Hosea 6 … Consider What He Desires

“For I desire loyalty rather than sacrifice,
And the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings,”

It appears as though Israel has gotten the message, and with a resolute posture they profess their intention to return, as well as their confident expectation of a short-lived chastisement.

“Come, let’s return to the Lord.
For He has torn us, but He will heal us;
He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.
He will revive us after two days;
He will raise us up on the third day,
That we may live before Him,”

And they heroically declare their adamant decision: they will learn, they will press on to know the Lord. But the question arises; did they really want to do what would be required to learn and know Him, or were they more interested in what He had to give? For it seems that in their own reasoning, this newfound commitment to get to know Him would automatically usher in His presence, along with His blessings.

“So let’s learn, let’s press on to know the Lord.
His appearance is as sure as the dawn;
And He will come to us like the rain,
As the spring rain waters the earth,”

But God is neither impressed nor duped by professions of faith that spring from the lips of deception. And He immediately called them out on their shallow pledge of loyalty.

 What shall I do with you, Ephraim?
What shall I do with you, Judah?
For your loyalty is like a morning cloud,
And like the dew which goes away early,”

Lip service, along with the keeping up of appearances, will evaporate quickly. God’s concern has always been our heart, not what we profess with our words. For it is our heart that reveals the truth of what lies within.

As in water face reflects face,
So the heart of man reflects man,
(Proverbs 27:10).

But the people had so deluded themselves into believing that if they simply were better at maintaining the externals of sacrifices and offerings, then God would surely reciprocate; then surely He would rescue and restore.

But it wasn’t as though God had ever left any room for doubt.

“For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice,
And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings,” (6:6).

The commands of God, given in His Holy Word, have always been a matter of the heart, calling for obedience to emanate, not from an adherence to the dos and don’ts, but from an overpowering, all-consuming love for Him.

“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart,”  (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).

And in the midst of His pronouncement of judgment, we again hear His Heart for His people as He tells us exactly What He Desires.

Consider What He Desires

For I desire loyalty rather than sacrifice,
And the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings,”

One sentence that really explains it all. He Desires loyalty and He Desires relationship with us; He Desires love and intimacy; faithfulness and faith; worship and truth. What He Desires is that we trust Hm to do what only He can, for both loyalty and knowledge are gifts from Him to be received by faith and thereby result in actions that emulate Him.

Consider the definitions of these Hebrew words from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance (emphasis added):

Loyalty: 2617. חֶסֶד ḥeseḏ: A masculine noun indicating kindness, lovingkindness, mercy, goodness, faithfulness, love, acts of kindness. This aspect of God is one of several important features of His character: truth; faithfulness; mercy; steadfastness; justice; righteousness; goodness. The classic text for understanding the significance of this word is Psalm 136 where it is used twenty-six times to proclaim that God’s kindness and love are eternal. The psalmist made it clear that God’s kindness and faithfulness serves as the foundation for His actions and His character… People are to imitate God. They are to display kindness and faithfulness toward each other… Israel was to show kindness and faithfulness toward the Lord but often failed

Knowledge: 1847. דַּעַת daʿaṯ: A feminine noun meaning knowledge, knowing, learning, discernment, insight, and notion… The root meaning of the term is knowledge or knowing… The word describes God’s gift of technical or specific knowledge along with wisdom and understanding… It also describes the Israelites when they lacked the proper knowledge to please God…The word is also used in the sense of knowing by experience, relationship, or encounter… The term is also used to indicate insight or discernment. God imparted discernment to the psalmist when he trusted in God’s commands (Ps. 119:66) … God alone possesses all knowledge

And as we consider What He Desires, we will come to see the impossibility of it all apart from faith in Christ. For What He Desires is not that we abide in external compliance but that we abide by faith in the One Who so loved us as to give Himself for us, and as we do, He will live out What He Desires in us.

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me, (Galatians 2:20).

  • He Desires our faithfulness.
    • For I desire loyalty rather than sacrifice…” (6:6).
    • but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end, (Hebrews 3:6).
  • He Desires that we know Him.
    • “…And the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings,” (6:6).
    • “O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; 26 and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them,” (John 17:25-26).
  • He Desires our obedience.
    • “Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
      As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
      Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
      And to heed than the fat of rams
      , (1 Samuel 15:22).
    • Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross, (Philippians 2:5-6).
  • He Desires that we make Him our trust.
    • How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust,
      And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood…
      6 Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired;
      My ears You have opened;
      Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required,
      (Psalm 40:4, 6).
    • For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously, (1 Peter 2:22-23).
  • He Desires truth in our innermost being.
    • Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,
      And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom,
      (Psalm 51:6).
    • “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you,” (John 14:16-17).

How do we respond to What He Desires?

In truth, What He Desires is a human impossibility. It is only as we place our faith in Christ, that we are given His Spirit Who empowers us to live faithful, to know Him, to walk in obedience and continually make Him our trust by His indwelling Truth.

But it begins, and will be sustained, through our brokenness. Our time in His Word has certainly emphasized that God will bring down everyone who is proud and lofty.

For the Lord of hosts will have a day of reckoning
Against everyone who is proud and lofty
And against everyone who is lifted up,
That he may be abased,
(Isaiah 2:12).

He will bring down the proud who reject Him and His Truth, but He will also bring down the pride in His adopted children who neglect What He Desires.

“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent,”(Revelation 3:19).

And while there may be actions that require our repentance, let us remember that every sinful thought, word, and action proceed from the heart.

“But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders,” (Matthew 15:18-19).

Oh, that we would truly come to the place of understanding What He Desires, that we would bring Him our broken and contrite heart in dependence and faith, trusting that He will fill us with His Spirit to do in us what only He can.

For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
You are not pleased with burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise,
(Psalm 51:16-17).

Oh, let us come to Him daily, to be emptied of our pride as we confess our sins in broken contriteness trusting that He will lead us in exactly What He Desires in and through our lives.

Good and upright is the Lord;
Therefore He instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in justice,
And He teaches the humble His way,
(Psalm 25:9).

Lord Jesus, oh may we learn to live in the place of brokenness, that we would know You and Your ways, would hear Your instruction and walk in the way You lead.

Lord, may our greatest Desire be to walk in Your Greatest Commandment, that we would humbly live out What You Desire as we love You with all that we are, and love others the way You have loved us. Amen.

Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these,” (Mark 12:29-31).

Let’s Grow Together!

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