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November 6, 2016

"MERCY AND NOT SACRIFICE"

TEXT: Hosea 6: 1-11 (Esp v. 6)
READING:
 Matthew 5: 1-20

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SUBJ: The simple, yet profound, things which the Lord requires of His people as set in contrast with behaviors seen in both Judah and Israel and called out by the prophet as a reason for judgment.

AIM: That we might endeavor to be in the way required, loving mercy and the knowledge of God above all else.

INTR: The book of Hosea begins with one of the most beautiful stories in the Bible in which the determinations of the Lord to redeem are played out in the life and experience of the prophet.
1. The wickedness of the Northern Kingdom (Israel or Ephraim in the Scripture) went before that of the Judah but Judah caught up and met with a similar end.
2. As we have often said, redemption is the plan whereby God would glorify Himself among men and so references to it are found throughout the Word and this passage is no exception.
3. There are many thoughts with regard to methods of restoration and return and some seem to think that the first three verses of this chapter speak of one lacking in genuineness.

THESIS: We rejoice in the knowledge that God has said “I will have mercy.” It is not unreasonable that we should be expected to render the same as we endeavor to be identified with Him. Not only is He merciful, it is expected in His children.

I. A methodology born out of the observed faithfulness of God (vv. 1-3)
1. There is strong support for the thought that these three verses belong to the previous chapter.
1) Read Hosea 5:13-15 and note especially that they had sought the aid of others and
2) That the Lord had purposed to leave them alone until they realized their need of Him.
2. It is thought that These are the words that the Lord would have them to say and that should have reflected a heartfelt need of Him.
3. J. M. Boice suggested that two essential things were missing here:
1) There is no direct reference to the matter of their sin and therefore repentance and there is no thought of a relationship with the Lord –only deliverance from their troubles.
2) Others, however, see these things as implied and that after all this is that which would be in answer to the Lord’s departure and return.
3) We are well advised to look to the matter of return and expectation that the Lord will faithfully respond.
4. Verse 2 suggests promptness of action and faithfulness with the Lord to produce the desired effect: “we shall live in His sight.”
5. The knowledge of the Lord would come when pursuit of the same was engaged and they would sing, as should we, Great is Thy Faithfulness – the early and latter rain suggest that thought.

II. The offending condition exposed (vv. 4-6)
1. The cry to both Ephraim and Judah is that their goodness is superficial – It is like the morning cloud and the early dew – it fades with the rising of the sun and
1) So, does ours as the Light of Christ our Lord shines upon it and so,
2) We are encouraged to seek to abide ever in the light not looking to other circumstances and other counsellors.
2. They had missed the message from of old – the desire of God was to show mercy and to know His people and to be known of them.
1) They had known of the mercy seat from the beginning and knew of the necessity of a substitute.
2) They knew of the relationship with the Lord enjoyed by the men of Old – Noah, Abraham, Moses and David and many others
3) They knew that there was more than mere attendance to ritual. And,
4) They had heard that lives answering to these things were to be the order of the day.
3. Not only would the Lord show mercy, it would produce the same (many translate mercy here as love and that is not inconsistent with the thought).
4. Great emphasis is here given in that our Lord refers to it: But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Matthew 9:13.

III. The offending condition continued (vv. 7-11)
1. The but here is a reversal of that which we often find of the bad thing to the left and the answer of our gracious God to the right.
2. The sins of Israel and the nature of them are often repeated and those involved assert themselves against God and His holiness!
3. As we can see, the conditions that were offensive to the Lord in that day are continuing in our own day.
1) This was written to Israel and Judah, but the Lord’s people must ever be vigilant and observant as depravity is consistent in it manifestations.
2) It is rather that we heed the words brought by another prophet: 6 Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? 7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? Micah 6:6-8.