Submitted by Visitor (not verified) on Mon, 07/12/2009 – 11:58
Bible Book: Amos
Verse: 1 – 14
Text: Amos 8:1-14
For “New Testament believers” Amos 8:7-12, a passage about God’s anger, may sound odd. We may even be tempted to disregard such a passage “because we know God is a God of grace and forgiveness”. But that would be a careless reading of the Bible. This is clearly an important passage about God’s anger.
Why is God so angry?
We find the answer in verse 4: “Hear this, you who trample upon the needy, and bring the poor of the land to an end”. What seems to us to be a “negative” message of God’s anger in verses 7-12 is in fact corresponding to God’s
It reminds me of the photography lessons my older brother used to give me when I was a child: “You first develop the film to get a negative. From this negative you print the photo or positive.” In those days you could not get a photo or “positive” without a negative. In the same way we are able to understand more about God’s compassion for the needy and the poor, when we have taken notice of his anger when the needy are trampled upon.
The man whom God calls from his flock of sheep to prophesy unto Israel (cf Amos 7:14-15) understands this, so he is not afraid to preach against the many public wrongs being committed in Israel. The leaders in Israel are “ripe for the judgment” (cf verses 1-2) because they trample upon the needy (verse 4), they disregard the Sabbath (verse 5a), they are corrupt in their business practices (verse 5b) and they have no regard for the plight of the poor (verse 6).
Some time ago I read a plea from a prominent church leader that we should be angered whenever we see anybody suffering from the crimes of others and not only when there have been crimes against “our own people”. This is how we will show whether we are truly concerned about those who are vulnerable and about whether there is justice.
It is in our attitudes and actions towards the poor and needy, the vulnerable, and what we do on their behalf that we reflect – or do not reflect – the image of Jesus.
To think about (or discuss): In what practical way can you demonstrate your concern for vulnerable people?
Author: N du Toit (Ds)