Today’s reading was exciting. Reading about Jesus’ call of Matthew in Matthew 9, we see “And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples”. Matthew 9:10. But when the pharisees questioned His attention to these sinners, Jesus responds by telling them to “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:13 which was a quote from Hosea 6.
Anytime Jesus referenced a quote from the scriptures, it was not only to point out that text, but also to point people back to the other text around His reference. This is where my reading today got interesting. Hosea 6 is a reference back to Jesus eventually fulfilling the scriptures.
Verse 1 – “for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up” – a reference to David’s Psalms where ‘He makes me lie down in green pastures’. God will sometimes allow or even cause temporary pain in order to protect us from a greater harm. Like a Good Shepherd.
Verse 2 – “After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him.” – an obvious reference to the eventual resurrection.
Verse 6 – “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” – this is the scripture Jesus actually quoted in Matthew 9, and he told them to “go and learn what this means”. I love that. Hosea has already shared that God does not desire us to simply make sacrifices as an afterthought but not really love or really know the Lord. God told us through Hosea that His #1 desire is that we “know him” and have “steadfast love” for Him. The ‘knowledge’ referenced here is a personal knowledge like you know your own family member, not a knowledge from simply studying and having facts. God wants us to really and truly “know” Him.
This is the message Jesus came to deliver. He continued to deliver it so many ways but on this day, He chose to point back to a prophet’s words that had said the same. Knowing His words is nice, offering sacrifices is a nice touch… but the only thing He really wants is for us to have a complete love for Him and truly know Him personally.
Thank you Lord for delivering this message is so many different ways.