Mirrors and Windows

Amos 5:21-24 NIV

21    “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me.

22    Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them.  Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them.

23    Away with the noise of your songs!  I will not listen to the music of your harps.

24    But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!

Amos 1:1 NIV – The words of Amos, one of the shepherds of Tekoa—the vision he saw concerning Israel two years before the earthquake, when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel.

Amos 7:10-17 NIV10 Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent a message to Jeroboam king of Israel: “Amos is raising a conspiracy against you in the very heart of Israel. The land cannot bear all his words. 11 For this is what Amos is saying: “‘Jeroboam will die by the sword, and Israel will surely go into exile, away from their native land.’” 12 Then Amaziah said to Amos, “Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there. 13 Don’t prophesy anymore at Bethel, because this is the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom.” 14 Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. 15 But the Lord took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ 16 Now then, hear the word of the Lord. You say, “‘Do not prophesy against Israel, and stop preaching against the descendants of Isaac.’  17 “Therefore this is what the Lord says: “‘Your wife will become a prostitute in the city, and your sons and daughters will fall by the sword.  Your land will be measured and divided up, and you yourself will die in a pagan country.  And Israel will surely go into exile, away from their native land.’”

Amos 5:10-13 NIV10 There are those who hate the one who upholds justice in court and detest the one who tells the truth.  11 You levy a straw tax on the poor and impose a tax on their grain.  Therefore, though you have built stone mansions, you will not live in them; though you have planted lush vineyards, you will not drink their wine.  12 For I know how many are your offenses and how great your sins.  There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes and deprive the poor of justice in the courts.  13 Therefore the prudent keep quiet in such times, for the times are evil.

Genesis 18:19 NIV – For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”

Psalm 33:5 NIV – The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.

Psalm 99:4 NIV – The King is mighty, he loves justice— you have established equity; in Jacob you have done what is just and right.

Proverbs 21:3 NIV – To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

Jeremiah 22:3 NIV – This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.

Levels on which we all live:

I. Private life – What we think – Rightness

Matthew 5:20 NIV – For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 23:23-25 NIV23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. 25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.

The Religion of the Pharisee was not good enough because it did not go deep enough

II. Personal life – How we behave – Rightness

III. Public life – how we treat others – Justice

Matthew 23:23-27 NIV23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.  25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.  27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.

Both sin and righteousness are an inside job

Righteousness is our inner life with God

Justice is our outer life with others

Justice is a commitment to social fairness, equity and repair

Mark 12:30-31 NIV30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

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