God-Honoring Justice (Amos 5:23–24) - Radical

God-Honoring Justice (Amos 5:23–24)

“Take away from me the noise of your songs. To the melody of your harps I will not listen, but let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
– Amos 5:23–24

Wow, what a picture, what imagery therein. In both verses God speaks to his people through Amos, saying, “Take away from me the noise of your songs. To the melody of your harps I will not listen.” Picture that. Picture being in a church gathering singing songs and playing instruments, and God saying, “Take this noise away. I don’t want to hear your instruments.” What would lead God to say this?

Amos 5:23–24 Shows Us Religion without Righteousness

Here is a people who were carrying on religious ritual, observances, and songs, while ignoring injustice and unrighteousness. So God says, “Your songs, your instruments are not pleasing, glorifying, honoring to me. Justice brings honor to me. Righteousness honors me,”not a bit of justice here, or a bit of righteousness there, but justice flowing like waters. Verse 24 says, “and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

Don’t you want these waters and this stream to flow from your life? Let justice roll down from your life, doing that which is right and good, and just for others, particularly those in need, according to God’s word and a reflection of God’s character. Allow righteousness, that which is pure and holy and good and honoring to God and honoring to others … Let righteousness like that be an ever-flowing stream.

Amos 5:23–24 Provides a Picture of Extravagant Justice

God, we pray for this in our lives, in our churches. We pray that we would be marked by ever flowing righteousness and justice rolling down from our lives and our lips, from our works like waters. God, we pray that you would keep us from singing our songs and lifting our hands in worship and carrying on religious observances while ignoring injustice in the world. We pray that you would help us to do justice and to love mercy and to live in righteousness. God, we pray that particularly as we see people in need around us. God, make us a people who are doing justice extravagantly, not just a little bit here and there, but in an overflowing way. And God, we pray that righteousness would be like an ever-flowing stream in our lives.

Praying for the Alagwa People

We pray specifically today for the Alagwa people of Tanzania, small people, group of 62,000 Muslims, very reserved people, slow to receive outsiders, who are farmers and often struggle with lack of water. God, help us to do justice for the Alagwa people. We pray for justice for them, for provision of clean water for their needs and living water in the gospel for their souls. God, we pray that they would be reached by the gospel, and we pray that that kind of gospel, reaching needs, meeting justice and righteousness, would flow from our lives and our churches until all the nations know you, Jesus, the just ruler of all. And they are clothed in your righteousness by faith in you. God, help us to worship you truly in a way that is pleasing and honoring to you with our songs, our instruments, and our lives. In Jesus’ name, we pray, according to your word in Amos 5:23 and 24. Amen.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.


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