Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. (Amos 5:23)

OVER EIGHT HUNDRED YEARS separates the biblical books of Amos and Matthew. Despite many wars, kingdoms dividing, and cultures changing, the God that is revealed in these Old and New Testament passages never changed; His message in Amos is the same in Matthew.

Within these passages, we see that what God hates and loves stands in contrast to what Israel hated and loved. In Amos, the Israelites loved to sacrifice and boast about their acts (4:4–5), yet God hated their sacrifices (5:21–23). And in Matthew, this same spirit of hypocrisy and disregard for God’s ways is displayed in 23:19, where Jesus confronted the Pharisees’ inconsistent standards of holiness and righteousness. They loved what God hates, and they hated (or had forgotten) what God loves.

Like the Pharisees, we too can get caught up in our own methods, traditions, and selfish ambitions—sometimes even with good intentions—while forgetting about the ways of God. What is the mint, dill, or cumin in your life (v. 23)? Have you been so distracted by the method or ritual that you’ve forgotten about the One who makes things sacred?

May we focus on His justice, mercy, and faithfulness, and may we love what He loves!

Journal your response to Thomas