Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: http://sothrichfield.podbean.com/
““Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” “What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah? Your love is like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears. Therefore I cut you in pieces with my prophets, I killed you with the words of my mouth— then my judgments go forth like the sun. For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”
In the Old Testament, the Israelites thought God would bless them as long as they did their “religious” duty of offering sacrifices in the temple. We do this, too. We think that by just going to church we have done our duty and we can do whatever we want the rest of the week. But God, over and over, demonstrates that formal religion is worthless without a daily life of goodness, mercy, righteousness, and justice. But the starting place for this new life is not us! It is Jesus, who on the “third day” restored us and gave us a new relationship with God! Today, ask God to forgive you and restore you to a good, godly and spiritual daily life.