October 5

Amos 5:10-15

“Therefore because you trample on the poor and take from them levies of grain, you have built houses of hewn stone, but you shall not live in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine.” vs. 11

Amos came with an outsider’s eye and he could see what the people of Israel could not. Because the abuse had gone so long they had gotten used to it. Of course the rich systematically took advantage of poor farmers, but they’d been doing it for years–in their eyes it was business as usual. It was how the powerful and the clever managed to accumulate wealth–and that’s how it always works, no matter what the economic system. The abuse of the poor is calibrated into the economy and people work together to insure that the rich can get richer and the poor know their place–and only prophets can see the injustice. Most everyone else keeps their mouths shut! It’s just too scary to rock the boat, because to one extent or another we’re all dependent on stability. Our own livelihood depends on the continuation of the system, and there’s always the dream, no matter how far-fetched, that we’ll someday join the ranks of the wealthy. Some day it’ll be our turn to have a house of hewn stone! Amos hoped that his warning would take root and that justice would prevail. Poor guy, no one ever listened in his time–but, thanks be to God, his words remain to challenge us.

Thought for the Day: Why do we like to keep things as they are?

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