For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. . – Hosea 6:6
Somewhat later in his prophecy to the nation of Israel through Hosea, God speaks to the nation and lists how the people have been unfaithful to their God. He notes that they are stubborn and unrepentant despite all the devastation He sends them. Then, God says He desires mercy and acknowledgement of Him rather than sacrifices and burnt offerings. The people would bring their sacrifices and oblations out of ritualistic tradition and commandment according to the Law rather than out of faith to please God. They only understood dos and don’ts not faith, mercy, compassion, grace and love.
Are you doing things out of compulsion and strict adherence to the dos and don’ts of the Bible? Or, do you love your heavenly Father with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, which will cause you to obey Him without being demanded to do so? The blood of animals merely atoned for sins temporarily; however, exercising mercy toward one’s fellow man and acknowledging God as Father could happen only through faith.
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees when they complained to Him that the apostles were picking heads of grain on the Sabbath. They said no work should be done on that day. Jesus reminded them of how David ate showbread meant only for the priests, which was unlawful as well. He quoted this verse and rebuked them by saying that if they knew what it meant, they would not condemn the innocent.
God’s Law is true and holy, but it brings about sin through our weakness. We would never know what sin is without the Law, but God tells us in His words to Hosea that mercy and acknowledging Him supercede the Law. We can try to live the narrow route of legalism and bash everyone around us when the do wrong, or we can look for the hurting and extend grace and mercy to them in their time of need. Jesus also expounded upon this topic through the parable of the Good Samaritan. The priest and Levite would not touch an unclean man for fear of violating the Law, but the foreigner, hated by the Jews, was the only one who rendered aid to the beaten and robbed man.
God extended mercy and grace to us today by just letting us live and putting breath in our bodies. We deserve nothing short of death, but He loves us and shows us mercy. Who can you show mercy to today? Who can you help today that doesn’t deserve to be helped? Doing so, you will show the love of God to that person, and you could possibly change the person’s life forever. A sinner might see God’s love and desire by conviction of the Holy Spirit to become a member of the family of God. Don’t be so quick to snap at people. Show them God’s love that He shows you.
Father, forgive me for being so critical and harsh to the sweetest person in my life. She does not deserve my wrath but my love instead. Help me to always show her Your grace and mercy and to prefer her above and before myself. I surrender to You and stand still to know that You are God and let your peace fill and rule my heart and to allow Your Word to dwell in my heart that I may have Your wisdom in knowing how to treat her and everyone else. Help me to have a thankful heart continually and to do all things as though I were doing them for You. May Your Spirit bring forth peace and mercy and loving kindness in me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.