WHAT OF THAT DAY?
Lord, place within each of us a properly motivated heart with which to worship You.
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.
Which is your favorite worship song? Meditate on it now.
In Amos’s day, most people who counted for anything would have felt they were enjoying God’s favor and that their good life was secure—but it was an ill-placed confidence. Because of their past experience of God as a warrior fighting for them, Israel’s misguided belief was that “the day of the Lord” (18) would produce the final destruction of all her enemies. Amos turns the tables and declares that the day Israel is yearning for will result in not the doom of her enemies but her own doom and that darkness, suffering, and exile lay ahead (18–20).
What do we understand by “the day of the Lord” for us today? Is it Jesus’ second coming? Do we desire that? If so, why do we desire it? Will it live up to our expectations, or might we be shocked to realize that we too have fallen short of God’s requirements of us?
It was Israel’s worship that her false idea of the day materialized. Now, in rather caustic language, God dissociates himself from their worship. He cannot stomach the stench or sight of it, as they pollute it so flagrantly. Scrap the songs and harps (23)! How unlike Psalm 33:1–3, where their use is encouraged in true worship!
Water is essential for life; verse 24 underlines how vital justice and righteousness are in the believer’s lifestyle. We cannot love God if we do not love our neighbors—and not just those we feel comfortable with! Whoever would truly serve God must be concerned for the rights and welfare of all his people.
How much of contemporary worship do think would fall within the scope of God’s disfavor? How much of our service to God’s people would fall within God’s favor?
Holy Spirit, implant within me a renewed spirit of self-discipline and generosity.