Submitted by Visitor (not verified) on Mon, 07/12/2009 – 14:34
Bible Book: Hosea
“The basic message of Hosea is that God loves Israel,” one Bible commentator writes. In 5:13 – 6:6 we hear the prophet Hosea, the prophet of love, arguing with Israel as a loving husband would argue with his beloved wife who has betrayed him.
In 5:15 God tells Israel what He wants. Israel should repent and seek God’s face.
According to 6:1-3 this is exactly what happened. It is difficult to find anything wrong in the pledge of these verses. It seems as if God has won the argument and that his people have returned to Him.
However, according to 6:4, God is not pleased with them. Something is still wrong. But what? Upon reading verses 1 to 4 carefully, it becomes clear that Israel have used all the right words, but somehow their actions have not corresponded with their words. “Your love is like a morning cloud,” God complains. Their commitment and love are not honest and truthful. They perform religious acts without authentic relationships.
The well-known verse 6 clarifies the matter even further. “Steadfast love” and “knowledge of God” are contrasted with sacrifices and burnt offerings. Now it becomes clear that God is not so concerned about the public or cultural aspects of our faith (religion). He looks at our hearts and our relationships. God wants a genuine, deeply personal, faithful relationship. The importance of this verse is seen in its use in Mat 9:13 and 12:7.
Performing religious acts as such solves no problems. It does not please God and it will not solve the problems of the HIV and Aids pandemic. True, genuine, steadfast, honest relationships with God and with one another will make a difference.
To think about (or discuss): Do you agree that relationships are more important than the performance of religious acts? How do you put this in practice?
Author: N du Toit (Ds)