September 16

Amos 8:4-7

“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? We will make the ephah small and the shekel great, and practice deceit with false balances…’” vss. 4-5

When Amos wandered out of Judah into the kingdom of Israel bring with him a word from the Lord, he was likely blown away by the wealth and prosperity he encountered. These were the golden years of King Jeroboam II, the glory years of Israel. Amos was not impressed with Israel’s riches and believed that they had been gained at the expense of the poor. Clever business leaders were exploiting the masses by manipulating the exchange rates and operating a multitude of scams. It was the rich who had prospered and their greed knew no bounds. This sad story hasn’t changed much through the centuries. Today we’re regularly reminded of oligarchs, hedge fund managers, and corporate raiders who use politicians and lobbyists to tilt the economic playing field in their favor. Always it’s the poor who pay the price–lacking a voice and without political capital there’s little they can do to avoid exploitation. Thankfully Amos-like prophets regularly show up to speak on their behalf. It’s good to know that at least some still share that biblical vision of an equitable distribution of wealth. We pray that their warnings will be heard!

Thought for the Day: How much am I willing to share with the poor?

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