Archive for March 4th, 2013

Pursue the Knowledge of God

March 4, 2013

Here are the sermon notes from 3/3/13.

I.  Pursue the Knowledge of God:  Hosea 6:1-3

Come, and let us return to the Lord;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.
Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth.

There are multiple layers of meanings in these words.  For the original hearers, there was a call to repentance, to turn away from sin and return to the Lord.  There is also a messianic center, as we recognize the reference to the resurrection.  There is also a timeless principle that can be drawn out of the original, and applied to all ages.

God is our Father, our creator.  We are meant to be in a relationship with Him.

Sometimes God allows difficult circumstances to come into our lives.  He is trying to get our attention.  He starts with a still small voice, but if we do not listen, then He may raise His voice, or change tactics.  He is motivated by a love for us, and a desire for reconciliation.

If we would pursue the knowledge of God, then we would be able to hear His still, small voice.  He would direct our paths by His Spirit and His Word.  We pursue the knowledge of God through studying the scriptures and spending time in prayer.

The knowledge of God can really be beneficial, not only in this life, but in the life to come.

II.  The Fiery Furnace:  Daniel 3

In this chapter, the king has made a golden statue.  He has commanded that everyone is to bow in worship to this image that he has created.  The penalty for disobedience is to be cast into the fiery furnace.  Daniel’s three friends; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego refused to comply.  They are brought before the king, who gives them another chance, warning them of the consequences of disobedience.   Their reply is found in Daniel 3: 16-17.

  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”

I appreciate the faith that is expressed in this response.  God is able to save them from the fire.  One way or another, they will be delivered from the hand of the king.  Death would be a form of deliverance, or God can save them from the fire.  Either way, they will not worship the idol of gold.

Daniel 3: 19-25

Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. 20 And he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22 Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?”

They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”

25 “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”

The fourth person is a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ.  In this case, God did deliver them by literally bringing them through the fire.  For all of us, as we experience the various tests and trials of this life, we can be assured that Christ will be with us.  Remember that as Jesus was leaving this earth, He assured His disciples that He would be with them always, “even to the end of the age”.  As He was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, He will be with us in whatever test we might face.

We should continue to pursue the knowledge of God.  As we do, we may rest assured that God is with us.