Okay, Righteous, Perfect, Dysfunctional, Rebellious

“Hear this, you who trample the needy and do away with the poor of the land, saying, ‘When will the New Moon be over that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat? – skimping the measure, boosting the price and cheating with dishonest scales, buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, selling even the sweepings with the wheat.”

” ‘The days are coming,’ declares the Sovereign LORD, ‘when I will send a famine through the land – not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.  Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the LORD, but they will not find it’ ” (Amos 8:4-6, 11-12).

This was a message from God to Israel sent through a shepherd, Amos, around 750 B.C.  My how things don’t change.  Israel was prosperous and satisfied.  They didn’t need anything – including their one true God who had chosen them out of all the nations on earth to be His special people.  They were chosen to be His special people for a reason:  they were “blessed to be a blessing.”  Instead of being a blessing to the nations around them, they indulged themselves in their blessing and ignored others, including the poor and helpless amongst themselves.  They were fat and happy.  They were not called to be democratic; they were not called to be socialists; they were not called to be the white knights who single-handedly saved everyone and everything.  However, they were called to be human, live as real human beings under the sovereignty of their creator, the LORD God Almighty.  What does that look like?  You love God and you love your neigbor, neighbor being defined as everyone who is not you.  Israel chose to not love God or their neighbors.

Fast forward to today.  See any parallels?  Do you see any people who should be loving God and loving their neighbors but are choosing not to?  Do you see any oppression?  Do you see any abuse?  Do you see any racism?  Do you see any religious terrorism?  Do you see any elder abuse?  Do you see any human trafficking of minors, let alone adults?  Do you see any revenge murders of police?  Do you see any ethnic cleansing?  It is not as if God has changed.  He is still the same yesterday, today, and yes even forever.  But let’s just stick with today for now.  If He was angry with His chosen people Israel for their blatant disregard for His ways and His rules, particularly His rules regarding the treatment of the poor and oppressed, do you not think He will be angry with those of us Christians who claim to be His disciples and yet do nothing to proactively help the poor and the oppressed?  How many of us “fat and happy” western Christians make any effort to help the homeless, reach out to those in prison, visit the sick and those in nursing homes, help meet the needs of those oppressed in our communities by actually going into their neighborhoods and building relationships over time, finding out their needs, and helping them to get the help they need and achieve for themselves?  How many of us Christians really care?  Not many percentage-wise.  Oh, there are thousands probably who are living on the cutting-edge for the Lord.  Awesome job those of you.  Keep it up.  You are working for the Lord and will be rewarded in heaven.  That is not why you do what you do I know but it is true.  You should be the majority by now but you are only the remnant.  We Americans (the rest of you western Christians, apply the message as it fits) were founded on Christian principles.  We have had many churches which have preached the truth.  200 plus years later – what do we have to show for our time?  What difference in society our we making?  What impact for the kingdom are we making?  What do you see?  How should we be living now at the start of a new year, 2015?

“Seek good, not evil, that you may live.  Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is.  Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts.  Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph” (Amos 5:14-15).  Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy on we Christians in America.

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