Amos 5:24 “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
One of my favorite passages from the prophets speaks to all generations. It begins with that powerful word, ‘but.’ What precedes the ‘but?’ God comments on all the outward attempts His people have made to appear righteousness. When we examine their actions we wonder why God is upset with them since they seem to be doing what He has asked them to do. They were observing the appointed feasts and participating in the correct solemn assemblies. And sacrifices, they were making those as well, burnt, grain, and even fattened animals. They sang songs and played music to Him on harps.
Can you make a correlation to church going people today? Can you witness Christians today doing things according to the Book but not from the heart? What was it Jesus said? “These people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.” He was reasserting the message of Isaiah. Ezekiel said that the people spoke with passion but their hearts were on personal gain.
The people had been going through the motions, keeping the letter of the law but failing to see the real meaning of doing the right thing. These people belonged to those who say yes but fail to do. Remember the words of Jesus about the Day of Judgment? “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”
Task for Today: It doesn’t hurt from time to time to do a self-check. Today, with these verses in mind, might be a good day to examine your motives. What is your motivation to assemble, commune, sing, study, and serve? Are you going through the motions or acting out of passion for God? You can’t substitute works for love.