I just finished a study on Hosea and I am blown away by God speaking to me through it.
I started off by just reading the 14 chapters of Hosea. If you have read Hosea you know chapters 1-3 are about Hosea's marriage to Gomer - a woman who is a harlot. Every time I read the name Gomer for a woman I smile. I am so childish sometimes. Chapters 4-14 are about the Northern Kingdom of Israel being a harlot in their relationship with God. Before when I read Hosea I think I focused on God telling a prophet to marry a harlot. (I often think of Francine River's book, Redeeming Love, [affiliate link] which I've read twice. It is a very good book. Set in the time of the California Gold Rush, God tells a man to marry a prostitute. The book is about the man's love for his wife, but also God's redeeming love for her. I highly recommend it.) I also noted the amount of time spent on listing the sins of Israel.
This time however when I read it, the verses noting the knowledge of God, or lack of knowledge of God literally jumped out at me. I am at a different place in my spiritual journey than when I have read Hosea before. This time I had an understanding and a clarity I didn't get before.
After reading the book of Hosea, I read what some of my reference books said about it and then did a short study on it. This study spent most of the time talking about knowing God. I looked up several New Testament verses about knowing God and Christ Jesus. I want to hone in on one passage.
The apostle Paul wrote to the church at Philippi as recorded in Philippians 3:8-11:
More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
So much to unpack from these verses! So much theology.
Let's start at the bottom of the passage.
Resurrection of the Dead: Two years ago on Easter I visited the church my son and his girlfriend go to. The minister preached on the resurrection of the dead as we state on the last line of The Nicene Creed. We look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and to life in the world to come. It is something we profess. (This sermon was such a celebration of Easter that it will forever be ingrained in my mind!) Resurrection of the dead simply means we will be with God for eternity. We will live! And it is going to be beyond awesomeness!
Conformed to His death and Fellowship of His sufferings: This reminds me of the "will be persecuted" in 2 Timothy 3:12; and "they will also persecute you" in John 15:20; and the "I have been crucified with Christ" in Galatians 2:20. These verses mean that we identify with Jesus in His death in such a way as to allow Him to live through us. Bear our own cross and follow Jesus. The daily crucifying of our own "self."
Know Him and the power of His resurrection: The resurrection of Jesus is not just a historical event. It is a life-transforming event. When you know the purpose and the power of the resurrection, you know Him.
Righteousness: It means being in right standing with God. We are justified by faith in Christ. Not the Law. Being righteous means we can approach God. We are found not guilty by the divine judge.
The surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord: VALUE! Not only value, but SURPASSING VALUE! The surpassing value of KNOWING! The surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus MY LORD! Not just knowing Christ Jesus as my Savior. True, He is my Savior. But knowing Him as my Lord!
Surpassing. Exceeding. Being greater than. Excelling. Transcending. Outdoing. VALUE!
Walking hand in hand with Jesus. Knowing Him as my Lord.
There is SURPASSING VALUE in that.
Can I get an Amen?
The goal of trusting Christ is to know Him. We are talking about a personal experiential relationship.
Knowing God has to do with surrendering to Him as your Lord.
Do you see the surpassing value in that?
How are you doing at knowing God?