Read Hosea 6
Focus on verse 6
A real relationship is built on love and honesty. A phony relationship creates a facade of love in order to use other people. Healthy relationships are built on giving of myself to build up the other person. Unhealthy relationships exist only to take – when there is no more to take – the relationship ends.
In todays reading God expresses what His desire from His people really is.
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. (v. 6)
God’s desire is a genuine healthy relationship with us. The sacrifices we make to Him are not unimportant, but should flow out of a heart of thanksgiving not a sense of obligation or fear of punishment. When we recognize that everything we have – is ours only because God has given it to us, we begin to understand the concept of stewardship. A steward does not own anything, but simply manages what belongs to His master. I have found it helpful to attempt to view everything I have access to from this perspective. My home, my stuff, my family, my health, my time, it all technically belongs to God. He has lent it to me for a span of time and expects me to manage it according to His priorities rather than my own. I admit that I have not always succeeded in achieving that objective. Most of us tend to be very good at justifying our greed – sometimes we can even make it sound quite spiritual. Unfortunately we are fooling only ourselves when we do this. God is not deceived – but thankfully He is also gracious and merciful and ready to forgive us when we recognize our sin and are ready to repent and return to Him.
It is also important to remember that God is not interested in our outward actions as much as He is interested in our inner motivations. It is with the outward actions that we deceive others and ourselves into believing that our motivations are sincere. What God is most interested in is a genuine relationship motivated by love. The outward behavior then simply verifies that our motivation is genuine.