This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Israel, even for four, I will not relent.
They sell the innocent for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals. They trample on the heads of the poor as on the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed…. (Amos 2:6–7 NIV)
Today when we think of morality we often think of it in terms of sex. The two words are commonly placed alongside one another and we talk of sexual-morality. But in the era of Amos the prophet, the greatest immorality he addressed was injustice to the poor, to strangers and those who were destitute. The plight of the poor and disenfranchised is central to his prophesies.
At the time Amos of Tekoa was called by God, Israel was prosperous with many wealthy and well-off people, and yet indifference and disdain towards the poor was widespread. Money was king
(Amos 3:10,15;6:4–6), the poor were exploited
(Amos 4:1;5:11) and justice was perverted
(Amos 5:7,10;8:4–6). Amos implored Israel to love good and maintain justice
(Amos 5:14), because for God: all people matter and are valuable, both rich and poor; even-handed justice is to be shown without partiality; and luxury living with a disregard for those in need is selfish and callous.
The message of Amos written in the 8th century BCE speaks into our world in the 21st century CE and presents a serious challenge. As a member of the affluent West, what is my attitude towards the accumulation of wealth? How do I view those less fortunate than me? Whilst many Christian churches and organisations are reaching out to the poor, homeless, and others in need how do I as an individual Christian respond? After all the heart of God is to be ‘A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows’
(Psalm 68:5), and take up the case of the poor and needy
(Proverbs 22:22–23). Perhaps I need to look at myself and weigh up my own concept of morality so that I include in the forefront of my attitude and actions a concern for those who are impoverished, how about you?
Have a good week caring for those in need,
Father, you love and have great concern for those who orphaned, abandoned, destitute, forgotten, overlooked and misjudged. Help us to be your ears to listen to their cries. Help us to be your voice speaking out love and acceptance. Help us to be your feet walking alongside side those in need. Help us to be your hands to clothe, feed and shelter them. In Jesus’s name we pray,