Amos 5:21-24 (NASB95)
21 “I hate, I reject your festivals, Nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. 22 “Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings. 23 “Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps. 24 “But let justice roll down like waters And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
When we talk about worship, it is important to understand Whose Worship it is that we are discussing. In fact, we must understand Whose Worship it is that we are acknowledging.
Last week we talked about the fact that we were created to worship God. Everything we do, we do in worship to Him; it is why He created us.
Yet, whose is it?
In this morning’s passage we see worship unaccepted; in fact despised.
Why? Aren’t the people worshiping God?
This leads us to ask ourselves the question: “Who has the right to determine when worship is good?”
In the minds, and hearts of the people of the nation they, more than likely deemed their worship to be good. Yet, to the Lord is was unpleasing.
This was not the first time in the Scriptures the Lord made this indictment against the people. The words spoken here to the prophet are similarly spoken in Isaiah 1:10-15 (NASB95)
10 Hear the word of the Lord, You rulers of Sodom; Give ear to the instruction of our God, You people of Gomorrah. 11 “What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?” Says the Lord. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle; And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats. 12 “When you come to appear before Me, Who requires of you this trampling of My courts? 13 “Bring your worthless offerings no longer, Incense is an abomination to Me. New moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies— I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly. 14 “I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts, They have become a burden to Me; I am weary of bearing them. 15 “So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; Yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood.
The Worship does not glorify God, but man.
v Festivals and assemblies
Ø Yahweh detested the gathering together of the people because He was not the focus of their gatherings
Ø He did not call the church to become a group who gathers together in order to get lost in our gathering
§ 15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits. 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ - Matthew 7:15-23 (NASB95)
§ One commentator refers to this section of Scripture as “The Insufficiency of the Charismata.”
· There word translated lawlessness is appropriate here, as Matthew’s view is that those who perform such miracles continue to sin in violation of the will of the Father.
· Neither good, important words (“Lord, Lord”) nor good, random deeds of mercy (e.g., casting out demons) can substitute for the full picture of righteousness the evangelist has given in the sermon. Religion can never take the place of actual obedience to the teaching of Jesus.
v Offerings and sacrifices
Ø Yahweh detested the offerings of the people because He was not the focus of their offerings
Ø He does not need our offerings and sacrifices in order to exist.
§ 10 Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel, saying, 11 “I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following Me and has not carried out My commands.” And Samuel was distressed and cried out to the Lord all night. 12 Samuel rose early in the morning to meet Saul; and it was told Samuel, saying, “Saul came to Carmel, and behold, he set up a monument for himself, then turned and proceeded on down to Gilgal.” 13 Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed are you of the Lord! I have carried out the command of the Lord.” 14 But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” 15 Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; but the rest we have utterly destroyed.” 16 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Wait, and let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.” And he said to him, “Speak!” 17 Samuel said, “Is it not true, though you were little in your own eyes, you were made the head of the tribes of Israel? And the Lord anointed you king over Israel, 18 and the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are exterminated.’ 19 “Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord, but rushed upon the spoil and did what was evil in the sight of the Lord?” 20 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I did obey the voice of the Lord, and went on the mission on which the Lord sent me, and have brought back Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. 21 “But the people took some of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the choicest of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God at Gilgal.” 22 Samuel said, “Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. 23 “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has also rejected you from being king.” - 1 Samuel 15:10-23 (NASB95)
· The thought of obedience being better than sacrifice is one the occurs throughout prophetic scriptures, and is stated by the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Amos and Micah, as well as by Jesus in Mark 12:28-34.
· Unlike Saul, whom the Lord chose to reject and ignore his plea for forgiveness [vs. 24-26], God will forgive the truly repentant.
v Music and song
Ø Yahweh detested the songs of the people because He was not the focus of their singing
Ø He does not need our man-made music and worship
§ 10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved; He will judge the peoples with equity.” 11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; Let the sea roar, and all it contains; 12 Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy 13 Before the Lord, for He is coming, For He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness And the peoples in His faithfulness. Psalm 96:10-13 (NASB95)
· Kraus states, “The creator of the world and the judge of the world has to be praised by the entire range of his lordship and his possessions.”
· The scriptures show us the inanimate will worship Yahweh, even if we do not. Yet, even our worship is insignificant if it is wrapped in carnality.
Praise and worship will always be unacceptable in God’s sight until there is justice and righteousness.
Amos 5:24 - 24 “But let justice roll down like waters And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
You cannot separate worship from a way of living. Are you living a life worthy of worship?
Donald A. Hagner, vol. 33A, Word Biblical Commentary : Matthew 1-13, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), 188.
Marvin E. Tate, vol. 20, Word Biblical Commentary : Psalms 51-100, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), 514.