Amos 5:23–24 (ESV) … “Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
The context of this passage finds Israel’s entire sacrificial system was out of order. The system claimed to be the worship of Jehovah, but in truth, it was nothing of the kind. At the heart of the problem, the people imagined that their sacrifices earned them God’s favor. Little did they know that their religious practices were an abomination to God. Instead, God wanted no part of their worship. In fact, God repudiated the altars of the Israelites and called their music “noise.”
Conversely, much that is done today in the name of religion that is just as equally offensive to God. For example, Jesus said that “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Yet, many a church and many a pulpit point people towards God by another way. Religion without Christ is dead religion. This type of faith is cursed, just as was the religion of Cain, which was a foreshadowing of all false beliefs to come.
Cain was neither an atheist nor a worshiper of a false god. He was a false worshiper of the true God. Cain did not like God’s rule, so he tried to approach Him in his own way. Cain’s religion had elements of beauty and order; it was costly and involved much thought and hard work. But God rejected Cain’s religion, as He rejected the false religion of Israel, and He refuses much that is religious today.
People are the same today as they were in the days of Amos. They will believe almost anything but the truth. Today people imagine that they are doing God a service when they blatantly propagate Bible-denying, Christ-rejecting, God-dishonoring lies.
God’s answer to Israel’s persistent wickedness and vain trust in false religion was judgment: “Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus” (5:27). Damascus was on the way to Assyria. The Lord’s mind was made up about these ancient people.
May we heed the warning and not cross God’s line in the sand with our persistence to reject His biblical truth. May we worship in a way that is pleasing unto our Lord. One that is a Bible-believing, Christ-receiving, God-honoring faith. [i]
[i] Phillips, J. (2009). Exploring the Minor Prophets: An Expository Commentary (Am 5:21–27). Kregel Publications; WORDsearch Corp.