Monday: Religion as Usual
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Read Amos 5:23-24Hosea 6:6Matthew 9:13Psalm 51:17.

Image © Rolf Jansson from GoodSalt.com

Image © Rolf Jansson from GoodSalt.com

What are these texts saying? More important, how can the principle here be applied directly to our own spiritual life today, as Seventh-day Adventists? That is, in what ways might we be guilty of doing exactly what is warned about here? (Remember, too, that it is very easy to be self-deceived in this area).

More than most other books of the Bible, Amos focuses on injustice, cruelty, and inhumanity. It also offers the divine perspective on such practices. Amos preached that God despised the empty rituals of the people’s dead formalism, and He called upon them to reform. The Lord was not pleased by outward and empty forms of worship offered to Him by those who at the same time were oppressing others for the sake of personal gain. Their lives revealed that they missed the whole point of what it means to be followers of Yahweh; they also totally misunderstood the deeper meaning of His law.

Indeed, God rejected their religious rituals because they did not flow from lives of faith. The climactic words in Amos 5:14-15 are the command to seek the Lord and live. Seeking the Lord is contrasted with making pilgrimages to the famous religious centers in Bethel, Gilgal, and Beersheba (Amos 5:5), three cities with their sanctuaries that were destined for destruction.

What God really wanted was justice and righteousness in the land. The command to “seek the Lord” parallels the one to “seek good.” The Lord called on the remnant to distance themselves from evil practices and religious formalism and, instead, to let justice flow like a river and righteousness flow like a never-failing stream. While justice concerns the establishment of what is right before God, righteousness is the quality of life in relationship to God and others in the community. The picture presented here is that of a religious people whose religion had degraded into nothing but forms and rites without the change of heart that must accompany true faith. (See Deut. 10:16.)

How careful we must be.

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Monday: Religion as Usual — 14 Comments

  1. Some of us who are born in church really dont know the meaning of pure religion. we take it as a ritual and do it just for the sake of it. Remember the Israelites?They abused the privilege that God set before them. They took it for granted.Lets be wise and work inwardly in our hearts to realise God's will.

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    • Not only we that were born in the church my dear brother, this can be said of many of our brothers and sisters.Lets all begin to examine our self, get out of our comfort zones for a moment and start worshiping God in spirit and in truth. May God help us all.

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  2. A comment in the light today's lesson: Indeed the cause of much of the perplexities in the churches today is the fact that there are many who are lost inside like that lost coin. Many were baptised but they were merely buried alive. If we are truly converted we will not look at how little we can do for God but will spare no pains to do as much as we can for the cause of Christ so help us God amen.

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  3. Moderator's Note: "Please use full names when commenting. Thank you."

    the Lord is calling upon us (we seventh-day adventists) through this monday lesson to do not just do our usual Church rituals but it is time to Wake up and to practice justice and be rightous people. I thinks this message touched within every true seventh-day adventist as i too to hear this last message that the lord is telling us in this week lesson, Bothers and sisters is time to stop doing bad things but to Wake up please tell to every believer that the lord is near to come let us prepare to meet Him

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  4. Really praise is the salt of any worship, because in praising God your soul is aligned to feel God,s presence. it make the service lifely and you see people open their mind and commune with God. You will feel the presence of God in you. Brethren we should praise God with everything in us like the ever flowing river.Even the ritualist praise their demi gods how much more the Almighty God who created heaven and earth.

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  5. Notice God calls Israel "virgin" because He remembers her(Israel) back in the days when she was faithful to Him. Normally God would be her defender, but she has abandoned God that is Why Israel have no one to pick her up. Simply because they had abandoned authentic spiritual worshiping life of having a true relationship with God and resorted to cheap outward religion full of dramatic performances and rituals. Amos 5:21-27 describes how God hated Israel’s worship.

    Amos 5: 21-22 may sound like God is rejecting the Old Testament equivalent of grace. And Amos 5: 23 Is He against noisy songs? (the hymns sang in church)?

    My answer is NO. God is rejecting superficial; church going, singing praise songs, giving offerings, even praying. God wants worship, praise, offerings and prayer to arise from our true relationship with Him not a mere show.

    It is a call to the Adventists today as we are the Israel of this generation as we pride in Sabbath keeping does justice flow like a river and righteousness flow like a never failing stream from the depth of our hearts or our worship has been degraded into nothing but forms and rites without change of heart? Let each reader examine him/herself and answer self and let each heed to Amos’ call 5:4 otherwise Amos 5:27 will apply.

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  6. I was born into our faith and growing up only knew and learned from the examples around me and now that i am a young adult studying for myself i am transforming - letting go of old thoughts and habits (i.e. superiority complex) and begin to truly understand what GOD wants from us and I am committed to reminding the church of that. Christ is love so we must be love as well.

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  7. well the lesson is good and i emphasis that Adventists show love towards their God and the light should shine all over them so that the world can see fruits to them. this will help in hating what is evil hence doing good
    may God bless

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  8. What should a religion of any kind express about the deity worshipped? In my opinion, there are three things to look for:
    1.It's nature which represents it's qualities and characteristics.
    2.It's level of influence (major or minor).
    3.It's relationship with mankind in general.

    If, for instance, I do not know this diety personally, what evidence do I look for to prove it's existence?
    1.It's nature expressed through it's worshipers.
    2.The level of influence upon it's worshipers.
    3.Interaction of the worshipers with the rest of mankind.

    If what is being taught about this diety lines up with the lifestyle of each follower and it is sincere, that is the kind of religion that I may join. As a Christian, my God fits this discription just fine. It's us that make these points contradictory.

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  9. Praise God, and give glory, honour and power to Him.
    The image depicted here on Mondays Lesson is experienced in all churches today. Simply coming to church on Sabbath, singing because everyone is singing, kneeling for prayer because we are told to do so and snoring away with heads swaying from side to side as the Word of God is preached. At the end of Service we exit the Church and never to come back for the closing Sabbath.
    I, personnally experienced that when I don't spend quality time with the Word of God during the week and prepare myself for the coming Sabbath to feast on the Word of God with other fellow believers.

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  10. We don't have to drop out of church because the one who has 'it all together' has called us a bench warmer. No we keep going to church because we are putting Christ 1st, last, and always. Let them think we are just bench warmers. Who cares what they think, Christ is abiding in us.

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  11. I think this applies to every one of us, because sometimes those of us born Adventist attend church as a ritual, we don't really know the great gift we have, we just believe that the Seventh-day Adventist church is the remnant church of God. We are already saved, but it's wrong, we have to know that we must live a Godly life in order to be saved. I pray the good God helps us to live a good life.

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  12. We should be a tool in Christ's hand. To give our life in His disposition. He will do His will in us. It is hard to judge experiences of life because God sees the hidden inner man. If nonbelievers judge us how we live that is their problem.

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