Focal Passage: Amos 2:4-16
I’m the grocery shopper in our family and an aisle that I frequent is the coffee aisle. I wouldn’t designate myself as a coffee snob, but I do enjoy rich coffee. One brand that always stands out is Kona coffee. It catches my eye because I know it’s origin story.
The beans are farmed, milled, roasted and brewed all within a 10-mile radius from their farm in Hawaii. But the soil is different from regular soil. The soil is rich in nutrients due to a volcano eruption long ago.
The magma from the volcano formed a lively, dark, and acidic soil that is significantly different than my backyard in East Tennessee. This deadly, incredible volcanic eruption actually created a fertile soil conducive to great farming.
As we study some of the Minor Prophets, there’s great warning and judgment, sin and doom announced on God’s people. But throughout the books, there is a Messianic hope of redemption. In the backdrop is a supreme revelation of God’s love which was brought to fulfillment in the crucible of the cross. It will be conducive to something gloriously fruitful!
God’s judgment and God’s holiness aren’t in competition. God’s people are to bear His Holy Name by living holy lives. The actions of the people are profaning His Holy Name! The judgments seem to dominate the headlines, but as you read closely, you see that these prophets had an intimacy with God and they knew Him to be a God of tender love and compassion. In fact they see God’s anger and wrath as the basis of His love. G. Campbell Morgan says of the Minor Prophets, “It’s the heart beat of God that throbs through these passages.”
Before we see the dilemma in chapter two, the very first verse in the book of Amos stands out. We don’t see a volcano erupting, but we do get a historical detail that these events happened two years before an earthquake. And Amos just so happens to be a shepherd. He was not a priest or part of the religious establishment. Yet he would warn his neighbors about God’s judgment and beg God to forgive and relent.
Calling out national injustice takes courage. It’s easy to overlook or dismiss extreme warnings, but when these messages are coming from God, it’s best we pay attention. One of the greatest assignments Amos was given was to let God’s people know that the severity of the judgment would be based on how they treated the poor and vulnerable. This took great courage!
Amos identifies seven ways in which the powerful have served themselves at the expense of the poor and vulnerable, going so far as to sell people into slavery.
I love the story of William Wilberforce who worked tirelessly and courageously to abolish the slave trade in England. He once wrote, “So enormous, so dreadful, so irremediable did the (slave) trade’s wickedness appear that my own mind was completely made up for abolition. Let the consequences be what they would: I from this time determined that I would never rest until I had effected its abolition.”
Don’t ignore God’s warnings in Scripture! Be courageous as a mouthpiece for truth to a world with a bent towards rebellion, greed, and ignorance! B&R