God looks at the heart
I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings. But like Adam, you broke my covenant and betrayed my trust...Yes, I have seen something horrible in Ephraim and Israel: My people are defiled by prostituting themselves with other gods! Hosea 6:6-7, 10
God established a covenant to the Israelites but they kept on breaking the covenant. The Book of Hosea provided a description of the violations committed by the Israelites. In the book, Hosea was asked by God to marry a prostitute. The prostitute represented the Israelites for they “defiled by prostituting themselves with other gods!” They desired more to satisfy the longings of their idolatry rather than to please God. “Longing after idols has made them foolish. They have played the prostitute, serving other gods and deserting their God. They offer sacrifices to idols on the mountaintops. They go up into the hills to burn incense in the pleasant shade of oaks, poplars, and terebinth trees” (Hosea 4:12-13). Outwardly, they looked good because they continued to pretend that they wanted to please God with their burnt offerings. Yet God saw their hearts and what He saw from them was their disobedience. Superficial religious activity is not what God is longing from His followers. Going through the motions of being spiritual is not a substitute for true dedication to God. You can fool others but not God. “The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). Sacrifices and burnt offerings are part of your worship. They should be the result of your devotion to God and not as means to get closer to God. Learn from the experience of the Israelites and be careful not to go through the motions without the proper motives. “These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did, or worship idols as some of them did. As the Scriptures say, “The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry” (1 Corinthians 10:6-7).