1 Doom to those resting comfortably in Zion
and those trusting in Mount Samaria,
the chiefs of the nations,
to whom the house of Israel comes!
2 Cross over to Calneh and see;
from there go to Hamath the great;
then go down to Gath of the Philistines.
Are you better than these kingdoms?
Or is your territory greater than their territory?
3 Doom to those who ignore the evil day
and make violent rule draw near:
4 who lie on beds of ivory,
stretch out on their couches,
eat lambs from the flock,
and bull calves from the stall;
5 who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp,
and, like David, compose tunes on musical instruments;
6 who drink bowls of wine,
put the best of oils on themselves,
but who aren’t grieved over the ruin of Joseph!
7 Therefore, they will now be the first to be taken away,
and the feast of those who lounged at the table will pass away.
8 The Lord God has solemnly sworn,
says the Lord, the God of heavenly forces:
I reject the pride of Jacob.
I hate his fortresses.
I will hand over the city and all that is in it.
I was curious when scripture from the book of Amos came up for today. It feels like it has been a long time for me since reading this book and I was pleased to see how topical the prophets words and concerns still are for us today.
Amos believed that the Lord was the God of the entire world. The book is a radical message of the need for social justice and that still makes Amos an important prophet for bible readers today. It is believed that Amos lived in a village called Tekoa ten miles south of Jerusalem in Judah, but his prophetic activity took place in the northern kingdom of Israel. At the time of the scripture writing, Israel was enjoying a period of prosperity, but Amos correctly foresaw that a threat from Assyria would come ten years later.
Amos felt that the people of Israel needed to repent from the sin of social repression focusing on the treatment of one section of society by another. Our scripture verses point to Israel, and Judah, being no better off than other kingdoms that have fallen to an enemy (probably the Assyrians). Amos points the finger of accusation at those who luxuriate in ivory-decorated beds and indulge in feasting when they should be mourning the coming death and destruction which will leave few survivors.
In 2:6-7 Amos describes the wealthy selling the poor into slavery, cruelty instead of mercy. In 5:10,12 Amos describes a process where the leading men of the town gather at the gate to hold court and decide the fate of the accused and the taking of bribes instead of judging based on truth and fairness. In 5:11 he accuses people of excess taxation. One might summarize in part what Amos was describing as a corrupt judicial system, arbitrary legal code, and cruelty to the poor and oppressed.
by Clarence Beverage
For Pondering & Prayer
Winston Churchill’s famous words in a 1948 speech were “Those that fail to learn from History are doomed to repeat it.”
The Parable of the Ten Virgins In Matthew 25:1-13, which we heard read this past Sunday, seems to be a parallel from this perspective. The bible is full of God’s wisdom given to humanity to learn from and profit by. We are called to be light unto the world because light overcomes darkness.
“In our noisy world, it’s more important than ever to hone the skill of listening for deeper meaning: our relationships deepen, the world opens wider than ever before with possibilities, and we all grow toward unity and oneness with our shared human experiences. And when we get better at listening to others, we also improve our ability to listen to our own souls. We end up seeing, hearing, and knowing ourselves better, too. If you want someone to trust you, listen well. If you want to grow closer to someone, listen well. If you want your kids to tell you more, listen well. If you want to better give and receive love, listen well.” Ginger Rothhaas
Prayer: Lord, we pray for the power of your Spirit in our lives to give us strength and commitment to be in your Word and work to apply it in our daily lives. We thank you for the promise that our desire and love for you is not in vain but will bear fruit. Amen.