Amos 5.21-24 – The heart of the matter

Yesterday we saw that what we claim to be living, we must be living. If you missed yesterday’s devotional, you can read it here.

The main point was that if we claim Christ, we must live for Christ. If we call ourselves Christians, we must carry that name with honour, and live a life worthy of the name we carry. If not, when we do and say Christian things from a place of non-total commitment, we run the risk of being found out…

Today, Amos continues and the Lord lays down some fundamental principles about priorities;

21 “I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.

22 Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them;

and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them.

23 Take away from me the noise of your songs;

to the melody of your harps I will not listen.

24 But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

If we are going through the motions and simply doing what we think we ought to be doing, with no real heart commitment, the Lord knows.

Remember, whereas we have a natural tendency to look at and judge the outside, the Lord always looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16.7). We look at the what, God looks at the why.

Well, I go to church.” Why…

I read the Bible.” Why…

I did that good thing for that person.Why…

If we just go along to church, sit, maybe sing a little, listen a little, then leave, is that good enough?

I take no delight in your solemn assemblies – God would say no.

If we offer worship through music but our heart is not in it, is that good enough?

Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. – God would say no.

What does the Lord want from us then? To let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.


See, the point of a real relationship with the risen Jesus is that it changes us from the inside out.


We are given a new mind, new priorities, a new way of looking at life, new desires, new ambitions, a new focus, simply, we are made new, born again.

Part of this is how we interact with and treat other people, and God cares a lot about how we treat other people. When our heart is right, we will treat others right, and God cares a great deal about this. Rather than go through the Christian motions, God wants us to live a righteous life, to pour out righteousness from our lives, to let justice roll down like waters, to love one another as He loves us (John 13.34-35)

Today, rather than going through some Christian motions because we think it’s the right thing to do, let’s get right with one another first (Matthew 5.23-24). Let’s make sure we are right with one another before we try go get right with God.

God’s priority is that we are right in heart and right with each other, because when we have a real relationship with the risen Jesus, these are the telltale signs.

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