January 5

Amos 5:21-24 21"I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. 22Even 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. 23Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. 24But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!

Amos was a shepherd that was called by God to prophesy to the nations. His ministry came during the height of Israel's prosperity under Jeroboam II. The prosperity of the people had caused them to forget God who had made them prosperous and given them the land.

In the above passage, we see that they went through the rituals in the Law. They even worshipped in song as David had instructed them; yet, they were oppressing the poor and perverting justice to maintain their lifestyle. Their religious ritual meant nothing if it did not affect their life. In fact, God said that He hated and couldn't stand it! Those are pretty harsh words. Can you imagine a preacher today saying these things to a congregation? There are surely many places in which it needs to be said.

If our religious routine does not affect our life, God detests that show of religion. It gives a detrimental witness to those who observe us. It misrepresents God. Let us all be careful to see that what we hear from God's word and what we sing in our services are a real part of our daily lives. Let justice roll on like a river and righteousness like a never-failing stream!

Prayer: Lord, forgive us where we have been hypocritical. Help us to worship with sincere hearts. Help us walk our talk.