Words of Worth

Paying Lip Service

March 27, 2017

Have you ever paid lip service to someone or been the recipient of it? You know how it works. It’s like when we say, “We do!” but then we don’t. Or we say, “We will!” but really we won’t.

It’s like what Israel did in the first three verses of Hosea chapter six. They told the Lord that they were going to return to Him. But then they didn’t. The told the Lord they would press on to know Him. But then they wouldn’t.
It all sounded good but it was empty promises.

So God says in Hosea 6:4: “What shall I do with you, O Ephraim? What shall I do with you, O Judah?” God did not ask this because He lacked the wisdom as to what to do. He knew, but He was heartbroken. And you know that question too, because you’ve probably asked it a time or two of someone you love, who has great promise but doesn’t deliver. Their head is consenting to something while their heart is dissenting. They’re good a paying lip service.

Israel paid God lip service. They said the right things about loving God, but He points out to them, “Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes early away” (Hosea 6:4b). Israel’s love is there, but it doesn’t stay very long and it doesn’t deliver. The morning cloud passes away and disappoints those who looked for rain from it to water the dry ground.

God tells them clearly what He wants: “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6). God doesn’t want lip service. He wants the hearts of His people.

He wants us to know Him intimately and to be fiercely devoted to Him.

“‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;’”
Matthew 15:8

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