“Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them.
Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
These verses are hard hitting! God is talking to his people, Israel, and is effectively saying “You have all your priorities wrong.”
The Message version says it like this:
“I can’t stand your religious meetings. I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions. I want nothing to do with your religion projects, your pretentious slogans and goals. I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes, your public relations and image making.
I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music. When was the last time you sang to me? Do you know what I want? I want justice—oceans of it. I want fairness—rivers of it.”
Today is World International Justice Day. Granted, it’s not the most widely celebrated holiday but one that should remind us as Christians what should be at the core of our faith; not just acts of worship and spiritual events, but a heart which is connected to the things that matter most to God.
There’s nothing wrong with music, worship, meetings – in fact, all those are important to God and even commanded by him. But the people of Israel were so fixated on those events and practices that they’d missed the meaning behind them.
A passion for injustice is central to the Christian faith. This verse is just one of many passages of Scripture that challenge and stir God’s people towards caring for those who need help and standing up for those who have no voice. Whether it’s our brothers and sisters in the persecuted church or a work colleague wrongly accused, a passion for justice and righteousness is a mark of follower of Jesus.