5.1-3 The verdict is in, the sentence is passed, the virgin of Israel is fallen. Israel is decimated. The spiritual forecast is, one tenth shall survive. Thus Amos laments the moment.

5.4-6 Even at this precipitous moment, still the strain of mercy bleeds through. Three times the invitation is given seek ye me and ye shall live. Judgment can be postponed or avoided. The only hope at this point is to seek the Lord. God jettisons their religious places like Bethel, Gilgal or Beersheba. These places had rich pasts but had ceased to point the people to God. The admonition is to seek God, not their past moments of religion. This is the trap of all religious experiences of God. The quest to keep our devotions as fresh manna every day is our daily challenge. This is mirrored in the Lord’s prayer, give us this day our daily bread.

5.7-10 These people were religious. The judgment from God came because their religion was self serving. Judgment and righteousness were not offered to God, but rather used as a medium to reach their own selfish ends. Religion of itself is not always pleasing to God. Religion must exalt God and point men to God to be efficacious. Those who practice self serving religion hate those who speak uprightly.

5.11-17 Many people associate religion with a church or synagogue. God never intended anyone to have “church house” religion. One man said if your religion does not work at home it does not work, so do not export it. This passage shows how Israel’s self serving religion did not accomplish the purpose of true religion. This is what brought God to the end of His patience and invoked judgment. God will not share His glory with another. Mistreatment of the poor, the manifold transgressions of their mighty sins, afflicting the just, was no longer to be tolerated. The call from God was to choose between good and evil, and establish judgment in the gate. As a result of their selfish, self centered, religion, they would wail and mourn in the same streets where they had ravaged and mistreated the poor. This travail would spill out of the city and into the countryside and vineyards.

5.18-27 These quasi-religious people had loudly proclaimed their desire for the Day of the Lord. Now it was coming and God proclaims it will not be to your liking. They are informed they will not escape. It will be darkness, and liken to fleeing from wild beasts. Why? Because God came to despise their feast days. This was because their religion was all about “them”. God was not part of the true purpose of what they did under the guise of religion. They offered their burnt offerings and meat offerings and God said no thanks. God sadly declares he does not want to hear their songs. God is looking for righteousness, not hypocrisy. The years of accumulated offerings that these people thought were pleasing to God, are rejected by God wholesale. The indictment includes their inclusion of Moloch and Chiun (Hebrew kiyun~idol), in their worship. The cup of God’s anger and disgust is full. The gavel in the hand of God falls and the words hang in the air pregnant with fear, “Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity”. From beautiful homes, ivory furniture, wealth and opulence, body oils and luxury, and comfortable well organized religion, to captivity in one fell swoop. How are the mighty brought low.

Thanks for reading today…