Reading through today's reading in Matthew for the Community Bible Experience, I found that Jesus was pointing out something very similar for us. The Law required certain sacrifices for different occasions. There were many occasions that Jesus pointed out that God was looking for something greater than just the person who made all the right sacrifices at the right time. Yesterday, I mentioned how Jesus turned things upside down and showed them that God's reality was very different from our human ideas. In fact, it almost seemed like the reading for today expanded on that reality even more by Jesus making strong statements as to what it meant to be his disciple.
The phrase that stuck out the most to me today was, "...I desire mercy not sacrifice..." which Jesus said twice in Matthew 9:13 and Matthew 12:7. On both occasions, He quoted this text from Hosea 6:6 when the Pharisees confronted Him about something they felt was breaking the Law. Jesus was reminding them that the heart of God was more concerned about the attitudes in our hearts than all the proper sacrifices we make. In fact, when our heart is in the right place we will make the sacrifices in our life that is required by following Him such as, willing to leave comfort and home in order to do what we have been called to do (Matthew 8:18-22). We will sacrifice in the way that really matters when we are more concerned with mercy, which sums up the story of God.
Where is your heart? Pray to God to help you develop a heart for mercy.
This post is linked with Soli Deo Gloria.