“Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.” – Amos 5:23 [NIV]
This verse probably is not one that could be found on an inspirational Christian verse card to be given away as a gift to share Jesus. It might be hard to read God saying “away” in regard to the songs you sing. The word “noise” stands out to me, because noise is typically a word we say when we don’t like the sound something makes—when something is troubling us. The car is making a noise so we take it to the shop. The kids are making noise so I cannot hear the person on the telephone. The floorboard is making some noise because it’s out of place. The computer is making a loud noise because it’s been used hard over the years.
So why would God not want the songs we sing to Him? Why would He call our songs noise, as if they are painful to His ears? Like today, the people in Amos’ time thought it was not so bad to sing to God in sinful disobedience. The belief was and still today is that even if we walk in disobedience, that our songs and sacrifices will be sufficient and acceptable.
Yet again and again we read that God desires love and obedience over sacrifices. We read in 1 Samuel 15:22: “But Samuel replied: ‘Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams’” (NIV). Hosea 6:6 tells us what God wants: “I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings” (NLT). First we must love and obey, and then we would want to sing praises out of that love. If we have a heart for the Lord, the rest will follow. We sing with noise when we come before Him without a heart devoted for Him, in willful disobedience. He wants you to know Him. He wants to have a relationship with you. He doesn’t want to be a small part of your life—He wants to be your life. Today, are you offering Him you or are you offering Him some noise?