by Neal Bowes
Amos 5:21-23 (CEB)
21 I hate, I reject your festivals; I don’t enjoy your joyous assemblies. 22If you bring me your entirely burned offerings and gifts of food— I won’t be pleased; I won’t even look at your offerings of well-fed animals. 23Take away the noise of your songs; I won’t listen to the melody of your harps.
The people of Amos’s time were just “going through the motions.” God had commanded the Israelites to celebrate certain important things. For example, they were to hold a festival every year to celebrate the Passover, when God led them out of captivity in Egypt and into freedom in their own land. It was to be an annual celebration so that people would never forget God’s blessings.
But over time, the celebration lost its meaning, and people were doing it just for the sake of the party. They weren’t remembering the real reason behind the festival.
This passage is really clear. God isn’t terribly impressed with the things we do at church, if our heart isn’t in them…if we’re just going through the motions and not honoring God. God doesn’t want “lip service” from us. God wants a real, committed relationship—one where we spend time with God every day, praying and reading the Bible. This not only pleases God, but it benefits us, too. It helps us to know God better. It helps us to understand God’s commandments better. It makes our lives better. It’s great you’re already reading your devos today! Is there more you can do to strengthen your relationship with God?
If today’s devotion spoke to you in a particular way and you feel led to share your thoughts with others, please do so.