Tuesday, October 15, 2013

justice and repentance

Good evening sisters and brothers,
Amos is a real favorite of mine because he is scorching in his preaching against the injustice he saw in his home country. In 8th century (700-800 BC) the southern kingdom of Judah was doing well economically. The religious and political elite felt favored by God, so they figured they were doing things right. Amos tells them that they are wrong. A society's righteousness is not defined by how wealthy or successful it is, but by how it treats the poorest and most vulnerable. Israel's law (which instructs, but doesn't bind Christians) holds up values of protection and care for the poor and rejects profiting on other people's vulnerability. Amos calls Judah to account for how they treat the poor in powerful language. For Judah then and for us now, this is a call to repentance. I pray that each of us individually and our nation as a whole would hear God's call to repent and invitation to justice.

God bless,

Amos 2:4-13
4Thus says the Lord: For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; because they have rejected the law of the Lord, and have not kept his statutes, but they have been led astray by the same lies after which their ancestors walked. 5So I will send a fire on Judah, and it shall devour the strongholds of Jerusalem. 6Thus says the Lord: For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; because they sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals— 7they who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth, and push the afflicted out of the way; father and son go in to the same girl, so that my holy name is profaned; 8they lay themselves down beside every altar on garments taken in pledge; and in the house of their God they drink wine bought with fines they imposed.

9Yet I destroyed the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of cedars, and who was as strong as oaks; I destroyed his fruit above, and his roots beneath. 10Also I brought you up out of the land of Egypt, and led you forty years in the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite. 11And I raised up some of your children to be prophets and some of your youths to be nazirites. Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel? says the Lord. 12But you made the nazirites drink wine, and commanded the prophets, saying, “You shall not prophesy.” 13So, I will press you down in your place, just as a cart presses down when it is full of sheaves.

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