Hos 6:6 For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
Jesus quotes this verse twice (Mt 9:13, 12:7). Christians frequently quote this verse, though sometimes they take it out of context to justify selfishness. This bit of profound wisdom puts into simply language what God has always desired of His creation. God wants us to know Him. He wants us to come to Him, to rely on Him, and to willingly submit to Him as our rightful master. All creation is already His, so sacrifice is not a practical way of giving God anything. God’s nature is love. By loving Him and loving others we express His character. By expressing God’s character we experience God. To know God personally and intimately ideally includes at least a degree of intellectual knowledge about Him, but it must include experiencing persistent, pervasive love in the form of a life lived in joyful surrender to the Lord. In proper context, this verse also restates and amplifies God’s desire that our love be constant. It is easy to love for a season, but real love must endure difficulties that the human heart does not easily abide. Enduring love is worth infinitely more than any one-time gift. For us to receive God experientially through divine revelation is worth infinitely more to Him than any gift we could attempt to offer.