Hosea 6:6 (NKJV)
For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
Both of these phrases compare the inward being with external actions. Mercy is a God-like quality and the knowledge of God only comes through His revealed word. Sacrifice and burnt offerings are really two ways of saying the same thing. For the Old Testament Israelite it really was burnt offerings. For the New Testament Christian it is really everything that we do for God including service and giving. But for both the Israelite and the Christian, God knows the motive in the heart. He is honored in us when we exhibit his traits, like mercy.
If I find myself getting a little proud of my accomplishments, I read the above verse and I am brought low again. Only God can reveal the true motives of the heart.
Dear God, give me a pure heart and a desire to know you more. Help me to love others with a merciful heart.
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