself; see and do according to Thy tender mercy. Smite, or heal; depress me, or raise me up; I adore all Thy purposes without knowing them; I am silent; I offer myself in sacrifice; I yield myself to Thee; I would have no other desire than to accomplish Thy will. Teach me to pray. Pray Thyself in me. Amen.
—Francois de la Mothe Fenelon, 1651-1715