Hear this, you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land, saying, ‘When will the new moon be over so that we may sell grain; and the sabbath, so that we may offer wheat for sale?’” vss. 4-5aAmos 8:4-5a
When Amos, from the hill country of Judah, went to the prosperous kingdom of Israel to speak a word from the Lord, he couldn’t believe his eyes. These folks were the descendents of Abraham. Their ancestors had come through the wilderness with Moses and been given the land as a gift. They had been commissioned to care for the poor and provide for the needy. But rulers had forgotten their roots and had set up a system that allowed the rich to get richer and enjoy their country’s current unprecedented prosperity. Soon the people had begun to drift away from the Lord, exchanging faithfulness in favor of profit and gain. Even keeping the sabbath had become a pain, especially when it kept them from adding to their wealth. So Amos became an advocate for the poor and needy, speaking forcefully and eloquently to those who were their abusers. Of course he was ignored–that’s how it often is when wealth is built on the backs of the poor. But God doesn’t give up. Prophets are regularly called to speak out in protest–we’ve seen it even in our time. These descendents of Amos point out poverty and cry for reform–and sometimes, praise God, they are listened to, and the needy are lifted up.
Thought for the Day: Where have I encountered Amos-like prophets?