Hosea 6:6 – For I desired mercy and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. (KJV)
I find it interesting coming out of the prophetic books, moving into Matthew’s gospel and listening to Jesus quote the prophets, or more accurately, quote the Father. Jesus brought us lots of insights into who he was and gave us a new perspective on the nature, character and attributes of God. He also reminded us of the importance of understanding all of Scripture. We are not just New Testament Christians; we are disciples of God’s Word – all of it.
In Matthew 9 we read of the authors own calling and of a meal that took place with Jesus, his disciples and many tax collectors and sinners. The Pharisees were rather put out by this scene and asked why the teacher was eating with such men. Jesus decided to answer the question himself:
“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
In chapter 12 we see Jesus going through a grainfield on the Sabbath and the disciples picked heads of grain to eat. Again, the Pharisees found fault and questioned their actions. Jesus replied,
“Have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”
Sacrificing to God and bringing an offering to God was, and is, important but there is something more that He wants – ‘I desire mercy and the knowledge of God.’ We are to be kind and compassionate toward one another, not judgmental. We are to love and encourage one another, not be fault-finders. How do we achieve this? By having a true understanding of who God is and who we are in Him.
Get to know your God and remember, something greater lives within you.