That whole introduction to say this, God has been bringing this verse to me over and over the past two weeks and the hammer hit the nail on the head when I was reading it with the kids. I knew it was time to go deeper with this verse and see what God was/is trying to tell me.
“I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” Matthew 9:13
What? God doesn’t want me to sacrifice? Why is He telling me this? What is going on? Aren’t we supposed to sacrifice? Focus on the prize? Rest in heaven? I mean, I am living the most sacrificially than I ever have at any point in my entire 11 years as a Christian! Doesn’t He realize the time we’ve sacrificed (especially this past year)?? Doesn’t He see our cupboards and what we’ve been eating (and trying not to complain about it??)
Oh my goodness. Doesn’t that sound awfully Pharasitical? (Is that a word??)
Point and Case.
Funny, the lesson I taught Sunday to the LP kiddos was based on the 10 Commandments. Numbers 1-4 LOVE GOD, Numbers 5-10 LOVE PEOPLE.
Speaking to our Father God, the psalmist in Psalm 40:6 says, “You do not delight in sacrifice and offering.” Again, reiterating the fact that God’s not out looking for people to bring burnt offerings and sacrifices to Him. He wants us to:
A) LOVE HIM
B) LOVE PEOPLE
That is not to say that there won’t be sacrifice along the way, there will (Rom. 12:1). But, if it comes before loving God and loving others the priorities are out of whack! I can honestly say that the majority of what I do is fueled by a motivation and a love for God and a desire for people to come to know Him or come to know Him better. I am willing to sacrifice for my Jesus. His sacrifice is what has given me life! However, I have not been loving people, having mercy, being compassionate. God is opening my eyes to once again beg for His mercy that I may have mercy and a love for people. Even and especially for those that are hard to love… oh, easy for the moment, but WHAM! hard again.
God fill me with a love for You that burns through me and sets me afire and fill me with Your love that I can love on others. You desire that I have mercy, that I love my neighbor as myself. Make my desires Your desires. Help me to love the unlovable, the lovable and someone who needs a taste of Your love. Forgive me, Father for I have failed greatly in this area. I turn from my own selfishness with a desire to grow in this area of mercy, compassion and love. Have Your way in and through me. In Your precious Name I pray.