Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Amos 5:21-27

21"I hate, I reject your festivals,
Nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies.
22"Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings,
I will not accept them;
And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings.
23"Take away from Me the noise of your songs;
I will not even listen to the sound of your harps.
24"But let justice roll down like waters
And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

25"Did you present Me with sacrifices and grain offerings in the wilderness for forty years, O house of Israel?

26"You also carried along Sikkuth your king and Kiyyun, your images, the star of your gods which you made for yourselves.

27"Therefore, I will make you go into exile beyond Damascus," says the LORD, whose name is the God of hosts.

God's going out of Chapter 5 with a loud voice! And He's definitely not listening to or receiving Israel's pleas and offerings.

The running theme of Amos has been Israel's disobedience and dishonoring of God. The Father now has had the stage, explaining the nation's wrongs. Here, He makes it plain. The Israelites are not fully worshiping God, and when they do worship God, they are conflicted in their hearts and in their manner of worship. When God uses 'hate', you know it's serious. 'Hate', 'reject', 'do not delight', 'will not accept', 'will not even look at', 'will not even listen to'....

"So when you spread out your hands in prayer,
I will hide My eyes from you;
Yes, even though you multiply prayers,
I will not listen
Your hands are covered with blood.
Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight
Cease to do evil...."
--Isaiah 1: 15-16

Verse 25, God questions Israel's faithfulness, going back to the 40 years in the wilderness. Were God's people faithful then? No, they weren't! Golden calf while waiting for Moses and the 10 Commandments?!

"Even when they made for themselves
A calf of molten metal
And said, 'This is your God
Who brought you up from Egypt,'
And committed great blasphemies,
You, in Your great compassion,
Did not forsake them in the wilderness;
--Nehemiah 9: 18 & 19

God had amazing compassion on His people then. He still has compassion for Israel. (Remember His words in Amos to "Seek good...." and His saving of a remnant). But His plan has already been stated in this book and is spoken of again here: "I will make you go into exile beyond Damascus." (vs 27) The Assyrians conquered Damascus 10 years before the exile in 732 B.C.

Not to skip over those names in verse 26. Sikkuth means tabernacle and the king in reference is Molech. Kiyyun is a star god also referred to as Rompha. My study Bible says this of the worship of Molech: "Molech worship included the astrological worship of Saturn and the host of heaven and the actual sacrificing of children." Israel pursued this, even under King Solomon and his descendants. (From I Kings 11:7--"Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon.") In Acts, chapter 7, Stephen recounts Amos 5:26 when confronting the Sanhedrin over the sins of Israel in his blasphemy "trial".

Of special note in an otherwise discouraging series of verses this week:

"But let justice roll down like waters
And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream." (vs. 24)

I was reading an article in Sunday's Washington Post about a new memorial statue of Dr. Martin Luther King being created on the Washington Mall. There in the midst of the article was the quote, credited to Dr. King's "March on Washington" speech. Dr. King had actually quoted Amos.

The cry for justice has sounded for thousands of years. For Dr. King, it was a life's work in seeking justice and equality among people. For God, it is justice in the wake disobedience with the promise of righteousness to forever flow for those who would honor Him above all!

Chapter 6, "Those at ease in Zion".... 'Til next Wednesday!


* * *

Next week: Amos 6:1-7

Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation,
specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB).
I will quote other sources if used in a post.

I also use
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
(with notes from the King James Version).