“For I desire and delight in [steadfast] loyalty [faithfulness in the covenant relationship], rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”- Hosea 6:6 AMP
“In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.” -Psalms 40:6 ESV
It was a beautiful sunny day, in a gorgeous and breath-taking garden filled with flowers of all kinds, a fountain in the middle with water flowing in a dance-like manner, a clear blue sky and a gentle breeze passing through the air. It was a perfect day indeed for a wedding. Under a gazebo, a groom stood before his lovely bride. They both smiled, exchanging vows in which they solemnly swore and promised to love each other, be faithful to one another and let nothing separate them apart from a sinister thing called death. How beautiful it was! Naively, the groom and bride did not fully understand the vows and commitment they had just made first to God and then to each other, unaware of the turbulent elements that would arise later to test their marriage. They’ve entered a covenant that should never be broken. There are two things they will not be able to do without in their marriage: faithfulness and love.
In the book of Hosea, we’re introduced to a couple who has made the same vows as our previous lovely pair, except that their covenant has been broken more times than they can count. Instructed by God to marry a promiscuous woman, Hosea is forever the husband of Gomer, a woman who has been unfaithful from the beginning. She has given herself to other lovers only to break her marriage vows to God and shatter her husband’s heart also.
But why would God lead his prophet to such a woman?
Well, so Hosea would better sound the alarm to God’s people about their unfaithfulness towards Him. Hosea became painfully aware of how it felt like to be deeply hurt by the one who had pledged to faithfully love him. Many know this feeling whether through broken marriage vows or one person in a relationship cheating on them with someone else. If you have not lived through it, I am sure you know someone who has. It is a shattering, painful and devastating experience. Trust gets broken. Questions arise to make you doubt the entire relationship and you wonder how you could have been so blind to this person’s ways. And finally, you question yourself: “Am I unlovable? Could I have done something to avoid this?”
Hosea’s experience is quite similar and a true reflection of God’s reality with His own children. During the time of Hosea, Israel had walked away from its first love and husband much like Gomer was constantly walking away from Hosea. Israel had become an adulteress woman and given herself to all sorts of idols and turned from following her Maker. From cursing to disobedience, lying, murder, and stealing, the sins of Israel only seemed to multiply over time. The nation that God loved with an everlasting love and brought out of Egypt, a land of bondage suddenly forgot all about its God.
Although Israel was drowning in adultery and unfaithfulness, God was still calling her to repent and turn back to Him with a sincere heart. He is indeed a God of compassion, willing to look past our faults and betrayals to start over and repair the covenant we have made with Him. He is not interested in our false appearances of holiness, empty sacrifices nor empty promises. Instead, He desires our heart and faithful love over sacrifice, and to build a relationship with us over empty offerings.
Friend, I want you to understand that God is jealous for you and desires your faithfulness and love over any gift that you may choose to bring to Him. Indeed, “in sacrifice and offering you have not delighted” (Psalms 40:6a) but a true, undefiled heart God desires.
Faithful love does not solely matter in the big aspects of life. It is mostly in the day-to-day, seemingly mundane aspects of life that it matters most to the Almighty. God desires our faithfulness to be the faithfulness that should exist between husband and wife: in our homes, in our relationships, on our job and in all areas that we may perceive as ordinary. This is where our faithfulness and love will truly be demonstrated; in the day to day. Therefore, today, remember the covenant you made with God in your heart and with your lips. Remember that day when you professed to love and follow Him.
If you have not yet made a covenant with Jesus, it’s not too late. Just as God called Israel out of her sins and into His grace, being patient with her, willing to forgive and welcome her back in His arms, He is calling you and wants to welcome you home.
Be faithful and don’t ever forget what God desires most of all: you.
How faithful is your love towards me! So many times I’ve let you down and did not consider you, only my selfish desires and concerns. So many times, I was too preoccupied with what I wanted rather than what you require of me. Forgive me Lord for forgetting you and not putting you first in my life. Help me to re-establish my covenant with you and be faithful to my promise to love and follow you. Today, I offer you my heart as a sacrifice. Have your way in my life according to your perfect will. This is my prayer in the name of your Son and my Redeemer and Savior Jesus Christ.