September 13

Amos 8:5b-8

“We will make the ephah small and the shekel great, and practice deceit with false balances, buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and selling the sweepings of the wheat.” vss. 5b-6

Amos may have been from the hill country of a poor nation but he understood how the market operated in Israel during its “golden years.” His investigation didn’t take long and his report was scathing. Everything had been engineered to insure a profit for those who were already wealthy–the merchants rigged the balances and the poor were easy marks for extortion–some were living like slaves. They were going hungry in a land of plenty! Of course no one paid attention to Amos and eventually he became such a nuisance that he was ordered out of the country. But he didn’t go quietly! He could not believe that the Lord could endure such folly from Israel and said plainly that ultimately Israel would be destroyed–the wealthy would come to a wretched end. Some wonder what a prophet like Amos would have to say to a country like ours. We tend to think that we aren’t too bad, that we are a nation of compassionate people, and on our better days we are. But the tension between the rich and the poor is still with us, and some say the gap is growing–if it is, it’s something to worry about. Our Lord expects more of those who have more, and failure to tend to our duties will not go unnoticed!

Thought for the Day: How does God judge nations?

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