Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover

Read: Hosea 6:4-6

For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. (v. 6)

I love bookstores. I enjoy wandering the aisles, perusing book covers in search of one that looks like it would be a great story. Unfortunately, sometimes I find that while the cover was appealing, the actual content of the book left me disappointed.

In the same way, the Israelites’ “cover” did not always match what was inside their “book.” Their outward actions did not always match their inward thoughts. While they were busy making sacrifices and presenting burnt offerings to God, their hearts were far from God. In fact, in this passage from Hosea, God compares their love to the morning mist; dew that disappears. Their love was unsteady, inconsistent, and temporary. They believed their outward actions were what pleased God, but God told them it is their inward thoughts that matter to him. God desires their steadfast, unwavering, consistent love, not their sacrifice for him. God desires that they know him. This knowledge does not come from knowing about God, but can only come from an intimate, trust-filled relationship with him. This was the desire of God’s heart.

What are the burnt offerings that you present to God, believing that they will please him? While these actions may present a beautiful cover to the world, God is concerned with the content of your book—your unwavering love that comes from a relationship with him. —Kelly Slaybaugh

As you pray, tell the Lord that you seek to know him more so that you may love him with a steadfast heart.

About the Author

Kelly Slaybaugh lives in Wake Forest, North Carolina, is a student at Asbury Theological Seminary, and an “empty nester.” She loves connecting with God through nature and outdoor activities.