“Go ahead and offer sacrifices to the idols at Bethel. Keep on disobeying at Gilgal. Offer sacrifices each morning, and bring your tithes every three days. Present your bread made with yeast as an offering of thanksgiving. Then give your extra voluntary offerings so you can brag about it everywhere! This is the kind of thing you Israelites love to do,” says the Sovereign LORD.” – Amos 4:4-5 (NLT)
I have heard it said, once or twice, that if you’re gonna tell God your plans then you had better just give Him the eraser. Now, ya mighta given that a bit of snicker but that would be and should be the right attitude to have towards God. Especially when we think we have a good idea but then found out, with the fault being all our own, that God had a better one anyway. And this shouldn’t surprise anyone who claims their adoption through Jesus Christ, after all, God has complete authority over how you should live once you are His.
If anyone knew this to be the complete and utter truth it would have been the apostle Peter, “So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then.” (1 Peter 1:14) But what if you’re an apathetic group of people who is okay with a little spiritual adultery as you walk with Him and you talk with Him? Well, if that is going on, don’t be tryin’ to tell Him that you are His own, ‘cos He’s gotta a few things to say to that and through the prophet Amos He’ll give us a sorta “sarcastic” example of that.
Basically, God had become tired of Israel’s ceremonial worship that had no intrinsic value. These guys blended a little bit of some Canaanite mother-goddess named, Ashima (Scripturally known as “the sin of Samaria”: see Amos 8:14) with a counterfeit sanctuary holding a counterfeit Holy of Holies. The counterfeit mercy seat had real golden calves at its base and as time went on the people who made the pilgrimage to “worship” there thought it was all about the golden calves and they had deemed themselves righteous simply on the fact that they walked “the way of Beersheba” and, now get this, God is in their debt for doing so. Has anyone seen that eraser yet?
“The Sovereign LORD has sworn this by His holiness: “The time will come when you will be led away with hooks in your noses. Every last one of you will be dragged away like a fish on a hook! You will be led out through the ruins of the wall; you will be thrown from your fortresses,” says the LORD.” — Amos 4:2-3
Now that passage right there oughta let ya know that God is furious over all this and because of who He is, He swears by His own holiness that what Amos just wrote down is gonna happen. No questions asked but its gonna be how he exposes their heart that He seems to show us a bit of divinely spun sarcasm that hasn’t been seen since… “You’ll have to shout louder,” he scoffed, “for surely he is a god! Perhaps he is daydreaming, or is relieving himself. Or maybe he is away on a trip, or is asleep and needs to be wakened!” (1 Kings 18:27)
So, that make believe sacrifice given from a disobedient heart? Fuhgeddaboudit!! The next time ya need that hedge of divine protection look no further than those two golden calves ya guys got at the base of your counterfeit Holy of Holies, you’ll be awright. How about those tithes and extra financial offerings you are shoutin’ off at the face about? Fuhgeddaboudit!! You can always rob the multitude known as “the poor” for a little more, besides they’re such a sharing people, they’d have no problem missing a meal or two so you can do your thing with your hands in air. That thanksgiving offering with the leaven in it? Fuhgeddaboudit!!…well, ya got the gist?
Yes, God desires sacrifice and obedience but He ain’t about playing religious games with His creation either. When He said to Adam and Eve, “Where are you?” it wasn’t a round of hide and seek, there was a divine division that was felt and our God, being rich in grace and mercy, wanted that reconciled with us, and more importantly, for us. He has never changed from that position. Makes me wonder why we keep trying to change that for Him, and that’s the irony of telling Him your plans.
If we wanna determine that our worship of El Elyon is pleasing to Him then ask yourself two questions. 1) Are you covered by the blood of Jesus Christ? 2) Are you obeying God to the best of our understanding? If ya got a positive answer great if not, take a moment and see what is blending itself into your pathway. Don’t raise a hand to “the sin of Samaria” and you won’t hear, “Where are you?” Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a child of El Elyon, a son, husband, a father, has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of The Colony of Mercy. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.