WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JUNE 13, 2022
TOPIC: WHAT GOD DESIRES
BY T.O. BANSO
“But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless” (Matthew 12:7 New King James Version).
The Apostle Paul says that no one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier (2 Timothy 2:4). In other words, a soldier seeks to please the officer who enlisted him and not himself or somebody else. Paul says his aim was to please God always, whether he was in the body or away from it (2 Corinthians 5:9).
In verse 3 of 2 Timothy 2, Paul referred to Timothy as a good soldier of Christ Jesus and told him to endure hardship. By inference, ministers of God and, indeed, all Christians, are soldiers of Christ and should seek to please God who has enlisted us into His army.
To please Him, we must be aware of what He desires from us. We should do what He desires, not what we or other persons desire. A student who wants to pass an examination will write what the examiner expects from him, not what he likes.
The Bible tells us what God desires from human beings. Those who want to please Him should study and line up their lives with what He desires. It will be helpful to take note of the following things God desires:
1. God desires that everyone should be saved. The salvation of sinners is God’s number one priority. It is God’s desire that everyone should be saved. 1 Timothy 2:4b says God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. He does not desire the death of sinners.
Ezekiel 33:11 says, “Say to them, Thus saith the Lord; As I live, I desire not the death of the ungodly, as that the ungodly should turn from his way and live: turn ye heartily from your way; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Brenton Septuagint Translation). The phrase “desire not the death of” in this scripture is rendered in other translations as “have no pleasure in the death of” or “take no pleasure in the death of.”
God desires that everyone should be saved. 2 Peter 3:9b says God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. To make that possible, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for the sins of the world. Whoever believes in Him will be saved. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:14-16 New King James Version). If you have not accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, do so now before it is too late.
2. God desires obedience or doing His will. Many people do every other thing except what God has asked them to do or what He desires. Such people do not please Him.
God desires that you obey Him or do His will. He abhors and punishes disobedience. Obedience is better than sacrifice. “So Samuel said: ‘Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king” (1 Samuel 15:22-23 New King James Version).
David said in Psalm 40:6-8, “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; My ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require. Then I said, ‘Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart’” (New King James Version). As Jesus taught His disciples to pray, God’s will must be done on earth, as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). You must not only pray this; you should do it.
3. God desires mercy, righteousness, and justice. God prefers mercy, righteousness, and justice to religious activities or rituals. Sacrifices or offerings mean nothing to God when mercy, righteousness, and justice are neglected. “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8 New King James Version).
The LORD said in Hosea 6:6, “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (New King James Version). Jesus referred to this scripture in Matthew 9:13, saying, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (New King James Version).
Similarly, He said in Matthew 12:7, “But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless” (New King James Version). Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy (Matthew 5:7). Whoever has not shown mercy to others will be judged without mercy (James 2:13a).
Many people would rather offer sacrifices to the God they have not seen than show mercy to a fellow human being they can see or do justice to them. This is not acceptable to God. “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice” (Proverbs 21:3 New King James Version).
The LORD does not desire sacrifices from people who neglect mercy, righteousness, and justice. Such sacrifices are useless. He told the people of Judah through the Prophet Isaiah, “‘To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?’ Says the LORD. ‘I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, Or of lambs or goats’” (Isaiah 1:11 New King James Version).
The LORD continued His rejection of their sacrifices in verses 12-15, “When you come to appear before Me, Who has required this from your hand, to trample My courts? Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies — I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood” (New King James Version).
Hear what the LORD told them to do instead: “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:16-17 New King James Version). Don’t offer to God the sacrifice of fools (Ecclesiastes 5:1). Pursue mercy, righteousness, and justice.
4. God desires truth. Truthfulness is the nature of God. God is truth. His Word is truth (Psalm 119:160; John 17:17). God cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18; Titus 1:2). Therefore, He desires truthfulness in the heart. He desires that we should be upright, sincere, and pure in heart. His children should emulate Him. “Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom” (Psalm 51:6 New King James Version).
5. God desires a broken spirit and a contrite heart. Psalm 51:16-17 says, “For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart — These, O God, You will not despise” (New King James Version). The Amplified Bible explains a broken and a contrite heart as a heart that is “broken with sorrow for sin, thoroughly penitent.” In other words, God desires genuine repentance. A truly repentant heart is more valuable and acceptable to God than a burnt offering.
Psalm 34:18 says the LORD is near to those who have a broken heart and saves such as have a contrite spirit. He dwells in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones (Isaiah 57:15). The LORD says in Isaiah 66:2b that He will look on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at His word. He will forgive whoever genuinely repents. If you confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive you your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
6. God desires to dwell with and in His children. In the Old Testament, the LORD chose Zion as His dwelling place for the Israelites. “For the LORD has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place: ‘This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it. I will abundantly bless her provision; I will satisfy her poor with bread. I will also clothe her priests with salvation, and her saints shall shout aloud for joy’” (Psalm 132:13-16 New King James Version).
However, when Jesus was born, God came down to dwell on the earth. One of the names of Jesus is Immanuel, which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). John 1:14a says the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. According to Jesus, where two or three are gathered together in His name, He is there in their midst (Matthew 18:20). He also says in Matthew 28:20 that He is with us always, even to the end of the age.
Talking about the new Jerusalem, Revelation 21:3-4 says, “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (New King James Version).
Even in the present dispensation, God’s desire is to be with His children. However, God is not only with us He is dwelling in us. Believers are the temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in us (1 Corinthians 3:16). Verse 17 says, “If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are” (New King James Version). God dwells in you; don’t defile your body. Therefore, present your body as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service (Romans 12:1).
The Bible has told you what God desires. Do what He desires from you.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to do what God desires. In the name of Jesus, I shall pursue mercy, righteousness, and justice and not promote sacrifice above them. I shall obey God rather than offer the sacrifice of fools in Jesus’ name. Holy Spirit, convict sinners and let them come to God with a broken and repentant heart.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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