Summary: Worship can become an awe-inspiring event every Sunday, something to look forward to, and a reconnection to God.
“I am sick and tired of you not doing what you are told.” Does this sound familiar to anyone else here? My dad used to say this all the time when I didn’t complete my chores or just do what he said in general. Now, some of you have probably imitated your parents and now you say the same thing or at least something very similar. It really does wear on our nerves after a while when people do not do as we have asked them. I personally hate repeating myself and so having to repeat myself five times to make my point is very agitating. Everyone one of us has a breaking point at which we would finally retort or speak out against what’s happening or not happening. Do you realize that humans were made in the image of God? We have the same faculties as God such as emotions, intelligence, and a spiritual life. Our attributes are very limited in comparison to God’s of course. God has a line of patience that we should call grace in which he will allow us to go towards but after we cross that line, punishment is coming. God’s patience is amazingly durable compared to ours. Even the most patient human beings could not wait as long as God can. Yet, there is an end to that patience.
In the book of Amos 5:21-25, we encounter one of those points at which God has finally reached the end of His rope with the people of Israel. They were supposed to be God’s people. The people of Israel had become rich and powerful and had become corrupt and evil. They had pushed and pushed the envelope until finally God had had enough of their evil actions. He finally declares judgment on them through the prophet Amos. In this particular text, God expresses His disgust with their worship habits. "I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. 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.” God gets “sick and tired” over worthless worship services. He even names three specific areas in which He has reached His limit; the solemn assemblies, the sacrifices, and the songs.
The Solemn Assemblies – Amos 5:21
“I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies.”
Why would God be so angry at the men and women of Israel that he would hate their gatherings in His name? Well, a little review of the history of Israel can reveal that answer. Since the formation of the people of Israel, the people have rebelled against God. God took them out of Egypt and immediately they began to complain about water, and then the food they had been given from God. God provided all the Manna the people needed and yet they complained for meat. God punished them by making them walk for forty years in the wilderness lost. Once they did get to enter the land of Canaan as God had promised, they were told to clean it out of all the false religions and tribes. Yet, when the time came to do so, Israel once again chose to disobey God and keep some of the people around. They began worshipping the idols of the nearby tribes of people. This never stopped even up until the time of David basically. David cleaned house and put Israel where God wanted and yet his successor, Solomon, chose to go right back into idol worship. You see Israel had a history of running away from God. They would deny God but yet have “worship” services to God anyway. They would sacrifice, pray, and even sing songs dedicated to God with absolutely no true intent of worship.
This sounds awfully familiar to me when I think of today’s church. People choose to go out and act and live just like non-Christians and have the gall to say they know Jesus. Idol worship has run amok in Christian circles for years. According to a Barna Group study, the average Christian looks exactly like the average non-Christian. Money is a top priority on both lists and is followed by lots of stuff that they just had to have. People are too busy worshipping T.V. than they are at reading their Bibles and then they have the nerve to come to a church building during “worship” and sings songs about God being number one in their lives. Sounds the exact same as what Israel had been doing all those years. Now, instead of worshipping Asherah poles and Baal alters, people worship television, internet, books, games, and mostly themselves. “I am the most important person and I can do what I want.” “I earned that money and it is mine to use.” “I have a right to be angry, sad, depressed, upset, etc.” Sound familiar… I hope not but I seriously doubt that we here have said none of these. These feelings of “I deserve” continue to grow until you are the absolute #1 most important person and will destroy anything that gets between you and what you want. No wonder God hates solemn assemblies when they are filled with idolatrous hearts. I wonder if God hates when we gather together and yet aren’t here to worship.