Day Two Hundred Twenty-Two “Ritual”
I just love when God picks the least-likely character in human eyes and uses that person as His spokesman. So it is with this blunt, plainspoken, and un-intimidated farmer from Tekoa. He was not a prophet, or even the son of a prophet, but merely a common herdsman, a sycamore-fig-farmer from an insignificant village in the Judean wilderness. Sycamore fruit was a staple of the poorer class in Israel, so this called-out spokesman was most likely numbered among the lowest class of the population. But God had found His man! Amos would take God’s message of judgment to a nation steeped in a phony facade.
Amos was called as God’s messenger during a prosperous time for Israel and her sister nation, Judah. The nations were basking in blessings, peace, prosperity, stability, and security, but as a result had grown fat, apathetic, proud, and materialistic. Amos, a humble farmer, was sent to those who “were at ease in Zion…that lie on beds of ivory…and eat the lambs out of the flock,” those whose worship had become hollow and perfunctory, nations that had become lax in its luxurious living.
God gave Amos a unique approach to announce the coming hand of judgment, making use of the phrase “for three transgressions…and for four,” which totals seven, a number representing completion, for the sinfulness of the nation was full and complete in God’s eyes and His punishment was well-warranted. Amos begins with a condemnation of three outlying nations regarded as foreigners in the minds of the Israelites, but then he quickly spirals in on the scope, moving a little closer to home, condemning the Moabites, Edomites, and Ammonites, who were distant relatives of the Jewish nation. One can almost sense the growing expectation as Amos zeros in on his target, Judah and Israel.
God’s children had fallen into the trap of empty religious ritual, going through the motions, observing traditions, putting on a pious mask. But God knows the heart, and through Amos, tore off the false facade and exposed that cold heart: “I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offering of your fat beasts. Take thou away from me the noise of thy song, for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.” Those are harsh words, for even their songs had become dry and mundane.
Centuries later, Jesus would condemn the scribes and the Pharisees, likening them to “whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” Let’s be careful in our Christian walk, for God is not interested in a religious show, but desires from us an authentic, truly loving heart. We need to avoid the trap of mundane traditions and renew an enthusiastic worship of the King of kings. Our God loves a heart fully devoted to Him, wholly dedicated to the praise and worship of the Creator and Author of our salvation.
I Samuel 16:7 for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
Lord, help me never to become entrapped in phony traditions, but direct my heart toward true worship. Help me to daily fall in love with You, and express that love through my words of praise.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-2140-64842e9f10d11' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=2140&origin=grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-2140-64842e9f10d11' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-2140-64842e9f10d11' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>