Scripture

Amos 5:18-27

18 Woe to you who long

    for the day of the Lord!

Why do you long for the day of the Lord?

    That day will be darkness, not light.

19 It will be as though a man fled from a lion

    only to meet a bear,

as though he entered his house

    and rested his hand on the wall

    only to have a snake bite him.

20 Will not the day of the Lord be darkness, not light—

    pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?

 

21 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals;

    your assemblies are a stench to me.

22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,

    I will not accept them.

Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,

    I will have no regard for them.

23 Away with the noise of your songs!

    I will not listen to the music of your harps.

24 But let justice roll on like a river,

    righteousness like a never-failing stream!

 

25 “Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings

    forty years in the wilderness, people of Israel?

26 You have lifted up the shrine of your king,

    the pedestal of your idols,

    the star of your god—

    which you made for yourselves.

27 Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Damascus,”

    says the Lord, whose name is God Almighty.

Reflection

Singer/Songwriter, Jon Foreman, writes, 

“I hate all your show and pretense

The hypocrisy of your praise

The hypocrisy of your festivals

I hate all your show

Away with your noisy worship

Away with your noisy hymns

I stomp on my ears when you're singing 'em

I hate all your show

Instead let there be a flood of justice

An endless procession of righteous living, living

Instead let there be a flood of justice

Instead of a show” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UihssQZoUd4). 

This song is his own meditation and reflection on this passage from the prophet Amos. The prophet Isaiah shares the word of the Lord in a similar way when he says, “The Lord says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught’” (Isaiah 29:13). Author Brennan Manning adds, “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” 

God isn’t pleased with insincere worship. We can’t fool Him with our game of charades where we pretend to be pious but our hearts are hard. When righteousness and justice are not obvious values and characteristics of the body of Christ, woe to us! When we bring our offerings as a means to cover up the dominating idols in our life, woe to us! May our lives emanate the heart of worship where it’s all about Jesus. We all need to acknowledge and confess when we don’t bring ourselves fully to God. I love the simple, confessional nature of this song below. I want to encourage us today to take some time before the Lord in prayer and confess when we’ve held back from God. Where are we trying to hide from God like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? Where are we making excuses to not live righteously? 

I'm sorry when I've just gone through the motions

I'm sorry when I just sang another song

Take me back to where we started

I open up my heart to You

 

I'm sorry when I've come with my agenda

I'm sorry when I forgot that You're enough

Take me back to where we started

I open up my heart to You” (Nothing Else by Cody Carnes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BhTAJ49MQ0).     

Prayer

“God, we thank you for the inspiration of Jesus. Grant that we will love you with all our hearts, souls, and minds, and love our neighbors as we love ourselves, even our enemy neighbors. And we ask you, God, in these days of emotional tension, when the problems of the world are gigantic in extent and chaotic in detail, to be with us in our going out and our coming in, in our rising up and in our lying down, in our moments of joy and in our moments of sorrow, until the day when there shall be no sunset and no dawn. Amen.” ---Martin Luther King, Jr.