I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen (Amos 5:21-23).
Among six key themes (from ESV Global Study Bible) of the book of Amos, two stands out for me (1) Justice and righteousness in the treatment of other people are the key evidences of a right relationship to the Lord. (2) Religious observances in the absence of social justice are disgusting to God.¹ I find these two key themes present in the verses above.
Today, many profess faith but their profession contradicts their conduct and treatment of one another. Many politicians call on the name of the Lord but they pervert justice and are corrupt. Could it be possible that God has rejected many gatherings supposedly assembled in the name of God? Could it be that God has turned his ears away from our worship and considers many a congregations singing noise yet they haven’t discerned it?
How would we know if our worship is acceptable to God? I believe the answer is in the next verse: “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos vv.24).
Where our life is not marked by justice and righteousness—a right treatment of one another and right conduct; our salvation may be questionable. Our Lord commands us to love one another and to not love the world (1Jn. 2:9-17). Paul says “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing (1cor. 13:1-2).
You see, our faith and conduct are inseparable. If we have faith, it must show in our conduct: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves”!(Ja. 1:22).