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Summary: Some of church worship has degenerated into a business, a performance and entertainment and this displeases God.

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THE SONGS THAT GOD HATES

By : Ng Wah Lok

Text : Amos 5:21-27

I developed this sermon after teaching the book of Amos for 15 hours at Tung Ling Seminary. These are my devotional thoughts on worship taken from the book of Amos.

In the book of Amos, the people of Israel were busy sacrificing to God but God did not accept their sacrifices. They were busy singing their songs, but God did not accept their songs. They used the best musical instruments of David, but God did not accept their music. They observed all the appointed feasts but God did not accept their feasts. In fact, these were the very things that God despised.

We can learn the following from their experiences.

1. GOOD SONGS DOES NOT MEAN GOOD WORSHIP

Amos 5:23,24 Take away from me the noise of your songs, For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments. But let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

You can use the most anointed songs but this does not guarantee that the worship will be acceptable to God. God despised their songs because there was no justice and righteousness in their lives.

God values our love for righteousness and justice more than our songs.

God values our lifestyles more than the words we offer to Him.

THE LIVES WE LIVE MUST BE CONSISTENT WITH THE SONGS WE SING

2. GOOD MUSIC DOES NOT MEAN GOOD WORSHIP.

Amos 6:5,7a Who chant to the sound of stringed instruments, and invent for yourselves musical instruments like David….But are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph

Israel played with the best musical instruments of David but God rejected their music because they did not care about their brother’s suffering. We cannot worship God on one hand and neglect the practical needs of our brothers who are suffering.

Loving God is keeping His commandments.

John 14:15a “If you love me, keep my commandments”.

Interestingly, the Bible does not ask us to tell God we love Him in our songs although this is not necessarily wrong.. The Bible does require us to display our love for God by keeping His commandments. In year 2001, I took this thought and wrote the following song:-

How I love You Jesus

How I love You Jesus

May my praise be fragrance,

Pleasing in Your sight

How I love You Jesus

How I love You Jesus

May my praise be incense

Rising to Your throne

Chorus:-

For knowing You, Is loving You

And loving You, Is keeping Your commands.

Copyright : Ng Wah Lok, February, 2001.

True religion involves meeting the practical needs of the poor. I find some of the best worship services I have been are in churches where they have strong mission thrust to poorer nations.

We need to balance between skill and character. We cannot use a skillful musician who does not love righteousness and justice. Skill must be complemented with character. Otherwise, we could get Michael Jackson to lead worship every Sunday. Our worship services will be full every week.

MUSIC WITHOUT THE ANOINTING IS LIKE A BODY WITHOUT THE SOUL.

3. GOOD SERVICES DOES NOT MEAN GOOD WORSHIP

Amos 5:21 I despised your feast days, and I do not savor your sacred assemblies.

Sometimes, we get out of a worship service and say “That was really a good service”. What we really meant was that the program was good. Every thing went on smoothly. The song items were good. The flow of the service was good. The church ambience was good. The message was short, sweet and encouraging. We all left the service “happy”. But was God “happy” with our services ?

Israel was busy observing her feast days and sacred assemblies not knowing that God actually despised them.

Many celebration services today are planned to make the congregation happy rather than to please God. At the end of the service, we all say “That was a good service”. Was it really good in God’s eyes ?

WE OFTEN FOCUS ON THE PRESENTATION OF THE SERVICE

MORE THAN THE PRESENCE OF GOD

4. GOOD OFFERINGS DOES NOT MEAN GOOD WORSHIP

Amos 5:22 Though you offer me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them. Nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings.

Israel presented to God the following offerings.

1) Burnt Offerings

2) Grain Offerings

3) Peace Offerings

God rejected all their offerings

1 Sam 15:22 Has the Lord 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.

As a result of Saul’s disobedience to God’s commands, he lost the Kingdom of Israel. God wanted his obedience more than his sacrifice.

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