Let justice roll like a river, righteousness like a never ending stream
Prophet Amos was from Tekoa, (Amos 1:1) about 11 miles from Jerusalem. He was sent to announce God’s judgement on the northern kingdom, Israel. His main ministry was carried out around 760 BC -750 BC. Amos was a vigorous spokesman for God’s justice and righteousness.
A. Judgement on Israel.
- They sell the needy for a pair of sandles. Amos 2:6.
Instead of helping the poor, they were mistreated or exploited.
- Deny justice to the poor. Amos 2:7.
Helping and protecting the poor was expected from them but….
- Father and son use the same girl. 2:7. Immortality…
- They lie down beside every altar on garments taken as pledge. Amos 2:8.
The law prohibited keeping a man’s cloak overnight as a pledge.(Exodus 22:26,27)
- Oppressing the poor and crushing the needy. Amos 4:1.
- Trample the poor, built stone mansions. Amos 5:11.
Rich had winter house, summer house, houses and mansions adorned with ivory. Amos 3:15. Many of them earned this by exploiting the poor.
- Hoard plunder and loot in the fortresses. Amos 3:10.
The prosperity of Israel’s wealthy depended on oppression and looting.
- Dishonesty in business.
a. Using wrong measures. Amos 8:5.
b. Exhorbitant prizes – selling at a very high margin. 8:5.
c. Cheating with dishonest scales. 8:5.
d. “Selling even the sweepings with the wheat.” 8:6.
B. What does God hate?
- I hate, I despise your religious feasts Amos 5:21.
God was offended by their religious ceremonialism.
- I have no regard for your offerings. 5:22.
They thought God would be happy if they give God His share.
- Away with the noise of your songs. 5:23. When their life was not showing the qualities of a just and righteous God, their song became a noise. Outward religion without any inward transformation.
Every year, during the passion week and on Good Friday, Christians all over the world remember the sufferings and crucifixion of Jesus. There were millions who used to attend special prayers and processions. Many others who used to carry a wooden cross and walk miles, some even actually get beaten and even get hung on a cross for sometime. How many Good Friday programmes have we attended in our life? Is there any real change in our life after attending these religious programmes or is it only an outward religious ceremony?
C. What is God asking?
- Hate evil, love good, maintain justice.. Amos 5:15.
- Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never ending stream. Amos 5:24. Not once in a while but it should be practiced continuously. Through the prophet Amos, God warned them that if they continue in sin, they will be punished. God wanted them to repent and return to HIM.
What were some areas where we have failed to show God’s love, justice, righteousness and concern to the poor? What are the changes we are going to make from today onwards?
Are we aware and concerned about millions of poor, oppressed, illiterate, people without proper food, shelter, clothing, millions who never heard about a loving GOD?
LET US REFLECT THE LOVE, JUSTICE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN AND THROUGH OUR LIFE.