The Holy Scripture never ceases to amaze me. The tiniest most obscure passage or word can prompt a divine revelation and Hosea 6:6 is one such passage,
“For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”
These words pack a powerful punch to my heart, because it aches with great grief right now. Grief over lost independence that all parents expect when their children grow up. Since Dani’s Autism has made it so Jimmy and I will be her caregivers for the rest of our lives, the reality of never gaining my freedom later in life weighs heavy on my soul. As of late, for some reason, my heart has been groaning more than usual.
This passage in Hosea, however, does well to set my sails in the right direction and I meditate on it day and night. It reveals the deep things of God by telling us He prefers, or is drawn toward, a heart that is full of kindness for others and love for Him. Far more than any amount of hard work we could ever do in His name, He would rather we show our love for Him by being merciful toward others. This convicts me beyond measure as it exposes the sin within my heart that desires to work for Him more than show mercy. Fretting and brewing over how much I could do for Christ if only I didn’t bear this heavy burden, I place work for God above mercy. It’s a subtle trap many of us fall in to. Just ask King Saul who knows from first-hand experience.
“But I did obey the LORD,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the LORD assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. 21 The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal.” 22 But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:20-22
Ladies, our primary responsibilities in life are to fear God, keep His commands, and show mercy. We must never put work for God above Him and His command, even though work may appear to be the more valuable option. Mercy is vital because without it we become critical, impatient, selfish, and judgmental, all the things that lead us away from the heart of God. May we heed the words of the prophet and choose mercy over sacrifice for it is in essence the only true offering God desires.