For when I brought your forefathers out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you.
Nothing wrong with rituals. I at times enjoy having going through a church service that is very ritualistic. The Israelites seem to have got that part down also, but as time goes on, it seems that the Israelites tend to forget that following God is more than just doing the rituals and going through the motions. He desires here that the Israelites actually walk the walk. His true desire is that He wants is for them to obey. He wants them to walk in obedience to Him. Offerings and sacrifices are just part of the equation The rest of it is that very important command: "Obey Me".
I have, in times, put God in a box. I separated "rituals and sacrifices" from obedience. I live my week as how I see fit then, on Sunday I go to church. I sing the right songs, listen to the message, do the normal things all other church people do. Then during the week live the way I want usually with no input from Him. But what God calls us to do is to be engulfed by His love, to be whole heartedly on fire for Him. The struggle is that we all have, like the Israelites, is that it's easy to do the rituals and sacrifice. It gives you a sense of accomplishment after where you can say, "I'm done." Done with my duties, something I can check off my "To Do" list. But that is not the heart God desires. Being close to Him requires more than just going to church on Sunday, but to have an active fellowship with Him. It includes getting to know Him through His word, to be in constant contact with Him through daily prayer, and most importantly doing what He says. I must constantly remind myself that the "rituals and sacrifices" of today are only part of the equations. The most important is to follow His commands from His word, to love others and to be in humble spirit towards Him. That is what He wants.
Thank you Lord for the reminder that Your desire for us goes beyond the rituals, but to be in whole hearted obedience to You.