“I hate, I reject your festivals…Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (5:21a, 23-24)
I don’t think this passage needs any further discussion. It’s a “drop the mic” moment, to me. We can get really carried away, and off track, when it comes to what we think the LORD wants from us.
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)
I know I reference this a lot, but I also frequently feel my heart asking God, what is good?? What do you want from me?? And He just points me back to this.
Let it sink in that He uses the word hate in 5:21. He hates their festivals, their worship music is a headache. “Don’t dance around and claim to be my people, going through the motions, when you have entirely missed the point of what I am about!” Justice. Mercy. Humility. Righteousness.
Remember the Bible Project saying the Hebrew word for righteousness meant: “right relationship; equality despite social differences”. And the Hebrew word for justice was: “concrete actions you take to correct injustice and create righteousness.”
I dare say this, applies to us today, making it displeasing to the LORD to march around, doing religious, churchy things, and staying neutral on issues of injustice, or even denying that it happens.
“Pure and undefined religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:27)
How can you pursue right relationships and equality in your sphere of influence? In what ways could you branch out of your usual “sphere?” It is a good habit to wrestle with these passages regularly. Feel the heart of the Father. It’s wonderful to sing, sacrifice and make music, just remember what kind of music He likes.