When you see a verse that starts with “therefore” or “instead” it’s time to investigate. Often the words prior to that are very important to set the context, and we must always learn the context in order to correctly understand the scripture.
In this passage in Amos, the previous three verses are crucial to understand the last one in context. Let’s look:
(God is speaking to Israel through Amos.)
“I hate all your show and pretense—
the hypocrisy of your religious
festivals and solemn assemblies. I
will not accept your burnt offerings
and grain offerings. I won’t even
notice all your choice peace
offerings. Away with your noisy
hymns of praise! I will not listen to
the music of your harps. Instead, I
want to see a mighty flood of
justice, an endless river of
Amos 5:21-24 NLT
God tells the people that all their dressing up for worship services doesn’t impress Him. He says the songs and sacrifices don’t either. He says the solemn law-following isn’t where it’s at.
He requires more of us.
See, anyone can carry out the legalistic machinations of church. Anyone can sing songs of worship and lift their hands in praise – all while their hearts harbor hate and their souls are blackened by sin.
Make no mistake, God says that sin separates us from Him. When we hold on to it unrepentant, we are choosing to remain separated from our Savior and King. We are choosing to worship self over God and no amount of cleaning up and singing and listening to sermons will correct that.
Our actions in response to the
scripture is what matters.
As a river past flood stage reaches out well beyond its banks, we are to reach out beyond our comfort zones to share justice. We are to live righteously, that is, in right standing before God, which means harboring no sin. Whew!
God is saying that our faith will be demonstrated through our transformed lives and our obedience to His words. Anything else is just noise to Him and He refuses it.
So what do we do with that?
Let’s open our hearts and our minds to God, asking Him to reveal to us any part that is not pleasing to Him. When He reveals that, let’s agree with Him that it’s pretty ugly and we don’t want to do that anymore. Then let’s rise from there, humbled that God showed us what was wrong between us and that He allowed our confession and repentance and now accepts that as our greatest worship.
THEN we can sing praises and offer sacrifices or our time, money, and lives and He will accept them.
THEN we please Him by living as an endless river of righteous living overflowing with mercy-filled justice, sharing truth as we live as messages to the world from God.
Shall we start that evaluation now?
Coffee, Bible, Journal.