Tag: Justice and righteousness
Scripture reading for September 14th: Amos 3-5
Amos, a country preacher, uses plain language that cuts to the chase! Country people don’t usually beat around the bush. They call it like it is. This is a good trait, but sometimes lacks tact in the eyes of those who are more refined! I imagine that Amos made a few people pretty mad! For instance, in Amos 4:1 he calls the women of Samaria “cows”. These women were likened to the well-fed cattle of Bashan, a farming area east of the Sea of Galilee. These women were demanding drinks from their husbands and were oppressing the poor and needy while they enjoyed an abundance. Amos promised them that God’s punishment was on the way.
Amos told the people to go up to Bethel and sin. They were religious and brought offerings that they boasted about as if they had produced them all by themselves. God had tried to correct them and get their attention, but to no avail! They would not return to God with humble and contrite hearts! (Amos 4:6, 9, 11) God had sent famines, plagues, war and trouble to wake them up but they failed to respond. The final call was for them to prepare to meet their God! (Amos 4:12) Amos then takes up a funeral lament for Israel as if she had died and met God! (Amos 5:1-3)
What was Amos’ remedy for these hardened religious people? He told them to seek the Lord and live! They needed to honor the God who made the stars, who speaks to the waters of the sea and pours them out on the land! (Amos 5:8-9) This God had power that should be feared and He should be revered! They were to seek good and not evil and they would live. God eternally hates evil and his wrath is always against it. God’s people must hate evil and injustice in evil times, and stand for what the Lord is for. (Amos 5:14-15)
Amos reproves this religious people again for saying that they longed for the day of the Lord! He told them that it would be a day of darkness, not light for them! (Amos 5:18) It would be like a man fleeing from a lion, only to meet a bear. These people were going through the motions and God hated their songs, festivals, feasts and offerings! Their hearts were not right! He wanted justice and righteousness that resulted from His people living by faith in the fear of the Lord! (Amos 5:24)
As we listen to this farmer preacher, we hear truth spoken in plain language. The times he lived in are a lot like ours. We need to be sure we are seeking the Lord with our hearts, and not just words and ritual. We must hate evil and love good! We should be working in our day and time for justice and help for the poor. The day of the Lord is coming! We must be prepared to meet our God!
“. . . prepare to meet your God, O Israel.” Amos 4:12b