"I Hate, I Despise Your Feast Days!" Amos 5:21
I remember the first time I read that, being surprised that God would use that language with men, especially about his (our) worship! After all, wasn't the party for Him? Why did He hate the honor of what He set up?
Honestly, it took me a number of years to really understand what that meant, and lately those words filtered through my mind. People can say and do all the right things but not really have it right in the hearts.
In context, here is the passage:
15 Hate evil, love good; establish justice in the gate. It may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
16 Therefore the Lord God of hosts, the Lord, says this: "There shall be wailing in all streets, and they shall say in all the highways, 'Alas! Alas!' They shall call the farmer to mourning, and skillful lamenters to wailing.
17 In all vineyards there shall be wailing, for I will pass through you," says the Lord.
18 Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! For what good is the day of the Lord to you? It will be darkness, and not light.
19 It will be as though a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him! Or as though he went into the house, leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him!
20 Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light? Is it not very dark, with no brightness in it?
21 "I hate, I despise your feast days, and I do not savor your sacred assemblies.
22 Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them, nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings.
23 Take away from Me the noise of your songs, for I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments.
24 But let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream. (NKJ)
Yesterday morning, November 3, as I woke up, I heard strong the words, "My son will return home weeping." I felt an incredible sadness but I had no idea what it meant. My mind raced with all the personal possibilities of what it could mean and nothing really "clicked." I thought about the prodigal son story, and then I thought about Jesus and the verse:
Would Jesus come and return Home empty? These were thoughts that just passed through my mind. Could we miss a day of our visitation from Him? We certainly cry out for that visitation in our songs and prayers!
One of the things I realized as I prayed, that if the words came from God, which I believed that they did through His messenger, was that the term was used "My son." I thought, well, at least whomever this son is, God is claiming them!
The way the words came, I knew they meant something significant. I went to check my email and saw the news about a fellow minister in scandal on the front page. Since this was right before the elections, was it a political set up? Could it possibly be true?
"I hate your feast days!" As I had pondered those words, and even felt His joy as we celebrated the Fall Feasts here, I wondered again why the Lord would say that, and realized that there are a lot of places in Christianity today where things are more politically and organizationally structured than they are Spiritually. But that does not impress God who sees all.
Now you can be a prophet and say that, but if you don't count the cost for what you say, you can find yourself hated by some very strong groups of people. You have to pray how you present your words and work them out with God to be redeeming. It does not mean you don't see things or shouldn't say things, but if you get an arrogant pride, you are just as guilty as the sinners you discern.
When I saw the news, and wondered how politically motivated that "revelation" might be just days before election day, I felt "the click" that those words were probably for him. I was glad the words were about "My son." God claimed him. And His children will get spanked. (That includes me too, if I am a child He loves.) But if we are God's, then we belong to each other, like that or not! And He deals with His children.
As the events further unfolded to me, I also felt God saying that He was going to reveal Himself again. How many of us have looked at the licensciousness today and wondered if God even saw or cared? It seems so extreme even in the Church. But anyone with faith knows that God still sits on the Throne and has not altered the basics of His Word. Haven't we prayed?
I've written about this before, but we have been in a place where God has withdrawn to a degree the convicting power of His Spirit. What that means is that our soul does not feel the prick of coming condemnation for things done wrong. For those who walk in the Spirit, this can be troubling, because you lean on that Spirit for guidance.
But this is a test to see if you lean on that fear of the Lord or your own mind. Do you reason when you don't feel that, that He doesn't care what you do? Some things can be hard to figure out. But you certainly don't want to believe that He doesn't care because He gave up on you!!
2 Chronicles 32:31 ...God withdrew from him [Hezekiah], in order to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart. (NKJ)
I want to believe that God's children will return home weeping to Him because they know they need Him. We can't be responsible for what everyone else does, but we are certainly responsible and accountable for what we do. We must have a proper understanding of grace, that it is precious and sacred and not just "anything goes." Some have called that "greasy grace."
We all look into our own souls and realize there is the conviction that we have not measured up to the perfection of God. But are we trying? Are we hot or cold or lukewarm? When the Son of man comes, will He really find faith on the earth? I think that is an important question.
The Church needs to be the Church again, with the fear of God, the love for man and the mission that needs to be and must be accomplished. We need to know again that the words "Well done" mean something. We are all victims of the enemy, but we have been given the Plan to overcome.
We must search that Plan out individually and corporately and with love and longsuffering for one another. Our prayers can save lives and change many things. Do we throw out the good because of a sin problem or can we be like God and redeem?
1 Peter 4:7-8
God still has children to raise, and He will! Especially on the Last Day!
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