We all go through motions every day. There are things we do that we’ve done so many times that we don’t even have to think about what we’re doing—getting dressed, brushing your teeth, pouring a cup of coffee, work, even commuting. We go through our daily routines by rote. Little or no thought is required. It’s easy to slip into those kinds of habits. Even when it comes to God.
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 hymns of praise! They are only noise to my ears. I will not listen to your music, no matter how lovely it is.
Amos 5:21-23 (NLT)
Ouch! Here God is, telling Israel that He will not accept the very things He gave them. Why not?
Yaweh did not desire the slavish observance of ritual, he desired right conduct, which in itself is an act of true worship.
International Bible Commentary
At this point in Israel’s sin, notice that God no longer referred to the festivals and offerings as His own. The attitude behind the sacrifices had become so focused on the action that God had nothing to do with them anymore and the actions belonged solely to Israel.
God has given us so much, so many ways to praise and worship Him yet we, like Israel, can easily slip into habits where we go through the motions, but our hearts and even our minds are no longer engaged.
Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, a river of righteous living that will never run dry.
Amos 5:24 (NLT)
Far more than mere actions of pious offering, God would have us live lives of perpetual worship. Fake it ’till you make it can only get us so far. Sometimes we just need to start, but if our entire lives become a series of hollow actions, God receives no glory.
And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he is the one who identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.
Ephesians 4:30 (NLT)
Let us all strive to produce a river of righteous living. Let us put meaning to our motions so that our works become our worship.
Daily Bible reading: Amos 4-6, Revelation 6