This is what the Lord says to Israel:
“Seek me and live;
do not seek Bethel,
do not go to Gilgal,
do not journey to Beersheba.
For Gilgal will surely go into exile,
and Bethel will be reduced to nothing.[a]”
Seek the Lord and live,
or he will sweep through the tribes of Joseph like a fire;
it will devour them,
and Bethel will have no one to quench it.
There are those who turn justice into bitterness
and cast righteousness to the ground.
He who made the Pleiades and Orion,
who turns midnight into dawn
and darkens day into night,
who calls for the waters of the sea
and pours them out over the face of the land—
the Lord is his name.
With a blinding flash he destroys the stronghold
and brings the fortified city to ruin.
There are those who hate the one who upholds justice in court
and detest the one who tells the truth.
You levy a straw tax on the poor
and impose a tax on their grain.
Therefore, though you have built stone mansions,
you will not live in them;
though you have planted lush vineyards,
you will not drink their wine.
For I know how many are your offenses
and how great your sins.
There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes
and deprive the poor of justice in the courts.
Therefore the prudent keep quiet in such times,
for the times are evil.
Seek good, not evil,
that you may live.
Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you,
just as you say he is.
Hate evil, love good;
maintain justice in the courts.
Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy
on the remnant of Joseph.
Therefore this is what the Lord, the Lord God Almighty, says:
“There will be wailing in all the streets
and cries of anguish in every public square.
The farmers will be summoned to weep
and the mourners to wail.
There will be wailing in all the vineyards,
for I will pass through your midst,”
says the Lord.
The Day of the Lord.
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.
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.
Will not the day of the Lord be darkness, not light—
pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?
“I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
your assemblies are a stench to me.
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.
Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!
This passage of Scripture clearly declares God’s judgment against the nation for rebelling against God and His commands. We see here a record of God’s past calls to the people to repent. He had appealed to them to seek Him and live. Yet, they refused, hating all that was righteous and anything that reminded them of God and His holiness. As a result of their rejection of God, they oppressed the poor. As a result of this defiance, God would judge them according to their actions. Because they loved evil more than they loved good, God would reject their attempts at worship. Their burnt offerings would become an awful stench in God’s nose. In verse 24, the prophet writes, “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream.” Israel had rejected God’s justice and righteousness. Therefore, God rejected their insincere attempts at worship. Amos then likened God’s justice and righteousness to a stream that never dries up. The thought here is that just as plant- and animal-life flourish where there is water, so human life flourishes where there is justice and righteousness.
God’s Word allows us to examine the past and His dealings with His people. From this text, we learn that true worship involves more than just singing and offerings. True worship involves living out God’s justice and righteousness in a world that is hostile toward Him. True worship is about reflecting God’s character in everything we say and do. If we harbor any prejudice in our heart toward others, we are not reflecting the heart of God. If we do not stand up against injustice, we are not reflecting the heart of God. God’s justice and righteousness are prerequisites to authentic worship. Jesus put it this way, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is a spirit, and His worshippers must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).
Questions to Ponder:
Do you reflect God’s character in everything you say and do? Is your worship of the Father consistent with His values of justice and righteousness? Is there anything hindering your worship of God today? If so, are you willing to repent and ask God for forgiveness? Are you able to worship the Father in spirit and in truth?
- Praise Father for being God who is just and righteous. Bless His name.
- Confess times when you might have loved evil more than God. Confess any conversations, thoughts, or actions that are contradictory to Father. Confess watching programs, movies, shows, listening to music, playing games, engaging in social media, that grieve the Holy Spirit and are harmful to others.
- Praise God for people like David in the bible who was considered a man after God’s own heart even though he was a murderer and adulterer. He didn’t run from God while in his sin, but ran right to God. Pray that the flock at Oak Pointe will always know we need to continue to turn to the LORD even in our mistakes and sin.
Holy Father, You are my God. Help me Lord today and this week to reflect You to those around me. I ask that the meditations of my mind and heart would be pleasing to You. I ask that You stretch out Your right hand and touch my heart. Mark my words and actions so that what I speak would minister to all those I meet. Grant me a word to sustain those who are weary and oppressed. Grant me favor with You and those I meet today that there may be mutual edification in Your Presence. Lead me LORD by Your Holy Spirit to people who are in need. Let Your love overflow in and through me today and compel me to action. Show me how to pray, how to serve, how to love like You. I need You and Your help! In the Name of Jesus Christ, I ask. Amen.