Come, and let us return to the Lord; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight. Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth. “O Ephraim, what shall I do to you? O Judah, what shall I do to you? For your faithfulness is like a morning cloud, and like the early dew it goes away. Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets, I have slain them by the words of My mouth; and your judgments are like light that goes forth. For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. (Hosea 6:1-6)
For I Desire Mercy
Today is a day of worship. We will gather with fellow saints for a period of praise and honor to Jehovah God. Throughout the world the children of God will congregate in accordance with a pattern established by the early church. Faithful disciples will follow the simple pattern of authority laid down by the Holy Spirit. Adherence to the will of God will be recognized by the manner worship is patterned and carried out. And for many all this exercise of worship will be is a steel framework of commands rigidly kept in a mistaken idea that is all God desires. Worship is more than keeping commands the right way.
The text of Hosea was written when the children of God were in a state of rebellion to their Father. In their minds they thought all they needed to do is to do what the Lord commanded in the Law and God would just take them back because they were Law keepers. In fact it was the Lord who said to them your worship is as vain as a morning mist. What the Creator and Savior really wants is for the heart of man to be overwhelmed with the grandeur of grace from above and salvation by His hand.
It was God who ordained the laws of sacrifice but it was a means to capture the heart of the people. He established the requirements of the burnt offerings but what He was looking for was the personal relationship with His people. He desired mercy and the knowledge of who He was to them rather than the trivial motions of worship done without love.
Our worship today can be done with our eyes closed we have done it so many times. God wants our hearts to be open to Him today. When we sing songs today let the words and the music change our hearts. As the supper of the Lord is being passed do not allow it only to be a brief pause in the hour of worship to nibble some bread and drink some juice. Discern the body of Jesus Christ is wondering praise of what HE did on the cross. When the sermon is being presented treat it not as another half-hour-dull-time-to-bear-through but hunger and thirst after the words of God implored from His message.
Let worship today be a time of feeling the mercy of God. Allow the worship with fellow saints revive in the spirit of each one of us a deep desire to know everything we can about OUR FATHER. Make worship personal today. He desires this more than anything else.
Fruitful and acceptable worship begins before it begins. (Alexander MacLaren)