I’m going to change gears on things a little bit. Actually, a big bit. I’ve been sharing a lot about myself, my self-reflection on my sin and how it disgusts me. I’m ashamed of it, to be brutally honest with you. I don’t want to admit it to myself, and I certainly don’t want to admit it to you. At the same time, there is great relief in doing just that. Baring one’s soul is a good thing. It’s refreshing. Cleansing.
As I often do, I opened my bible this morning and it fell to a verse that fits just right. Here we go:
Hosea 6:6 For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
For a bit on context, we see the prophet penning Israel’s desire to return to the Lord, so all will once again be well with them. But their hearts aren’t in the right place. Let’s take a look at two verses of God’s response to see if they have fooled anyone.
v. 4 What shall I do with you, O Ephraim? What shall I do with you, O Judah? Your love is love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes early away.
v. 7 But like Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with me.
V 10. In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing; Ephraim’s whoredom is there; Israel is defiled.
I am aware of two times when Jesus quotes Hosea 6:6. Both are very similar. Let’s look at one.
Matthew 9:9-13 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “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.”
I don’t care who you are, Jesus says some strange stuff. He came to call some, but not others? That doesn’t smoke well in most people’s pipes. Not unless you are willing to understand verses like these, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy,” and “You did not choose me, but I chose you.” But, that’s a topic for another day.
So, how is any of this is changing gears? It’s because God has brought me completely through a process that I didn’t want to go through; and now that I am done, I am glad he did. Actually, I’m grateful. You see, I am of the opinion that scripture teaches us that without Jesus, we can do nothing (John 15:5). That includes repentance that leads to salvation as well as repentance that leads to sanctification. Yes, God initiates everything, and, yes, I respond. The thing is that I think I am the one initiating stuff, but I’m not. Interestingly, God holds me accountable for ignoring him. It’s because he has put a new heart in me that I may faithfully obey him.
And so, he has brought me through this process. I have learned a great deal and intend to pass my lesson on to others. Yes, I want to share my sin but also this whole process. It was gut-wrenching. I hated what God had exposed in me. I was ashamed of myself and terribly sorry for what I had done. But, my lesson has been learned and I will share my story. Psalm 51 keeps coming to my mind. I know it’s a long quote, but it’s worth putting down here, so you can understand what it is I’m trying to say.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, you delight in truth in the secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot our all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem; then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.
The Lord has restored my joy and gladness. Let me share with you what I have learned.
Father, thank you for this process. I guess in the end, you desired to break my head-strong spirit so that I may see the good you intend for me. I shall enjoy this season and welcome the next cleansing you have coming. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers