God’s Word of Justice
Amos 4:1-13: Today’s reading begins with a harsh indictment against the luxurious lifestyle of the people of Samaria, and the prophet cites Israel’s inability to learn from the punishments God has meted out.
1Listen to this, you women of Samaria, who grow fat like the well-fed cows of Bashan, who mistreat the weak, oppress the poor, and demand that your husbands keep you supplied with liquor! 2As the Sovereign Lord is holy, he has promised, “The days will come when they will drag you away with hooks; every one of you will be like a fish on a hook. 3You will be dragged to the nearest break in the wall and thrown out.”
Israel’s Failure to Learn
4The Sovereign Lord says, “People of Israel, go to the holy place in Bethel and sin, if you must! Go to Gilgal and sin with all your might! Go ahead and bring animals to be sacrificed morning after morning, and bring your tithes every third day. 5Go on and offer your bread in thanksgiving to God, and brag about the extra offerings you bring! This is the kind of thing you love to do.
6 “I was the one who brought famine to all your cities, yet you did not come back to me. 7I kept it from raining when your crops needed it most. I sent rain on one city, but not on another. Rain fell on one field, but another field dried up. 8Weak with thirst, the people of several cities went to a city where they hoped to find water, but there was not enough to drink. Still you did not come back to me.
9“I sent a scorching wind to dry up your crops. The locusts ate up all your gardens and vineyards, your fig trees and olive trees. Still you did not come back to me.
10“I sent a plague on you like the one I sent on Egypt. I killed your young men in battle and took your horses away. I filled your nostrils with the stink of dead bodies in your camps. Still you did not come back to me.
11 “I destroyed some of you as I destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Those of you who survived were like a burning stick saved from a fire. Still you did not come back to me,” says the Lord. 12“So then, people of Israel, I am going to punish you. And because I am going to do this, get ready to face my judgment!”
13God is the one who made the mountains
and created the winds.
He makes his thoughts known to people;
he changes day into night.
He walks on the heights of the earth.
This is his name: the Lord God Almighty!
Today’s Key Verse: Amos 4:13a
God is the one who made the mountains and created the winds. He makes his thoughts known to people; he changes day into night.
The rich and powerful were ignoring the needy, and the opening verses contain harsh and offensive imagery. Verse 2 refers to the coming Assyrian invasion of Israel (722 B.C.), when the captives would be led away with hooks through their noses, a way in which bulls are led. In verses 6-12, what does God remind the people of? Are there times when we fail to learn from the past?
Lord God, open my heart and my mind to your teachings. Make your thoughts known to me, and help me to obey your commands. You are the Lord God Almighty, and holy is your name. Amen.
Amos 5:1-27: The prophet Amos teaches what the LORD demands.