ホセア 6:6 わたしは誠実を喜ぶが、いけにえは喜ばない。全焼のいけにえより、むしろ神を知ることを喜ぶ。

There is a very interesting difference in translation in this verse that is common to verse 4. The English for verse 4 speaks of “your love,” and in this verse it says “I desire mercy.” However, the Japanese uses “faithfulness” in both those locations. I don't know Hebrew, but faithfulness certainly seems to fit the context. The point is that God desires continuing commitment; neither passing emotion nor ritualized observance move Him at all. The first three verses of this chapter are a very beautiful statement of returning to God, but the point is that God wants more than words, however beautiful and true those words might be. Words are important, and the Bible speaks in many places of bringing words to God, offering the sacrifices of our lips. However, for those words to have real value they must be from the heart, backed up with actions. The life of a disciple of Christ isn't a 50 meter dash, it's a marathon. The value of our commitment, and our words, is demonstrated in the long haul.

4 節に通じるこの節には興味深い訳の違いが見られます。英語の4節では「あなたの愛」となっていますが、ここでは「あなたの憐れみを望む」となっています。しかし、日本語では「誠実」という言葉が使われています。私はヘブル語は分かりませんが、誠実という語がここでは文脈から言ってもしっくりくるのではないでしょうか。大切なのは、神は常に献身を求めておられることです。感情的なものや、儀式的な行いで神様は全く喜ばれません。この章の最初の3節は神に立ち返ることが書いてあるとても美しい表現です。しかし、神は、言葉がどんなに美しく、真実のようであっても、言葉以上の物を望んでおられます。言葉は大切ですが、聖書には神への言葉が多く書かれていますが、真に価値ある言葉は、心から出てくるもので、行動によって裏づけられなくてはなりません。キリストの弟子の生き方は、50メートル全力疾走したのではなく、長距離走でした。私たちの献身の価値、言葉は長期間、続くべきなのです。

In some ways this is an uncomfortable truth for me, because I am a man of words, a wordsmith, so to speak. That is how God made and gifted me, and I am not to devalue it, but I must be doubly careful that my service and obedience to God doesn't stop with words. With my gift set, I tend to feel that once I've said something, that's the end of it, when that's not the case at all. Not only do I have to live out the truth I speak, I've got to communicate it in practical, applicable ways, rather than in the abstract. Whereas it is true that believing and confessing brings salvation (Romans 10:9), American Christianity has done a great disservice by focusing on getting people to say a little formula and then declaring them “saved.” No confession of Christ is to be discounted, and every spiritual journey has its ups and downs. But as the English proverb says, the proof of a pudding is in the eating. We've got to live out our confession of Christ. As a pastor, and particular as a missionary pastor, I've got to be careful to help people understand what it is they're confessing and committing to, so they won't be left half-born, spiritually speaking.


Father, this is a deep, on-going concern, for this church and really for every church. I ask for wisdom and sensitivity in dealing with each individual, because no two people are identical. Keep me from being formulaic. Keep me also from being a legalistic taskmaster. Rather, help me be an encourager, nurturing the sheep of Your flock, providing food and teaching them how to eat, being careful that their water supply is clean and abundant, so that they may grow to be all that You desire and intend, in all faithfulness, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


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