Relationship, Not Pretense Warnings From Amos
Amos 5: 21-24 "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 righteous living.
It can sometimes be human nature to be lazy through complacency. We can achieve a certain level and settle in. We can become used to the surroundings and start to lose the passion we once had. We see it happen in marriages all the time. People get used to each other and then start to take each other for granted. The comfort level we attain begins to erode the fervor we once had that helped us attain that level. We see it happen in our employment. When first hired we can set out to prove ourselves. We might work extra hard, longer hours, or anything that can set us apart from everyone else. We strive harder to make a lasting impression. Then, once we have arrived at a certain level, we can begin to slack off. We can take for granted that which we used to work so hard for. We can cut corners here or there; where we know we won't get caught.
And so it can go in our Christian walks as well. We can start out on fire for God. We were going to serve in every ministry, read the Bible in a year, seek God constantly, and perpetually work on our spiritual growth. And God answers. He prospers us and takes us to a new level in Christ. And if we are not careful, we can become complacent and settle in. We can stop striving for the next level God has for us. We can become spiritually lazy. We can make excuses for not attending prayer service, not tithing correctly, or not keeping up with our Bible reading. Our prayer life can begin to wither. The power of God lessens in our life. We raise our hands on Sunday but spend the week in desperate need of the presence of God in our lives.
So it was in the days of the Prophet Amos. A simple farmer
and herder, Amos found himself called by God to preach to the Northern Kingdom
of Israel during the reign of King Jeroboam II of Israel and King Uzziah of
Judah. Forty years earlier, at the end of his ministry, the Prophet Elisha prophesied
a great resurgence of
This is what the LORD says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place. Jeremiah 22:3
There are over 300 verses in the Bible dealing with the poor
and social justice. After salvation, it is the dominant theme.
Have we become
Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless. Isaiah 10: 1-2