In Hosea, we read about the Israelites who were religious in practice, but far from God in their hearts. Their worship and sacrifices were like a mist that dissipates quickly into nothingness. They thought to appease God, but they were ignorant and unrepentant. What does the Father say?
Hosea 6:6, “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”
Jesus points out the same problem with religious people and systems of His day and time.
Matthew 9:13, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Matthew 5: 23-24, “…if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”
The Father desires real relationship, not religious activity. He desires mercy, compassion, and forgiveness from the heart displayed in the behavior of His people. And it involves speaking the truth in love so that the sinner might be saved, so that the unrighteous may be made righteous in Him and His truth! He is more interested in the character of people than in their sacrifices.
It is no different today. Christianity can become just a choice of religion. What is really needed is to be a believer and follower of Jesus/Yeshua…in loving relationship with Him and in mercy, compassion, and truth with others.
“Blessed are the merciful for they will attain mercy.” Matthew 5:7