Thursday, July 23, 2015

Amos 5:21-24 -- On Righteousness and Acceptable Offerings

"I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.
Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts.
Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.
But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream."
Amos 5:21-24

This is an interesting passage, and I think that it speaks to us today.  We don't offer animal sacrifices anymore, but we still do a lot of vain things with regard to the Lord.  God is saying that he doesn't want insincere and empty feasts and speeches and offerings.  He doesn't want us to sing his praise and then turn around and support injustice.  Instead, he wants righteousness and kindness and equity.  Like Hosea 6:6: "For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice."
Sacrifice isn't an inherently bad thing.  It is still something that God wants us to learn.  How to sacrifice our own desires for God's desires, and how to put other people's needs before our own.  But sacrifice is in place to teach us love and obedience.  It isn't the end product, or valuable by itself.  If we sacrifice with no goal in mind, it is just suffering, just as animal sacrifice without the lesson pointing to the sacrifice of God's son was just burnt meat.
Today, Let's show our dedication to God with our righteousness, and by treating others with fairness and equity.  Let's let our sacrifices teach us to love and to serve.  And when our hearts are in the right place, then the Lord will accept our offerings, and our songs. :)

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