It is commonly believed by many that so long as a person is religious — in some generic way — he is well-pleasing to God. The notion is popular that man is free to direct his own manner of service to the Creator.

And for many, there is little connection between one’s religious exercises and his daily life. Worship God — then live as you please — is the sentiment of legions.

Amos goes right to the heart of this philosophy when he speaks for God:

“I hate, I despise your feasts, and I will take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Yes, though you offer me your burnt-offerings and meal-offerings, I will not accept them; neither will I regard the peace-offerings of your fat beasts” (Amos 5:21,22).

Insincere worship — worship divorced from justice and righteousness (see verse 24) — is vain. Thus, block off these two verses and in your margin note: Religious ritualism, detached from godly living, is vain.