Wednesday, December 11, 2013

God's Desires May Surprise You

The Minor Prophets Speak to Today


For I desire mercy and not sacrifice,
And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

Many of us grew up believing God's desire is that we be blameless and without spot or stain - Proverbs 11:5, 1 Thessalonians 5:23. Some adults I know still cling to the childish misunderstandings we had of the many Bible verses about those two issues. Those who have matured and become teachable by the voice of the Holy Spirit learned that those childish pictures, those self-effort spawning false beliefs, were incorrect. They were more about what God wants to make of us. We cannot attain blamelessness or being without spot or stain by ourselves.

So What Does God Want from Us?


FIRST: God desires that we exhibit mercy towards others. The New Living Translation states it thus: "I want you to show love." God wants us to be merciful even as he is merciful. One of the things Christ came to earth for was to show us what being merciful looks like. And he ended it with greatest demonstration of mercy in the history of mankind: his death, burial, and resurrection for us. If you are living that example, living out an equivalent mercy, I have nothing more to say.

But Hosea 6:6 points out that there is something more.

SECOND:  God desires that you possess knowledge of God. The New Living Translation states it thus: "I want you to know me." There is no personal relationship with God if you do not know him; just like you do not have a personal relationship with me unless you know me. That means more than knowing I exist. It means more than what you think of me or your personal conceptions about me. To know me means to understand my heart, my mind, and my body. It means to know my way of thinking and speaking. It is very, very personal and intimate. A relationship marked by closeness, connectedness. A way of knowing that can exist with only a few individuals and blessed is the man or woman who has even one person who truly knows them.

That is the kind of personal knowing God wants, God desires with you and from you. It is no mere head knowledge. It cannot come from a book, not even the Bible, though the Bible may open us up to experiencing him the way he desires.

I want you to show love,
    not offer sacrifices.
I want you to know me
    more than I want burnt offerings.

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