Summary: Our worship of God can be rejected. Today we examine ourselves to see if God accepts our worship.
1. "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. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps." Your pianos and organs.
2. How feel if our God whom we worship would speak these words to us? Would we feel confused and hurt? We are His people and now He rejects our worship?
3. God spoke these words thru prophet Amos to people of Israel. He hated their worship of Him and He rejected it. Would God speak them to His church today, to us, to you or me?
4. Let us see why he spoke them and then examine selves to see if He would say them to us.
1. Situation in Israel
a. During latter part of 9th century BC, Israel experienced a time of weakness. Alliances with Phoenicia and Judah had collapsed and Israel became dependent on Damascus.
b. Lack of zeal for God. Politically and spiritually weak.
c. In early 8th century, Israel went through a resurgence. Assyria defeated Damascus but did not interfere with Israel’s affairs, demanding that only that a small tribute or tax be paid.
d. Israel became stronger than Judah, She recovered lost lands and her strength was close to what it was under time of Solomon. A time of prosperity and great optimism.
2. Yet book of Amos is a book of judgement.
a. On six neighbouring nations and on Israel herself.
b. Amos feels full of sorrow but has no choice but to bring forth God’s word against them. Living Bible renders 5:1 "Sadly I sing this song of grief for you:"
3. Impending Judgement
a. vs. 2 - God says I is like a virgin that will have no children. She will fall, never to rise again.
b. vs. 3 - people will be decimated - of those who march out in power, only a tenth will be left.
c. There will be wailing in the streets and cries of anguish in every public square.
d. v.18 - Amos tells them they should not long for the day of Lord. Instead of the light they expect it to bring, it will be a day of darkness.
e. They will run to God for safety and find themselves facing a greater than the one they fled from. (lion-bear, home-snake)
4. Reasons for judgement - because of how they treated God and fellow man.
a. Their worship was empty - did not seek God, only pay lip service to God.
i. Believed if they went thru the rituals of religion they would live. Focus on form of religion rather than substance.
ii. God tells them to seek Him and they will live.
iii. Danger occurs when church becomes a convenience, a man-made structure which serves only worldly needs and does not gather to praise the majesty of God and to seek His will as found in Word, it no longer is a source of life.
iv. We can go through motions, perhaps even convincing ourselves that we have a strong relationship with God on Sunday mornings and then forgetting about that relationship the rest of the week.
v. We can even follow the law of God and fail to have a strong relationship with Him - as per Pharisees. In Luke 13, they became indignant when Jesus healed a crippled woman on the Sabbath.
b. What made God hate their worship even more was that they did not have proper relationships with one another.
i. vs.7 - they turned justice into bitterness; vs.12 - they turned the "fruit of righteousness into bitterness
ii. Compare these passages we wee that justice is the fruit of righteousness. If we are righteous we will seek justice for others.
iii. Justice can be defined as righteousness in action. Means having proper relationships with one another.
iv. People were unjust and so there worship was rejected. Amos urges them to maintain justice in the courts.
v. vs. 10 - they hated honest judges and despised people who told the truth. They trampled on the poor to obtain their riches and build their mansions and plant lush vineyards.
vi. God does not rebuke them because of their riches but the way they got their riches. (v.11)
vii. Poor were forced to sell their land to the rich and then they were allowed to farm the land if they gave most of their grain to the rich land owners.
viii. Rich controlled courts and a class system emerged.
5. Teaching For Us Today
a. Righteousness, as used in OT, is an ethical and moral standard which is the nature and will of God. True righteousness is to reflect God’s will.