Hosea 6:6 “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”
This was the Lord’s exhortation through His prophet…..to try and explain to His people, that if the heart’s honor to God was not with the sacrifice….it was nothing to Him.
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 are to love our brothers and sisters in Christ,…..because we love God,….and because He loves us.
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.”
Jesus spoke, quoting this verse in Hosea, because of the hardness of the Pharisee’s hearts…..He knew they were just trying to prove Him wrong….their accusations about His disciples, had nothing to do with honoring God’s Word.
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 trying to bring rebuke upon Jesus.
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). This mercy He gives to all.
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 shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior;”
Mercy for His own is “abundant mercy”……He does not hold back, but gives according to His Will, as we need it…..and receive it.
The sacrifices of the Old Testament times, were to show that the people desired to have forgiveness from God…..and a part with the Messiah to come.
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.”
(The first command the Lord gave them after coming out of Egypt, was:
Exodus 15:25-26 “…There He made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there He proved them.
And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in His sight, and will give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.”
He did not institute sacrifices, until making a covenant with them at Sinai.)
He was saying,
“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.
Better, take them to the poor neighbors, and give what you pretend to sacrifice to Me, to them.
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.”
He called upon Judah, to “amend” their ways……to change them to His Ways.
To treat each other with the love of brothers, for that is what they were.
Jesus Christ wants us to show mercy to others, as He has shown mercy to us:
As wide as our sins have been; His forgiveness and love are wider still.
So we are to manifest His mercy through us, to others,……for His sake.