Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Amos on Worship

M. Daniel Carroll R. has an article on Amos and worship at Christianity Today. You definitely should read it! (HT: Jim Eisenbraun)

To whet your appetite, here's a couple of snippets (but, really, you should read the whole thing!):

Amos leaves no doubt that separating worship and social justice is distasteful to God. Other passages in this prophetic book confirm that truth and reveal the more central issue.

Ironically, in chapter 4, the people are told to go to those same sanctuaries, Bethel and Gilgal … but to sin (4:4)! The prophet mocks their piety, their rituals of thanksgiving and celebration.

Then comes the dagger: “for this is what you love to do” (4:5). Their worship activity ultimately was only about them. They felt good about what they were doing, praising the goodness of the Lord. They did not realize that, in God’s eyes, their worship was sin.

Theirs also was a faith compromised by national ideology. The people were convinced that God was on their side and would bring Israel victory against its enemies (5:18–20).

What a foolish miscalculation. The Day of the Lord, the prophet says, would not be the light of triumph; it would be the darkness of judgment from which they could not run or hide.

The Lord will not tolerate the worship of a false Yahweh, worship that ignores injustice and sociopolitical compromise and shouts praises in the midst of so much suffering. Worship, social concerns, and political realities are inescapably woven together.

More importantly, what is at stake in worship is the very person of God. The Lord is involved in every dimension of human existence, and the picture of God presented in worship must reflect this. It must present God as he truly is. Worship must bring prayer, confession, lament, and praise to this God and shape a people to reflect this God.

The God of Amos (our God) does not accept worship that fails to engage the challenging realities of life and the sins of society. We need to grasp that the demand for justice is central to the very person of God. The God of mercy and righteousness is the one we worship!
Really, you need to read the whole thing!

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