The plot or theme becomes more clear in this chapter. Remember that Amos began by asserting God's Sovereignty over His Creation...and His people. All of the calamity to come upon the nations and upon Israel was because God caused it. The people were religious in their actions; however, they had become dependent on their prosperity and addicted to pleasures.
Part of the religious "buzz" of the era was to speak of the "Day of the Lord." For those speaking it, it was supposed to be a day of triumph and blessing and honor. They spoke of it as if they were excited and anticipating it. Amos gives them another perspective.
The Day of the Lord is coming...but you should hide because He is not pleased with your conduct! It is a day of victory and glory and honor...but He will display these things by punishing the wicked...you! (Amos 5:18).
The solution is to forsake their practices and seek the Lord! (Amos 5:4, Amos 5:6, Amos 5:14). They thought that they were seeking God...after all they had many altars and practiced religion all of the time. God's response was that their worship was empty and He hated it (Amos 5:21-23). What God desired was justice and mercy...a lifestyle consistent with their religious confession...not a religious confession alone (Amos 5:24).
Because they were hypocritical...they had made a mockery of God; therefore, they would lose everything (Amos 5:11), and only a remnant would survive His judgment (Amos 5:3). Instead of making a "fuss" claiming to be looking forward to the Day of the Lord...they should have kept silent...since they were unprepared (Amos 5:12-13).
Some of them may have desired to argue with Amos...that he was a fundamentalist and had no basis for his claims. He closes the chapter by reminding them that their ancestors were punished for idolatry as well...a fate they could look forward to if they did not repent (Amos 5:25-27).
Sometimes it is difficult to think that we are idolatrous in our actions when we come together on Sunday to worship God. We sing songs of His faithfulness, His power, His justice...and then we rely upon other things...including our own wisdom as if they were powerful to provide and care for us. This is bad...but becomes worse when we think that no one else sees through our charade...including God. Either He is...and He is worthy of our lives...or He is not...and we should choose our alternatives. We cannot continue, though, to claim that He is our hope AND pursue other hopes as if God is not offended at our duplicity.
Proverbs 29:16 is the takeaway today. As wickedness increases, it seems as though there is no hope for righteousness...but the Day of the Lord is coming...and Righteousness will prevail.
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