Every time that I read Amos 5, I am struck by what God says at the end of the passage concerning the instrumental music that His people offer to Him in their worship. Although I am still working on understanding the full significance of this passage for the debates about worship music in our day, I am convinced that it has great relevance to those issues.
Amos 5 and Divine Attentiveness to Instrumental Music
Because of the extreme offensiveness of His people’s religious hypocrisy, God made known that He intensely detested their ungodly worship. Tellingly, He said that He would not accept the things that they would offer Him:
Amos 5:21 I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.
22 Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts.
23 Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.
24 But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.
Remarkably, God rebuked His people by saying that He hated the special occasions of divine worship that He Himself had ordained for them!
It is noteworthy that God specifies here that He commanded them to take away the noise of their songs from Him and made known that He would not listen to the instrumental music that they would offer up to Him in their hypocritical worship. By direct and necessary implication, verse 23 reveals that God listens intently to the instrumental music that His people use in their worshiping Him and any music that is part of divine worship must be music that is a delight to Him.
Contrary to the notions that some believers seem to have, this passage makes clear that believers cannot legitimately hold that God only cares about the words that are sung to Him and doesn’t pay attention to the instrumental music that is used to worship Him. God has made known plainly in Amos 5:23 (and in other passages) that He does pay attention to the instrumental music used to worship Him!