THURSDAY 27TH DECEMBER, 2018
THEME: VAIN WORSHIP
TEXT: AMOS 5:21-27; ISAIAH 1:1-14
MEMORY VERSE: AMOS 5:21 “I hate, I despise your feast days, and I do not savour your sacred assemblies.” (Compare with Isaiah 1: 11-20)

The assemblies and offerings of the people had become a ceremonial performance that does not flow from the heart. Read vs. 21-23 and identify the area of acts of worship that God refused to be pleased with. It was like God rejected everything that made up worship, feast day, solemn assembly, burnt offerings, grain offerings, peace offerings of fat beasts, songs, melody of stringed instruments, etc. Prophet Amos, one of the so-called minor prophets, had his ministry in the reign of King Uzziah of Judah and King Jeroboam of the 10 Northern Kingdom of Samaria (Israel). He probably operated shortly before the great Prophet Isaiah. Read Isa. 1:1-14 and compare with today’s text.

Also, read vs. 24 and list out what Israelites neglected, things lacking in their worship, why God rejected all those expressions of “beautiful worship”. Though socially unjust, Israel carried on with the rituals of religiosity which meant nothing to God. They presumed that obedience to ritualistic ceremonies and ceremonial acts of worship would justify their unjust act, especially against the oppressed. How can God accept praise from you when your poor house help is going through hell in your hands? Many at times, we are tempted to think that God is more interested in our act of worship in church (singing in choir/band, ushering work, serving in committees, giving communion, preaching, interceding, offering and seed sowing), than He is in our social and private life (cheating your spouse, secret relationships, midnight dirty browsing, plotting against one in secret, falsification of documents, coded lying, deceit, defrauding, etc.)

Do not be deceived; God watches the heart and checks the heart before checking the sacrifice/offering (Gen. 4:4-5). When God does not manifest despite all rituals, pause and check your life; let justice and righteousness flow like a mighty stream.

HYMN: EMHB 420 – WHAT SHALL I DO MY SAVIOUR TO PRAISE
PRAYER: Help me, God, to be pure inside and outside all the days of my life so that my prayers, worship, praises and life may offer a living sacrifice unto Thee, in Jesus name I pray. Amen.