Mercy, Not Sacrifice
I do not see much of this now.
6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
From the time of Hosea, the type of “offering” YHVH God wanted was well defined.
YHVH God does not need our material things, although the sacrificial giving of material things shows allegiance to Him.
While the sacrificial system was still in effect during the time of Hosea, acts of sacrifice that did NOT demonstrate a repentant, humble, and merciful heart were useless to the Lord.
Jesus elaborated on this in the beatitudes.
He emphasized traits of character and goodness, and not money or material/animal sacrifices.
He never mentioned tithes, for example.
Pure in heart
Suffering persecution for righteousness sake
Being witnesses for the son of Man, possibly being hated for this.
Also, Jesus mentioned acts he wanted when he gave the commission to preach the kingdom of God:
7"And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
8"Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.
9"Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts,…
So Jesus did not just say visit the sick, but to HEAL them.
Not just to bury the dead, but to RAISE the dead.
To Cleanse the lepers
To cast out demons……
To give as one receives (generosity)
compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.
Here are the classical examples of works of mercy:
Corporal Works of Mercy
are those that tend to bodily needs of others. In Matthew 25:34-40, in the The Judgment of Nations, six specific Works of Mercy are enumerated, although not this precise list — as the reason for the salvation of the saved, and the omission of them as the reason for damnation. The last work of mercy, burying the dead, comes from the Book of Tobit.
To feed the hungry.
To give drink to the thirsty.
To clothe the naked.
To harbour the harbourless. (also loosely interpreted today as To Shelter the Homeless)
To visit the sick.
To visit the imprisoned (classical term is "To ransom the captive")
To bury the dead.
The Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy
Just as the Corporal Works of Mercy are directed towards relieving corporeal suffering, the even more important aim of the Spiritual Works of Mercy is to relieve spiritual suffering.
The latter works are traditionally enumerated thus:
To instruct the ignorant.
To counsel the doubtful.
To admonish sinners.
To bear wrongs patiently.
To forgive offences willingly.
To comfort the afflicted.
To pray for the living and the dead.
Though generally enjoined upon all the faithful, often, in particular cases, a given individual will not be obligated or even competent to perform four of the seven spiritual works of mercy, namely:
..instructing the ignorant, counseling the doubtful, admonishing sinners, and comforting the afflicted. These works may require a definitely superior level of authority or knowledge or an extraordinary amount of tact.
The other three works – bearing wrongs patiently, forgiving offences willingly, praying for the living and the dead – are considered to be an obligation of all faithful to practice unconditionally.
Need for the Modern Church to change its ways
** Disclaimer: there are some churches who do practice mercy. This post is not about them.
I spend much of my time on this website helping those who are turned down by churches.
The need may be simple, like the need for prayer or counsel, helping them find a place to stay, or helping them locate food pantries.
Some deliverance issues require a phone call.
This is because I am told by the person that the local church would not help them.
This is unacceptable.
The local church will not help the poor, and tell the person they do not “do deliverance.”
So this person’s local church is disobeying God.
Many churches only help tithe paying members with financial help.
This is narrow minded charity.
The other aspect Hosea mentioned was the knowledge of God rather than offerings.
I find many, and almost most, Christians ignorant of scripture.
They listen in church, but they cannot transmit what they hear.
They are not learning at the right level to be able to instruct others.
God requires a mature believer to learn on his own, as well as listen to teachers.
The purpose of the church is to equip the saints, not entertain them, or babysit them.
Without the knowledge of God, Christians are easily deceived and go astray, making them not only useless to God, but also bad witnesses for Christ.
Think about it. How many Christians can defend their faith to atheists, or Muslims?
I have even met some so called Christians who actually rely on secular sources to explain Christianity to them.
This is unacceptable.
The coming judgment of God upon America, and also other countries, is not really due to the sins of the wicked.
If it was due to the wicked in the country, and/or the world, destruction would have come a long time ago.
The judgment is due to the sins of the church, and being evil witnesses for Christ, instead of righteous ones.
The world looks at the church, and sees sin and hypocrisy, and assume “Christ” is a money scam to rob the poor, and exploit the working man.
Judgment will start with America, because it has mainly prostituted Christ for gain, and this bad witness has spread to other countries who continue the practice.
For those who preach the Lord for gain, and do not show mercy, or share the knowledge of God, I advise them to repent.
Repentance means turning away from the sin, rejecting it, despising it, and returning to righteous and holy behavior.
Repentance is not an empty ritual, where you just say “sorry” and do not mean it.
If you do not repent, and mean it from the bottom of your heart, and love God enough to obey Him, then you will face judgment.
Judgment is not a slap on the wrist.
Judgment will be the complete destruction of everything you believe, everything you have, including people, family and things, and even your own life and soul.
Also, find someone today who needs mercy, and show it to them.
Make this a daily action.