Tuesday

“But you have turned justice into poison and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood” (v. 12)

Amos 6:1-14 Tuesday 3 June 2014


Background

You can understand why the rich and powerful didn't like Amos.In this passage he issues a severe warning to those who feel secureand complacent in their riches. To the "notables of the first ofthe nations" (v. 1) he asks them whether Israel really is anydifferent from places such as Calneh and Hamath, also complacent intheir power, but also soon to be stripped of their independence.The people of Israel, who have broken the Covenant with God, havemade Israel into nothing special.

Then Amos turns his attention to the idle rich (verses 4-7). Inscathing tones he criticises those who are so profligate as to eatmeat regularly, rather than offer it up in sacrifice or save it fordays of rejoicing.

The rich and powerful feel secure in their positions. Israel ispeaceful, even prosperous. But whilst they have been enjoying theirriches, they have been ignoring what has been happening to Israel.They haven't been disturbed by the mistreatment of the poorest.They have turned "justice into poison". The covenant with God isall about inter-connectedness. The quality of Israel's relationshipwith God depends to some extent on the relationships within thecommunity. Amos warns here that the wealthy have separatedthemselves from the needs of others. God's distress at themistreatment of those who need justice will result in terriblejudgement - not just for the individuals concerned, but for thewhole nation.

The idle rich who were the first to benefit from the good timeswill be the first to be hit by the devastation and exile promisedby God (verse 7).

This resonates with the message of churches in response to theeconomic crisis: that those who gained least during the boom yearsshould not suffer first and most during a recession. Sadly thegrowth in poverty - and inequality - in the UK suggests we have notlearned this lesson.


To Ponder

  • How do you think Amos was heard by those who felt comfortableor had earned their position?
  • What do you put your comfort and security in? Do these comefrom God?
  • What challenges do this passage offer our society and worldtoday?
Previous Page Monday
Next Page Wednesday