Amos came from humble shepherd roots when God thrust him into the role of prophet to the kingdom of Israel. This was during the time Israel was enjoying a peak in their material and political success, and so hearing Amos denounce their prideful smugness was treasonous. To them, the day of the Lord would be a day of total triumph over all their enemies… for don’t you know, we’re the chosen race, and God’s superior group here on earth! But Amos was warning them that because of their unbelief and wickedness, the day of the Lord would be a day of judgement instead. Anytime elitism rears its ugly head…God’s judgement will follow.
In this verse God was confronting the nation of Judah. For they had been practicing religious festivals of their own design in direct rebellion against Him. In other words, they were taking God’s Word – adding and twisting it to fit their own desires and notions. Kinda sounds like religion today where God’s Word has been spun and misinterpreted to become more politically correct and not offensive anyone. But man’s job is not to reinterpret God’s Word in order to make everyone feel better. Man’s job simply is to obey what God has already written.
If I would take to heart this verse and Matthew 7:2, “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged…” you’d think I would stop judging others. It’s not that I voice my opinion loudly and rudely or treat others with contempt to their face…no, my condemnation is silent, covert, and secretive. But regardless, yes, I still judge, and judge harshly…quickly jumping to conclusions before actually hearing all the details. Other times, I form an opinion when I really have no right to…or I pass a verdict just for sport. Either way, it’s wrong and something I really need to work on…how about you?
Rebellion is not a learned behavior…we are hard-wired to be defiant. Just ask any mom contending with her toddler! With independence and autonomy comes rebellion and disobedience. Fast forward to adulthood and we see people resisting and defying authority everyday…refusing to accept what they perceive as control over themselves. For many, this extends into their view of who God is and the refusal to accept Him, His laws, and His correction. Rebellion against God is futile vanity that will only lead to judgment someday.
In Jeremiah 17:10 it says, “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.” Not only will our actions and behaviors be judged…but what we think and have allowed our minds to be filled with will be judged also. Foolishly believing all fanciful and provocative daydreams are secret, is proven wrong by this scripture…as is reasoning that how we silently judge others will never be found out is wrong too, for it will.
Last night our small group Bible study had quite a lively discussion on discrimination within the Church. We tend to be most comfortable at Church when everyone looks and acts like us. Our prejudice surfaces when someone outside that “mold” ventures into the Sanctuary seeking the Lord. Yes, they may not look like you…they may not have the same values or mores…but they are still a Child of God searching for the truth. We need to extend to them the same love that Jesus did…not judging, but supporting and encouraging as the Holy Spirit moves in their life.