Faye Bryant

Be just and righteous

The prophet Amos was sharing what God told him to say to the people of Israel. It seems they were either blatantly disregarding God’s laws or doing the necessary by rote with no heart involvement. (Anybody saying ‘ouch’ yet?)

I like Amos. He didn’t try to soften the message at all. He just said it straight out: God was tired of this mess.

There were those among the people who would say “If only the day of the Lord was here!”

God said they didn’t have a clue what they were asking for, that the day they wanted was one of death and destruction for them.

Could that be us? Praying for the return of the Lord, not understanding what that might mean for our favorite cashier at the market or the neighbor who brings us cookies? See, we see some of their actions, but we don’t know their hearts. That day might be death and destruction for them.

In the verses leading up to verse 24, God declares that He hates the people’s show and pretense. He hates the hypocrisy of their festivals and solemn assemblies. He refused to take their offerings or to listen to their noisy songs of praise.

Seems the people were doing the singing and festivals per instruction, but without love – for God or fellow man.

Does this fit us today? I mean, does God still point these things out to us today?

God said what He really wanted to see was a flood of justice and an endless river of righteousness.

Simply put:

He wanted His people to seek Him.

See, outside of Almighty God, there is only skewed, unbalanced justice. Without Him, there is no righteousness.

He had rescued Israel from so much, but their hearts would not remain in Him.

This should serve as a call from God to all who believe.

We must be careful not to follow our hearts – no matter what the world says. God says our hearts are deceitful. We must choose to navigate life with our focus on Him alone.

We must seek to be just in all our affairs. That’s different from “fair.” Justice requires adhering to an immovable, unchanging standard. That would be God alone. When we measure us and those around us to Him, we realize we all fall short and that His Grace is necessary.

We must be about His business in the world around us. That cashier, that neighbor, that family member – they all need to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Sure we get sick and tired of the evil we see in our world, but to hope and pray for the Day of the Lord – the Day of Judgment – is to pray for the destruction of those who do not know Him. Be careful.

Let’s examine us today. Is there any faith discipline that you’re approaching without your full heart-attention? Are you praying because you have to? Are you reading scripture to tick off the box on your checklist?

If there is anything about your faith that you’re doing outside a true seeking of the Lord and His will, it’s time to change that. Just stop it. Choose to be fully present in your prayer time. Be expectant as you read the Word. Do everything as though God Himself was standing there and you’re doing it for Him.

It’s time.

Coffee, Bible, Journal.