Hosea 6:6 “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”
How often the Lord has said this.
It is always a matter of our heart’s attitude to God, and His Word to us.
Mercy here in the Hebrew is “hesed”. It is a word that speaks of brotherly affection and loyalty, for those who belong to the family of God.
We love our brothers and sisters in Christ, because we love God.
Matthew 12:7 “But if ye had known what this meaneth, I would have mercy, and not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the guiltless.”
His disciples were going through a grain field, and plucking off ears to eat, since they were hungry.
They were not harvesting the crop, or picking and putting it in their pockets; but just eating, for hunger.
But the Pharisees, seizing upon something, accused Jesus’ disciples; thereby bringing rebuke upon Him.
They had not “profaned the Sabbath”, by working; but a false accusation was the only way they had of trying to slander Jesus.
Mercy is the goodness of God to His sinful creatures.
There is temporal mercy:
He makes the sun to shine upon the good and the wicked.
He sends rain to nourish the crops of both. (Matthew 5:44-45)
But spiritual mercy has to do with Christ, and all we have in Him; even though we are sinners. Saved sinners.
He sends us forgiveness and the cleansing of the conscience.
He sends us grace (the unmerited favor of power) for our lives. Not just special days, but grace for everyday.
Titus 3:4-6 “But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared,
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Which He she’d on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior;”
The sacrifices of the Old Testament times, were to show a picture of part of Christ’s sacrifice (which in Christ, completely takes away the penalty, and power of sin in His people).
But the outward sacrifice, without the inward repentance, or love to God; was worthless. How often God told them of this!
Jeremiah 7:21-23 “Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel; put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh.
For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices:
But this thing commanded I them, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.”
He said, “You might as well take your sacrifices home and eat them there. They are not doing you any good, though they cost you a pretty penny.
I am not seeing them. I am not accepting them. I am not accepting you.”
What He wanted, was for them to act like they should: Love God, Obey Him, and do good to their fellowman as they could.
Jeremiah 7:2-3,5-7 “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, O ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the Lord.
Thus saith the Lord of hosts, The God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.
For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings, if ye throughly execute judgement between a man and his neighbor; (not take bribes, or side with the rich)
If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt;
Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, forever and ever.”
Jesus Christ wants us to show mercy to others, as He has shown mercy to us:
As wide as our sins, has been His forgiveness, and love.
So we are to manifest His mercy through us, for His sake.