Where Is The Love?
I love finding places in the bible where God seems to simply and openly reveal what He’s thinking on a particular subject, don’t you? With Holy Spirit as our guide we certainly can dive headfirst into some of the incredible mysteries the bible contains for us, but once in a while it’s nice to feel like you may be getting a “free-bie”! Hosea 6:6 is one of those passages in scripture where God makes a statement about His likes and dislikes concerning a particular topic, which is definitely worth paying attention to! For a major portion of Hosea, God is lamenting over the sin of Israel and the separation it had caused between Him and the people He longed to be with. Up until this passage, the prophet Hosea has been sounding warnings to Israel of coming judgement if they fail to return to the protection and love of God. In response to a moment of superficial repentance offered to God by Israel, God informs His people of a true desire of His heart.
“For I desire steadfast love* and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” Hos. 6:6 ESV
Of all the things God could request of His people, He simply asks this one thing;
“I want you to love and know Me!”
As implied by this verse, Israel may have been decently keeping up with the regulations of temple worship and proper conduct but what God saw in their hearts was displeasing to Him and that was the absence of love.
Before we go pointing the finger at the Israelites, let’s consider the possibility that this is a timeless principle still addressing the same issue which can be found in us as God’s people today. Think church life. We certainly do a lot of things for the Lord don’t we? From Monday to Sunday our schedules can be so full of spiritual activities we can barely keep up! Although this isn’t wrong in itself, an assessment of our hearts towards God in the fury of activities should make the top portion of our to-do list somewhere!
In all our doing, are we still loving the Lover of our Souls?
In all the singing, speaking, serving, teaching, socializing, leading etc. are we still connecting with the source of our Life?
What a shame to end up doing many things we think are pleasing to the depths of God’s heart only to discover that they were void of the one thing He desires most – LOVE! God indicates several places in scripture that what He was really looking for from Israel was their love and devotion to Him, but it didn’t just stop with them. Jesus offered a staggering repetition of this truth about the heart of Father God when He summed up the most important aspect of Christian service in the greatest commandment,
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind.”
Does God like our service to Him – yes absolutely! But without our hearts involved it becomes mere ritual that does not reach His heart.
“God does not want you to put your hand to something
in the Kingdom, with your heart disconnected from Him”
“God is love.” (1 John 4:8) and He acts out of who He is. Jesus implores us that the greatest “service” we can do for our Father is love Him back. In doing so, we “speak His language” and interact with Him in His preferred manner. Loving God is certainly connected to serving and obeying Him in scripture (John 14:15).
Indeed, Love may look like service, but service alone can never look like Love.
We have to keep our hearts connected to the One we serve and our love alive to know Him more. Worshiping Him, thanking Him and spending time letting Him speak to us are some ways, in which, God desires His children to come to Him. As we respond to the Fathers desire to love Him first we will be filled more and more with His love. And this creates a platform from which any service we do becomes a joy. May you be filled with the knowledge of His great love for you today and respond to His desire to be loved by you.