Many a television preacher has made headlines by proclaiming that some disaster is the result of God becoming angry for some action someone took somewhere that the preacher has determined will arouse a large indignant response. The cynical among us might posit that those outrageous statements were made calculated on how much money they would bring in. The hubris of people saying they know God’s reasons for anything is an entirely different type of disaster.
Amos proclaims the Wrath of God loudly and in detail. And it is not an isolated city or group of people he points his boney finger at. It is every single country, every single people – including Israel, the “chosen ones”.
His repeated phrase is “Seek the Lord and live” and then he goes on to identify how Israel has not in Chapter 5.
“You that turn justice to wormwood and bring righteousness to the ground…Because you trample on the poor and take from them levies of grain…you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and push aside the needy at the gate."
And for these transgressions, the Lord rejects their offerings and takes them into exile.
This past week I noticed a FB posting from a colleague who questioned why he should help the poor [pay taxes] when they ‘decided not to acquire an employable skill’ and ‘had 4 kids they couldn’t afford’ and ‘ they don’t wish to work or abuse the help they are getting’. And he insists he is a Christian.
Has humankind changed at all since the time of Amos? Where are the Amoses of today? How do I “hate evil and love good, and establish justice at the gate” and respond to someone who says things like this? Am I being asked to be Amos to this person?
Let the words of my mouth [and my fingers] and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord.