Many of us may have a fairly long list of what we want and desire from God. God has wants, too. And everything that God wants is all and always for our very best, now and eternally.
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. – Hosea 6:6
Our God desires that we would live out every one of our relationships and encounters with other people with mercy filling us and flowing through us. God wants our lives to be marked by sincere, tangible, life-transforming, life-renewing, life-restoring, life-forgiving mercy.
Our God desires that each one of us would “love mercy” (Micah 6:8). And love mercy towards others more than we love and desire to be justified for the actions, even wrong actions, we choose to do. We are to love mercy more than we love and desire vengeance to be paid for the wrongs done against us.
Doing our “religious” acts and activities – even if those are good and right things – will mean nothing to our God…they will bring Him no joy…they will bring Him no pleasure if we lack authentic and active mercy for the women, men and children that walk with us on this earth.
If our sacrifices and burnt offerings or, more contemporarily, our tithes and gifts, our prayers and fasting, our studying of God’s Word and our acts of service do not come from a heart that humbly and honestly acknowledges our own desperate need for God’s mercy in our lives, then all of our “religious” acts and activities are empty and worthless. Our God wants mercy from us to others.
And our God wants to be acknowledged. God wants to be rightly and humbly honored, known and trusted by each one of us as His children and His image-bearers. Our God wants each of us to know and believe Him for who He is as the Giver, Sustainer, Redeemer and Deliverer of our lives, as our Messiah, the Resurrection and the Life, as our Help, our Hope, our Savior and our Sovereign Lord. As we humbly, fearfully and thankfully acknowledge God, and as we put our faith and trust in Him alone, this fulfills the desires of God’s heart, because “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6).
May each of us take a little more time today to actively and intentionally think about what our God wants and desires from us. May we each take time to focus on what pleases our God instead of pushing our wants and desires to the top of our God-please-give-me-that list. May each of us take time to lift our hearts and our minds to our God, acknowledging Him as the One who holds our very lives in His very loving and merciful nail-scarred hands.
May each of us take time to offer real, tangible, ongoing mercy to those who are desperate in their circumstances of poverty, of hunger, of loss, of broken minds and broken bodies. May each of us take time to offer real, tangible, ongoing mercy to those who are despicable in the ways they have caused our lives to be mired and muddied, broken and bleak.
May we live our lives filled and flowing with mercy towards all others. This is the best way we could ever acknowledge our God. This is the best way to give God what God wants!