Idols and justice are common themes in the Bible. It is in our society as well, but idolatry comes more in the form of pride and greed. Who or what do we put first in our lives? And, how do we treat others? These are two questions that God was addressing through Amos.
Hear this word, you cows of Bashan, who are on the mountain of Samaria, who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, who say to your husbands, “Bring wine, let us drink!” The Lord GOD has sworn by His holiness: “Behold, the days shall come upon you when He will take you away with fishhooks, and your posterity with fishhooks. You will go out through broken walls, each one straight ahead of her, and you will be cast into Harmon,” says the LORD.
God is looking down on us to see how we are using the blessings given to us. Are we keeping it to ourselves for our own self interests? Are we helping those in need? The people of Israel did not, so God sent a prophet. They did not heed him and within two years, Jeroboam the king died and within 30 years, Israel was conquered by Assyria.
“Proclaim in the palaces at Ashdod, and in the palaces in the land of Egypt, and say: ‘Assemble on the mountains of Samaria; see great tumults in her midst, and the oppressed within her. For they do not know to do right,’ says the LORD, ‘who store up violence and robbery in their palaces.’ ” Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “An adversary shall be all around the land; he shall sap your strength from you, and your palaces shall be plundered.”
God is a God of compassion and wants us to show compassion. He is also a just God and those who are unjust will suffer consequences. Here in this country we have our own idols…stuff! As this country has grown rich, it is also becoming poor. We as a country are so focused on “what can you do for me?” that we turn our backs on those in need and on God. We want all the comforts. We don’t want others telling us that we can’t do this or can’t have that. We want to live the way we want. But God has a different plan. He wants us to acknowledge Him. He wants us to love God and love others. He wants us to put others’ needs ahead of ourselves. Like, Israel, this country has become prideful and uncaring. Our country is turning away from God and little by little we have been removing God from our land and our lives.
He made the Pleiades and Orion; He turns the shadow of death into morning and makes the day dark as night; He calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the face of the earth; the LORD is His name. He rains ruin upon the strong, so that fury comes upon the fortress.
They hate the one who rebukes in the gate, and they abhor the one who speaks uprightly. Therefore, because you tread down the poor and take grain taxes from him, though you have built houses of hewn stone, yet you shall not dwell in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink wine from them. For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: Afflicting the just and taking bribes; diverting the poor from justice at the gate. Therefore the prudent keep silent at that time, for it is an evil time.
Seek good and not evil, that you may live; so the LORD God of hosts will be with you, as you have spoken. Hate evil, love good; establish justice in the gate. It may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
With all that God is and all that He does, shouldn’t we listen to Him? He created all things, He gives us what we need, He provides. He will hold us accountable at one point or another. Let us seek good and not evil. Our choices in life should be based on that, especially God’s children
For behold, He who forms mountains, and creates the wind, who declares to man what his thought is, and makes the morning darkness, who treads the high places of the earth—The LORD God of hosts is His name.
Let us remember who God is and what He has done. Since He has shown us grace, let us show grace to others. Let us share the love of Christ, who gave Himself for us (“While we were sinners, Christ died for us.”). Let us be His hands and feet. The church is the body of Christ. It is not just an event or a building that we go to each Sunday. We need to be the church every day.
Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! For what good is the day of the LORD to you? It will be darkness, and not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him! Or as though he went into the house, leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him! Is not the day of the LORD darkness, and not light? Is it not very dark, with no brightness in it?
“I hate, I despise your feast days, and I do not savor your sacred assemblies. Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them, nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs, for I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments. But let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.
God does not care about how religious we are. It’s not about the songs we sing or the sermons we hear. He doesn’t want us to just go through the motions. Do we apply it to our lives? Do we have a relationship with Him? He wants our hearts. One day Jesus will return. He will judge the earth. Many think He will come to save the earth. He has already done that. Have we accepted that gift? Are we ready for the Day of the Lord?
For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise.
So as we go to church, as we live our lives, let us consider this. He is not pleased with hypocrisy. He is pleased with humility and compassion. He is pleased with our desire to love Him and follow Him. We are not saved by the things we do. We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ, by having a relationship with Him. Through our faith, the Holy Spirit will do good works. Through the Holy Spirit, we can love others. Let us be the church that God intends us to be.