Study from God’s Word… Amos 5: 1 – 27; Amos 6: 1 – 14; Amos 7: 1 – 9; Amos 8: 1 – 14; Amos 9: 1 – 15 … Passage for Reflection: Amos 5: 23 – 24 … NIV 23 Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. 24 But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!
My Journal for Today: Martin Luther King, Jr. said many things back in the 60s which were invoked to rail against the social injustice of the day, as racism was rampant in our nation. His “I have a dream” speech is often quoted at the height of Dr. King’s powerful rise in influence in our land. But one of the phrases he used often in speeches came right from the devotional highlight verse today, when he was quoted as saying, “Let justice roll like a river,” a phrase which cried out for his country to let his people go from the racial injustice being perpetrated in that day.
And Dr. Smith points out that there is a connection between that prophetic statement, made by both the Prophet Amos to ancient Israel and Dr. King in our day with the immediate previous statement which proclaimed the emptiness of traditional Godless religious ritual. God was saying, through the Prophet Amos, that He will not listen to the songs of “religion” when that so-called “worship” allows for injustice; and that was what was going on in Dr. King’s day. We certainly know that the most violent of the injustice perpetrated against our African-American brothers/sisters in the 50s and 60s was being carried out in the deep South, … the so-called “Bible-belt” of our nation. And to this day it is said that the most segregated hour in southern American can be found on Sunday mornings. As Dr. Smith exhorts in his devotional today, ”… if we think we can honor God by going through the motions of worship ritual while dishonoring our fellow man, we’ve missed the (i.e., God’s) boat. (AND) When that happens, justice is never like a river, but only a stagnate pool.”
Besides, “worship” is more than religious ritual. It is the way we live our lives, “24/7,” demonstrating, by the way we live, our devotion to our Lord/God through our life being lived out for others, rather than self. As our devotional title today implies, true “worship” has it’s faith roots in social justice. And that is why Jesus’ prime command, summarizing all of God’s Law in one statement was, ”Love one another.” [see John 13: 34-35, a New Covenant restatement of the Old Covenant in Leviticus 19: 18]
Any “worship” that we have in our churches becomes meaningless to God if we cannot and will not live it out in life by loving one another as God has loved us. So, Dr. Smith’s question at the end his devotional this morning burns with conviction as he asks, ”If I have don’t nothing to promote social justice lately, what kind of meaningless religion am I practicing?”
My Prayer for Today: Lord, I pray that my life is worship which reflects Your light, shining in this ever darkening world. Amen