For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
In Old Testament times when you wanted to atone for something you would go to the temple with the required offerings which were burnt on the altar – hence the term burnt offerings. When I was growing up I would go to confession, where I would enter a small, closet type room and I would tell the priest all the things I did wrong, he would then give me penance to say. None of this seemed to make sense to me.
As I read this verse I think yes this is exactly how I feel. I don’t want to worry about the ceremony, what I want is God’s mercy. I want to acknowledge Him for who He is, accept His gift and strive to be the person He wants me to be.
How do I do this? I do this by creating a relationship with Him. I don’t do it by expecting a sacrifice, a ceremony to make things right. I realize that no ceremony is necessary to receive the mercy God has for us. What is needed to receive God’s mercy is acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Savior and repentance from our sin. When we accept and acknowledge God for who He is, we open ourselves up to a relationship with Him and this is God’s desire for us.
Please forgive me for trying to place You in a box. Help me see You for who You are and to openly accept Your daily offering of mercy and grace. Please forgive me when I look to ceremony, rules and religion before I look to You. Today I stand before You, with open hands and open heart. Today I accept Your offer of mercy and Your offer for an amazing relationship. May my eyes be on You and not on the man-made rules. In Your Son’s precious name I pray.
Are you caught up in the business of religion and ceremony? Have you accepted God’s gift of mercy? Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior? Spend some time quietly talking to God and ask Him to show you where you need to focus more on your relationship with Him and less on the ceremonies of religion.