Is God’s chief goal for society that everyone comes together to sing him songs of praise and pray to him?
Amos 5:6-7, 10-15, 21-24
6 Seek the LORD and live, lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and it devour, with none to quench it for Bethel, 7 O you who turn justice to wormwood and cast down righteousness to the earth!
10 They hate him who reproves in the gate, and they abhor him who speaks the truth. 11 Therefore because you trample on the poor and you exact taxes of grain from him, you have built houses of hewn stone, but you shall not dwell in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine. 12 For I know how many are your transgressions and how great are your sins— you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and turn aside the needy in the gate. 13 Therefore he who is prudent will keep silent in such a time, for it is an evil time.
14 Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the LORD, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said. 15 Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
21 “I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. 22 Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. 23 Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. 24 But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
Observations and reflections
Notes: The Context of these verses is the warning of pending judgment on the ten Northern tribes of Israel (also called Samaria) because of the tolerance of injustice in their society.
In the ancient Middle-East, the city gate was a place of wisdom where the elders gathered to give counsel and judgment in difficult situations.
- For every verse, list the injustices present in Samaria in the time of Amos the prophet.
- Record and summarise what God desires from his worshippers in these verses.
Reflection and application
- Look at the “transgressions …and great sins” God accuses Israel of (verse 12). Which of these are present in our society, and even in your Christian community?
- Considering these verses above
- Why would God “hate the solemn assemblies” of corporate worship and fasting (verses 21-24)?
- What do you learn about the character of God and what really pleases him? Try to summarise your answer in your own words.
- What could you do today that will please God?
- How could you help your small group and church see what God truly desires from his worshippers?
In your own words, pray for God’s justice to manifest in the court rooms, community and especially for the poor and needy in your society.