Amos 5:21-24 (New Living Translation)
“I hate all your show and pretense – the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies. I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings. I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings. Away with your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living…”
This passage from the book of Amos has been quoted countless number of times by Christians concerned about fairness and justice in society. The book of Amos has tough words of rebuke to Israel. The nation was rich at the time but the wealthy and powerful were mean and wicked in the way they behaved towards the poor and weak.
So God raised up Prophet Amos to speak to Israel, especially to the wealthy; to remind them that true worship of God was not only about the gifts we bring to Church but also about how we relate to the poor and less privileged people in society.
Amos very strongly rebukes the rich and powerful for pretending to worship Yahweh when in truth they were worshiping idols they had made for themselves. Thus, instead of being guided by God’s righteous laws regarding how they should relate to one another with love and kindness, the rich and wealthy were guided by selfishness.
We learn from the book of Amos that idolatry breeds selfishness, which leads to unfair unjust societies. We also learn that worship of Yahweh must go beyond public display of faith, to living a life of loving kindness to one another. In so doing, we will create a society that is not only prosperous but just and fair to all.
Image: Love Your Neighbor as Yourself (Wikimedia)