Today’s devotion from Amos 5-6. For the believer, the Day of the Lord should be something for which we long. That isn’t the case for those awaiting His wrath and judgment. His people had turned their hearts to the point that their relationship with Him was broken. So broken, in fact, that God was repulsed by their acts of worship.
Did you catch that?
“He said, ‘I hate, I despise, your feasts! I can’t stand the stench of your solemn assemblies. 22 Even if you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; I will have no regard for your fellowship offerings of fattened cattle. 23 Take away from me the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.’” (Amos 5:21-23, CSB)
God thouroughly detests their religious acts, from the jubilant celebrations meant to demonstrate thankfulness to their solemn assemblies intended to display their reverence for Him. He wanted nothing to do with their offerings. Their songs of “praise” were noise to Him. Why? Was it due to their idolatrous acts? Not necessarily. In reality, it was because there was a drought of justice in the land. The people were ruled by greed, and, in turn, they failed to honor God by caring for others.
These verses illustrate the heart of Amos’ message to the people. God doesn’t want people to go to church, sing their songs, and live their lives. He longs for people who live their faith in real and practical ways in the lives of others. What is more, those who put forward the pretense will miss the heart of God’s Word. But, those who embrace the underlying truths at the foundation of God’s decrees will both honor Him in their interactions with others and with their genuine acts of worship.
Today isn’t about being obligated to perform the right actions, but the freedom to embrace the right priorities. His priorities. What we see is that our God cares more about people than practices.