Digging in Deeper: Amos 5:21-24

“I hate, I despise, your feasts! I can’t stand the stench of your solemn assemblies. Even if you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; I will have no regard for your fellowship offerings of fattened cattle. Take away from me the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice flow like water, and righteousness, like an unfailing stream.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever received a gift you really didn’t want? I remember playing a big family White Elephant game when I was growing up. I can’t remember exactly what the first gift I opened was, but it was something pretty cool and I was pleased. But then, my uncle used his turn to steal it for my cousin. The second gift I opened was literally a paperweight. I was crushed. I may have gotten a gift, but I most decidedly did not want it. That was a little bit like how God felt about the worship of the Israelites here. He wanted one thing, but they kept giving Him another; and He wasn’t happy about it.

Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: Amos 4:4-5

“Come to Bethel and rebel; rebel even more at Gilgal! Bring your sacrifices every morning, your tenths every three days. Offer leavened bread as a thank offering, and loudly proclaim your freewill offerings, for that is what you Israelites love to do! This is the declaration of the Lord God.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever done the right thing in the wrong place? I was watching one of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies with my boys the other day. In one scene, the main character was at a hotel with his family. After a misadventure out in the parking lot late one night, he went back to his room and crawled in bed with his parents only to discover the next morning that it wasn’t his room at all. He had spent the night with another family. That was a pretty funny episode, but as Israel reminds us here, doing things that look right in the wrong places can actually be a pretty dangerous thing as well.

Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: Isaiah 44:9

“All who make idols are nothing, and what they treasure benefits no one. Their witnesses do not see or know anything, so they will be put to shame.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

This is one of my favorite passages in Isaiah. Take a minute, click the link above, and read from here all the way through v. 23. I can’t read this section without chuckling a bit to myself at the sarcasm dripping from the pages. Most often, when we encounter idolatry in the Scriptures it is being condemned. Here it is mocked. Isaiah is flat out making fun of idolaters. So, why is this on my mind this morning? Because we have recently been treated to an example of what Isaiah was saying.

Read the rest…

Morning Musing: Hosea 10:1

“Israel is a lush vine; it yields fruit for itself. The more his fruit increased, the more he increased the altars. The better his land produced, the better they made the sacred pillars.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you experienced success before? That’s a bit of an open-ended question. What kind of success? There are many different kinds: relational, financial, vocational, social, athletic, parental, life generally. Okay, let me narrow the question in a bit: Have you experienced success before? See what I did there? That’s not really the question I’m interested in right now. Here’s that one: Where did that success come from? Here’s why that matters: If you know where your success originates, you can experience more of it more easily.

Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: Hosea 7:2

“But they never consider that I remember all their evil. Now their actions are all around them; they are right in front of my face.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Do you know what is some good advice: Don’t offend someone with a long memory. Generally speaking, we have a fairly remarkable ability to remember bad or hurtful things that have happened to us. Even a small slight can stick with us for a long time. If we’re not careful, it can become the lens through which we see not only the person who offended us, but everyone with whom we come into contact. Now, when we’re dealing with a person this isn’t good, but it’s not such a terrible deal. When it comes to God, the idea that this kind of thing might even possibly happen is a great deal more uncomfortable of a thought.

Read the rest…