Thursday, November 15, 2007

What does it mean to "know the Lord"?

The Bible contains some alarming material. Sometimes I recoil at revealed truth that stands so far beyond my comfort zones, truth difficult to discuss in polite company. One of these truths is the intimate relationship God desires to have with us and promises to us. God's words to His prophets on this subject are too strong to be comfortable.

I was reading Hosea again, the picture of God's faithfulness to us is beautiful. And yes His anger at our unfaithfulness is sobering. How thankful we should be to have one mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus. But I ran across a little article by John Piper on Hosea and in it he discusses God's desire and promise for intimacy with us. Here is the link to the entire article.

Consider these:
Hos 2:19 And I will betroth you to Me forever. Yea, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies.
Hos 2:20 I will even betroth you to Me in faithfulness. And you shall know Jehovah.

This is what Piper says:

But the most daring statement of all is the last one in verse 20: "And you shall know the Lord." To see what this means recall the peculiar use of the word "know" in the Bible. For example, Genesis 4:1, "Adam knew Eve his wife and she conceived and bore Cain." And Matthew 1:25, "Joseph knew her [Mary] not until she had borne a son." In the context of a broken marriage being renewed with the fresh vows of betrothal must not the words, "and you shall know the Lord," (v. 20) mean, you shall enjoy an intimacy like that of the purest sexual intercourse. When the wife of harlotry returns to her husband, he will withhold nothing. He will not keep her at a distance. The fellowship and communion and profoundest union he will give to his prodigal wife when she comes home broken and empty.

Lest we throw this out as heresy, consider the Song of Solomon. Why is that included in scripture. And what about all of the wedding and marriage metaphor concerning Jesus and the church (and it's individual members) ... the bride of Christ?

I happen to think that we can not understand what this all means except by metaphor and this intimacy is best described through these aspects of our human experience. So for our comfort and probably for the sake of accuracy, we must say "It is like that." But we should not recoil from the idea
or we will miss the power of it, God does not flinch.

God is always shocking to humans, why would we expect anything less, considering the vast differences between us. But the closer we are to God the less we are alarmed by His truth. When we have the mind of Christ, we are comfortable thinking as Christ thinks.


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