Draw me close to Your heart today, my God.
Read Amos 5:18–27
The Day of the Lord
18 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.
19 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.
20 Will not the day of the Lord be darkness, not light—
pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?
21 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
your assemblies are a stench to me.
22 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.
23 Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
24 But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!
25 “Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings
forty years in the wilderness, people of Israel?
26 You have lifted up the shrine of your king,
the pedestal of your idols,
the star of your god—
which you made for yourselves.
27 Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Damascus,”
says the Lord, whose name is God Almighty.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectImagine being God. How would you feel about religious activity from people who despised you and worshipped other gods?
The people of Israel paid lip service to their God. Underneath all their religious ritual there were hearts that were unfaithful to God and that loved other gods instead. God was not impressed. They might talk about the “Day of the Lord,” that is, the future time when God would step in and intervene in their situation. But contrary to their false hope of deliverance, Amos says that that day will mean only greater suffering and exile. It would be like escaping the problems of this world only to be taken out by the problems of the next. Amos described it as escaping a lion only to meet a bear: a horrible fate.
In the midst of this message of accusation there is a personal invitation. In verses 23 and 24, Amos switches to a single-person verb and so invites individuals to put away their empty worship and to let God-pleasing justice roll out in their lives. Again, the message is bleak for the nation, but there is hope for the responsive individual.
Are you living a religion or a relationship? Is it all about doing the “right” things, or is it about pleasing your Father? Take time for a heart-check today.
Heavenly Father, stir in me a heart that genuinely lives for You and that reﬂects Your character.