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Mar 26, 2023

Scripture Reading: Hosea 6:1-6

A good portion of the book of Hosea is a catalogue of and denunciation of the sins of the nation of Israel. The primary, and foundational, sin that is highlighted in this book is idolatry. But when God is rejected, the manifestation of spiritual darkness is manifold. Hosea 4:2 cites lying, murder, stealing, adultery, and bloodshed. Life in Israel had degraded to a heartbreaking level of corruption.

Perhaps, surprisingly, although Israel was wholeheartedly given to its sins, the people continued to offer sacrifices to God and perform other religious rituals. God directly confronts this hypocrisy in Hosea 6:6. “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God, rather than burnt offerings.”

The problem with the Israelites was not that they were not religious. On the contrary, they were very religious. No, the problem was that they were not righteous. Their multiplied ceremonies did not grow out of a love for God nor out of a heartfelt pursuit to know Him and obey his commands.

This is very instructive for us. There is a kind of empty shell of worship forms that does not result in a pursuit of righteousness in someone’s life. Such forms are not worship at all, but a mockery of God Himself. Let us plead with God to give us purer hearts in our worship, and a deeper pursuit of righteousness in our living.