"For it is love that I seek, and not sacrifice, knowledge of God more than burnt offerings." -Hosea 6:6 (ISV)
The prophet Hosea had the task and ministry of preaching to a people who were outwardly religious and who's hearts were given over to idolatry. The Northern Kingdom had become spiritually unfaithful to the Lord God. They were committing spiritual adultery while holding on to a form of shallow religious observance to God. Hosea had been experiencing the same thing at home with his wife Gomer who had been unfaithful to him several times already. Yet Hosea kept lovingly pursuing her. He would eventually buy her back, and bring her home after she had become another man's property and was being sold as a slave. God has bought us back as well from the grips of sin, death, and the enemy. And all He wants from us is to love Him back in response. He wants true knowledge, the knowledge that involves intimacy, as Adam "knew" Eve, was joined to her and they became one flesh. God wants a deep relationship with you above all else not an external religious sacrifice. Don't misunderstand me true love will be seen in the way we practically give ourselves over to Him more and more, that is there will be works to follow and to show for it. But the essence is in knowing Him intimately above works and sacrifices. The point of Christianity is an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, not a shallow religious observance. Many today like the Israelites in Hosea's time have a relationship with God that is satisfied in fulfilling a Sunday duty or giving of sorts, while the rest of the week they freely give themselves over to the wants and needs of the flesh. Who is your God? Who do you serve? Does the flesh and the world have your heart? These are questions we must ask ourselves on a regular basis, all the while knowing that though we love God He loves us more and He loved us first. I remember reading a story about Alan Redpath and his young daughters. One morning mom sends the girls to go wake daddy up for breakfast, and they both race to get to him. The oldest gets to him first and tells the other "daddy's all mine"! Now while they were having breakfast at the table the youngest was crying, that's when her dad picked her up sat her on his lap and leaned her close to his chest. She wipes her tears away smiles and turns to the other daughter and says "he might be all yours, but I'm all his"!
- THINK OF DIFFERENT RELATIONSHIPS YOU MIGHT HAVE, WHETHER IT BE MARRIAGE OR A SON OR DAUGHTER RELATIONSHIP WITH SOMEONE. HOW ARE THESE RELATIONSHIPS SIMILAR TO YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD? HOW ARE THEY DIFFERENT?
- "God loves each of us as if there were only one of us." -Augustine