For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, because they sell the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of sandals. – Amos 2:6
Scripture reading: Amos 2:6-8
Amos paints a devastating picture of injustice. Wealthy creditors preyed upon the poor, forcing them into slavery for the smallest of debts. The law did nothing to protect the little guy as court verdicts could be bought by the wealthy. Daughters, robbed of the protection of their fathers, were used and abused by shameless men. Meanwhile, at the houses of worship, Israelites reveled on the backs of the poor – sleeping on their garments and drinking their wine.
Whenever a nation turns away from the Lord, the weak and vulnerable suffer the most. The Law of Moses provided explicit protection for the poor, the orphan, and the widow. God set Himself apart from all the other gods of the nations as “a father of the fatherless, a defender of widows” (Psalm 68:5). But sin is a tyrant that preys on those who need our protection the most: preborn children, trafficked girls, the neglected elderly, to name a few. His anger burns against the injustice in our nations as it did against Israel in the days of Amos.
But we should not forget that Amos was directing his message to the church, God’s covenant people. We must allow God’s gaze to search our hearts and lives. Do you open your hand and home to the needy? What plays on your computer screen? Are you refusing to forgive a brother as God in Christ forgave you? Are you upright in your business dealings?
The world’s greatest need is also our greatest need: a Saviour from the guilt and tyranny of sin.
Suggestions for prayer
Pray for God to arise and defend the oppressed. Ask Him to show you where you are complicit in the injustice in the land and for opportunities to do justice and love mercy.