Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏩ ⏹️
Image from crosswalk.com
Ihate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.
— Amos 5:21-24
The message here, as with all subsequent prophets, including Jesus, is that God will redeem—and man has his part to play in that redemption. It is not free. When man turns to God, by embracing man, God will do the same. It was a radical message in 750 BC; it was a radical message in 30 AD, and it is a radical message today: we will be saved through our own acts of love, kindness and justice.
Was Amos heard? Perhaps listened to, but not heard, and not heeded. His message fell on deaf ears. Amos's warning that Israel will fall if it continues on its current trajectory is indeed what occurred. Israel fell some 30-40 years later to the Assyrian Empire. Whether their decadence contributed directly to their fall is of course debatable, but it is likely that by turning away from God, from their greater purpose, the people of Israel lost sight of what mattered, and were thus unprepared for what occurred.
The last line of this passage, But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream, reminds us that no matter what, God's redemptive and restorative judgment will persist, as water persists in running towards the sea, in a never ending cycle of use and renewal. God's love, like the freshwater stream, is always there, always in motion, always with the potential to refresh and renew. It is up to us to choose whether or not we drink. That's our part in the man-God relationship.