Alas for you who desire the day of the LORD! Why do you want the day of the LORD? It is darkness, not light; as if someone fled from a lion, and was met by a bear…” vss. 18-19aAmos 5:18-20
When Amos came out of the south and into the prosperous north with a word from the Lord, he wasn’t going to a people who were unfamiliar with the traditions of Israel. There were religious leaders and active worship centers–these were people who were well-acquainted with rituals and sacrifice. Evidently some of them were looking forward to the day of the Lord and the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel. And Amos mocks them! When that day comes, he tells them, it’s going to be a time of destruction worse than they could imagine. Hidden in Amos’ words we can catch a hint of what happens for those who have gotten smug and comfortable in their faith. It can even occur among us. If we believe the coming kingdom has any connection with our religiosity and empty traditions, we’re going to be sadly mistaken. We’re not talking hellfire and brimstone here, just the general emptiness that can grip the people of God when their religions become a charade, and they wander away from the plan and purposes of God. As Amos puts it so well, at those times our songs of praise become only repetitive noise to the Lord, and our well-phrased sermons like the drone of a well-traveled freeway. God is not impressed.
Thought for the Day: What’s the point of worship in my congregation?