Know God & Show Love
June 20, 2011
I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me, more than I want burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6
It’s been a long month of flood fighting, and VBS, and taking a break from this blog. I hope you are surviving (thriving) well, enjoying
some parts of this unusual summer, and growing closer to our blessed Savior. For those of you who don’t know, or live far away from Bismarck ND, we are dealing with a record flood event that is ravaging our community and most others up and down the entire Missouri and Mississippi river systems. We have about 800 homes that have been directly affected by flood waters, and many families who have moved out. Most of the southern parts of our city, and a large number of neighborhoods along the river to the north are dealing with record flooding. It will change the landscape and ‘history’ of Bismarck and Mandan forever. There has been no loss of life, and shouldn’t be with this event. And as a good friend of mine reminded me: “Beyond that – it’s all just stuff!” I know it’s not my stuff, but she is right. Most of us have too much stuff and love our stuff too much – and events like this can help us think about our relationship with immaterial ‘things’ at a deeper level. I covet your prayers for those thousands affected all along the river system, and pledge to join you/them in fighting on. Now back to Hosea for a bit.
In this book of ongoing predictions and prophecies of the judgment forecast against wayward Israel; there appear (occasionally) small snippets of hope. Verse 6 is one of those – or at least was for me today. I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me, more than I want burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6. This speaks to me today of how God wants us to live in relationship with Him. I equate offering sacrifices, burnt and otherwise, to the “religious duties, rituals, and habits”, to which many of us have reduced this relationship we claim to have with God through Jesus. Too many of us have settled for a casual keeping of religious practices (making sacrifices and burning offerings) instead of living in a vital and passionate relationship with God that is marked by these two things: Knowing God and Showing Love.
It’s so easy for me to point my finger at the “Pharisees” among us today; the crazy TV preachers caught in some latest scandal, the silly media prophets selling DVD’s of their latest predictions, the wacko predictors of days and times the world will end, or God will judge, or some other such nonsense, and the lazy self-righteous “believer” who is living on some past experience of God or Jesus, who can’t get past that past, and clings to a dying image of what once was, instead of embracing change and welcoming new expressions of a vital faith, a compassionate life, a committed existence that is marked by Knowing God and Showing Love!
It just seems so simple to me to point out how stupid others are, and how dead they have allowed their “faith relationship” to become – – then, as usual, I’m brought to the full awareness that I have my own issues of “Phariseeism”. I’m still struggling against my own human failings that have plagued me for most of my adult/Christian life. I can run around and throw sandbags (showing love), and preach and pray about how others should (Know God) – but my relationship is still crippled by my own sin. I know I can never end my humanness – but I sure wish I could gain some more control over it!
Anyway, today I want to Know God, and Show Love. God help me.