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Fattened Cows and Drunken Women

I love the boldness of the Old Testament Prophets. They certainly did not “beat around the bush.” They had a propensity to tell it just like it was. That is certainly true in Amos 4:1-5

Amos was a layman, not a professional prophet. He ministered in a day in which materialism and social evils were prevalent. Additionally, the Israelites, specifically the Northern Kingdom, had fallen into idolatry. Their worship had become paganized. Although they continued with many of the customs that were mandated in the Old Testament Law, their worship was empty, ritualistic, and practically worthless.

Amos sarcastically refers to their meaningless religious rituals in verse 4 – “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.”

It would be easy for us to conclude that these verses have no relevance for our 21st century lives, but that quite honestly is not true. Like the Israelites, we can fall into a spiritual rut, we can continue to do what God expects, but do it with no feeling, no enthusiasm, and no passion. We can even justify our spiritual lethargy with “legitimate excuses”: “The music was not contemporary enough!” or “The message was not entertaining enough!” In reality, neither of those ingredients is necessary for us to worship God. All that we really need for true worship is Him!

The remedy for empty worship is simple: We must return to Him! Five times in this chapter Amos reiterates the Lord’s desire for His people to return to Him (4:6-11). “Return to Me and live” is the key thought in the next chapter as well.

Amos’ challenge transcends the circumstances of his day and is relevant for us. Let us not worship like “fattened cows” or “drunken women.” (Ladies, please do not get upset with me, read Amos 4:1) Our God is worthy of transparent, sincere, and passionate worship! Let’s look for opportunities to worship Him as only He deserves to be worshipped!

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