The Coming Day of Bitter Mourning

This is what the Lord God showed me: behold, a basket of summer fruit. And he said, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then the Lord said to me,

“The end[a] has come upon my people Israel;
    I will never again pass by them.
The songs of the temple[b] shall become wailings[c] in that day,”
declares the Lord God.
“So many dead bodies!”
“They are thrown everywhere!”
“Silence!”

Hear this, you who trample on the needy
    and bring the poor of the land to an end,
saying, “When will the new moon be over,
    that we may sell grain?
And the Sabbath,
    that we may offer wheat for sale,
that we may make the ephah small and the shekel[d] great
    and deal deceitfully with false balances,
that we may buy the poor for silver
    and the needy for a pair of sandals
    and sell the chaff of the wheat?”

The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
“Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.
Shall not the land tremble on this account,
    and everyone mourn who dwells in it,
and all of it rise like the Nile,
    and be tossed about and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt?”

“And on that day,” declares the Lord God,
    “I will make the sun go down at noon
    and darken the earth in broad daylight.
10 I will turn your feasts into mourning
    and all your songs into lamentation;
I will bring sackcloth on every waist
    and baldness on every head;
I will make it like the mourning for an only son
    and the end of it like a bitter day.

11 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God,
    “when I will send a famine on the land—
not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,
    but of hearing the words of the Lord.
12 They shall wander from sea to sea,
    and from north to east;
they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord,
    but they shall not find it.

13 “In that day the lovely virgins and the young men
    shall faint for thirst.
14 Those who swear by the Guilt of Samaria,
    and say, ‘As your god lives, O Dan,’
and, ‘As the Way of Beersheba lives,’
    they shall fall, and never rise again.”

–Devotion–

In this chapter we see a little more clearly just how Israel has corrupted the justice and righteousness of God.  They are being economically unrighteous.  They are using fixed scales when they measure the grain–to their advantage.  They are bringing the poor and needy to an end in the land rather than leaving the end-rows in the field for their benefit.  All-in-all they are being foolish.  And, after some reading and research, I found that the title “fool” was a title given to people who believed God had no power, or did not exist at all.  That is exactly what Israel is doing.  They have heard his Words in the Torah, or Law, and now they are acting as if His Word is impotent to determine their practice and compassion.  So, I will say, and not Amos, that they are being fools. 

This passage should have a great impact on us Christians that are regularly engaged in the economics of this society and culture.  Is our calling to make the needy and poor come to nothing?  Is our place to take from some for the benefit of others, or even ourselves economically?  Are we to fix the scales in our advantage as Christians and acts as if God did not exist?  No.  If it was unfit for Israel back then and brought the wrath of God, it will lead to the same this day.  Therefore, if you are a business person or engaged in commerce, be faithful and fear God and love your neighbor more than the bottom line, which is the God of American Economics. 

Pastor Beltz

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