Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord… (Hosea 6:3)
I first remember hearing this verse when I was in college, and it’s one that has stuck with me ever since. The world is teeming with opportunities to pursue our interests, cultivate our passions, and develop relationships. When it comes to knowing God, though, we might not think twice before taking a less persistent approach than we would in other areas of life.
When I contemplate the words “press on” in Hosea 6:3, a couple of principles come to mind.
Knowing God requires effort. In His grace, God has chosen to make Himself knowable, but like any meaningful relationship, a relationship with Him takes work. We won’t drift into intimacy with Him just like we don’t haphazardly arrive at intimacy with loved ones. If we want to know Him, we’ll have to spend time cultivating a relationship with Him through His Word, prayer, the Church, and other means.
Knowing God will be met with obstacles. The words “press on” convey the necessity of perseverance. It’s no secret we are broken people living in a broken world. Every day we are bombarded with enticing alternatives to knowing God better. Sometimes we undervalue the privilege of knowing Him and become lax in accepting His invitation to intimacy. At other times we recognize the value of knowing Him, but we feel the constraints of our relationship this side of Heaven.
Knowing God is worth the effort it requires. In my favorite section of Scripture, Paul demonstrates the incomparable value of an intimate relationship with God when he writes, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8). Knowing Jesus is better than the very best things this world has to offer. Paul essentially says there’s no contest; the scales are always tipped in favor of Jesus. And not just a little bit. The value of knowing Him greatly exceeds the value of knowing anyone else or pursuing anything else. This doesn’t mean we ignore the worth of other things, it just means we appropriately value them by acknowledging the far superior value of knowing Him.
You and I were created to have a relationship with God, but because of sin’s destructive effects, we don’t know Him as fully as was intended. The day is coming, though, when He will return and we will finally “see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). Until then, let’s press on to know Him. There’s nothing more valuable we could do with our time or energy.