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Grace Bible Chapel of Springfield, Illinois
|JULY 1, 2018
|JULY 8, 2018
|JULY 15, 2018
|JULY 22, 2018
|JULY 29, 2018
“But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice.” (Mt. 9:13)
God is far more interested in how we treat other people than in how many religious ceremonies we go
through. He prefers mercy to sacrifice. He places practical morality above ritual. It might seem strange to
read that God doesn’t desire sacrifice, because it was He who instituted the sacrificial system in the first
place. But there is no contradiction. While it is true that He ordered the people to bring sacrifices and
offerings, He never intended these to take the place of justice and kindness. “To do justice and
judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice” (Prov. 21:3)
The Old Testament prophets thundered out against people who observed all the proper rituals, yet who
cheated and oppressed their neighbors. Isaiah told them that God was fed up with their burnt offerings
and religious holidays as long as they oppressed the fatherless and widows (Isa. 1:10-17). He told them
that the fast God desired was to treat their employees fairly, to feed the hungry and clothe the poor (Isa.
58:6,7). Unless their lives were right, they might as well offer a dog’s head or swines’ blood (Isa. 66:3).
Amos told the people to stop their religious observances because God would continue to hate these
rituals until justice and mercy flowed like a mighty torrent (Amos 5:21-24). And Micah warned that what
God wants more than ritual is reality—the reality of fairness, justice, mercy and humility (Micah 6:6-8).
In our Lord’s day, the Pharisees earned His scorn by pretending to be religious with long, public prayers
while evicting widows from their homes (Mt. 23:14). They were careful to give God a tenth of the mint in
their garden, but this could never take the place of justice and faith (Mt. 23:23). It is futile for us to bring
our offering to the Lord if our brother has a valid grievance against us (Mt. 5:24); the gift is acceptable
only after the wrong has been righted. Attending church regularly will never serve as a cover-up for
dishonest business practices during the week. There is no use giving mother a box of chocolates on
Mother’s Day if we treat her hatefully during the year. Or a shirt to father on Father’s Day if we do not
show love and respect to him the rest of the time.
God is not fooled by externals or rituals. He sees the heart and our day-by-day behavior.
Below is a meditation written, by Mr. William MacDonald. 1917-2007
Mark Dossett will be the Speaker at our 11 A.M.
Family Bible Hour on Sunday, July 15, 2018.
Mark and his wife Karen are the parents of four
boys, ages 10 to 20. After serving as missionaries
in Vienna, Austria and working among Iranian and
Afghan refugees during fourteen years, Mark
currently is employed by State Farm in
Bloomington, Illinois where the family resides.