Image retrieved 6/12/2020 from: https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=328642&picture=single-candle-in-dark-background
God’s has a disturbing indictment: “I hate, I despise your religious festivals. Your assemblies are a stench to me… away with the noise of your songs…”
“This is what the Lord says:
“Seek me and live;
There are those who turn justice into bitterness
and cast righteousness to the ground.
There are those who hate the one who upholds justice in court
and detest the one who tells the truth.
You levy a straw tax on the poor
and impose a tax on their grain.
Therefore, though you have built stone mansions,
you will not live in them;
though you have planted lush vineyards,
you will not drink their wine.
For I know how many are your offenses
and how great your sins.
There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes
and deprive the poor of justice in the courts.
Seek good, not evil,
that you may live.
Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you,
just as you say he is.
Hate evil, love good;
maintain justice in the courts…
Therefore this is what the Lord, the Lord God Almighty, says:
“There will be wailing in all the streets
and cries of anguish in every public square.
The farmers will be summoned to weep
and the mourners to wail.
There will be wailing in all the vineyards,
for I will pass through your midst,”
says the Lord.
“I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
your assemblies are a stench to me.
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.
Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!”
Amos 5:4, 7, 9-12, 14, 15a, 16, 21-24
“He has shown you oh mortal, what is good and what the Lord requires of you: to love justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
Jesus lover, do what he did:
- Feel your pain. Acknowledge it. Hold it. Experience it.
- Flee to your Father for comfort. He’s expecting you. Dodge the distractions. Don’t allow them into your heart. Their goal is to further distance you from intimacy with God at a crucial time. God alone can truly comfort you. He cares.
- Despite your pain or current weakness, see the crowd. Wake up. Pay attention. Notice what’s going on. Engage. Take off your blinders.
- Have compassion. Notice their need. Put yourself in their shoes. Walk a mile in their shoes. Nurture mercy.
- Look up to God, your source of strength. Apart from him you can do no good thing.
- Look around and identify what you already have. What ‘loaves and fishes” did you bring for lunch (see part 2)? Offer them to him. He will give thanks and a miracle with ensue.
- He’ll hand it back to you and you will hand, and hand, and hand it out. They are hungry. Feed them. “If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their needs, what good is it?” James 2:16.
Father, please challenge us to please you. We desire to be people of justice and people of righteousness. We need your help.