Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My heart was challenged and convicted this morning as I read a portion from Hosea and I want to post it here for your encouragement as well.

Hosea 6:6 6 For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

We find that this is in the section of the book where Yahweh is declaring that Israel is that faithless wife who has gone to other lovers rather than being faithful to her husband (i.e. Yahweh). And in this sobering section, Yahweh declares this verse that is quoted in the NT (Matt 9:13; 12:7) and it serves as a fitting test for us today as well.

When you come to God, as the Israelites sure did in the 8th century BC, do you come to God bringing all of the sacrifices you can find? Do you come to all the church services that are available? Do you get up early and spend time in God’s Word and in fervent prayer and delightful meditation? Do you walk around the office with a Bible in hand so that others see that you are a Christian?

Good.

But let us never forget that “God delights in loyalty rather than mere sacrifice. If your church attendance is merely a box on the checklist; if your time early in the morning in God’s Word and fervent prayer and meditation is merely another box on the checklist; if your Bible in hand as you walk around the office is out of duty and out of the desire to be seen with a Bible all merely for the sake of “doing” these things – which are not bad in and of themselves (no, they are good things!) – then we miss the whole point. God is not pleased.

Let us be loyal to God. Let us pursue the knowledge of God rather than merely bringing the sacrifice and burnt offerings of God to the altar. Notice, however, that these sacrifices and burnt offerings were commanded by God to be brought. Yet, hear this crucial truth: obedience to God’s rules with a heart that is rebellious is worse than not bringing a sacrifice at all.

Notice one last point. When Yahweh says, “I delight in loyalty, it is the Hebrew word chesed which could be translated: “lasting loyalty,” “faithfulness,” (Holladay) or “covenant faithfulness.” When you come to God, do you come to Him with a lasting loyalty in heart and attitude? Do you come to him with a genuine heart expressing its love and passion for God in those sacrifices and burnt offerings?

Let us remember this Christmas season to draw near with our hearts right before God rather than a mere external act of religiosity. Soli Deo Gloria.

Your pastor and friend,

Geoffrey R. Kirkland

2 comments:

Dave said...

Appreciate the post. This is a hobby horse that I ride on a lot. I feel that much of the church today is given to religiosity, not authenticity. It fits well with the modern concept of spirituality. Thanks Geoff

geoffrey kirkland said...

Dave,

You're right on brother! Do well on those finals today. I'm keeping you in prayer. Pray for me. I'm taking my Hebrew PhD exam in a few hours.

Much love bro.

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