Have you given God your whole heart, or are you offering Him substitutes?
The prophet Hosea spoke a condemning word to the nation of Israel at a time when they were prospering. In fact, the Israelites were so successful, and so diligent in offering sacrifices to God, that they began to rely on Him less and less—and more on themselves. That’s what prompted the Lord to speak through Hosea: “For I desire loyalty rather than sacrifice, and the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6).
Jesus echoes this phrase later in the company of Pharisees, saying, “Now go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, rather than sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:13). Though Christians don’t offer animal sacrifices to the Lord, we can be tempted to think in a similar way about our good deeds, sound theology, and hours logged in church. But what God wants from us is our very selves—He values our trust and reliance more than anything else we might offer Him.
Think about it
• What is something you typically “offer” to God? Consider setting it aside this week. How can you genuinely connect with Him apart from that?