The Hypocrisy and Sin of the People of God
A continued study in the book of Amos
Thus says the Lord, “For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because they sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals— 7 those who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth and turn aside the way of the afflicted; a man and his father go in to the same girl, so that my holy name is profaned; 8 they lay themselves down beside every altar on garments taken in pledge, and in the house of their God they drink the wine of those who have been fined. 9 “Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars and who was as strong as the oaks; I destroyed his fruit above and his roots beneath. 10 Also it was I who brought you up out of the land of Egypt and led you forty years in the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite. 11 And I raised up some of your sons for prophets, and some of your young men for Nazirites. Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel?” declares the LORD.12 “But you made the Nazirites drink wine, and commanded the prophets, saying, ‘You shall not prophesy.’ 13 “Behold, I will press you down in your place, as a cart full of sheaves presses down. 14 Flight shall perish from the swift, and the strong shall not retain his strength, nor shall the mighty save his life; 15 he who handles the bow shall not stand, and he who is swift of foot shall not save himself, nor shall he who rides the horse save his life; 16 and he who is stout of heart among the mighty shall flee away naked in that day,” declares the LORD.
Amos keeps the hammer down on the House of Israel. Here we have an outright war on the poor. They are taxed to the point that they can’t pay, and then sold as slaves to make up the money they owe. They drink the wine and use the clothes of those that they have either sold or fined because of their inability to pay off what they owe. In short, God hates those that oppress the poor. There are over 300 verses referencing the poor, and oppressive acts of the poor, which God always condemns. It is interesting here that the people were doing these heinous things at the “Altar” of their worship centers. All too often is those that are religious who exploit the poor the most, and this is consistently condemned all through the prophets and in Jesus’ teachings in both the Old and New Testaments. What’s of interest to me, is the modern evangelical church seems to care more about sexual politics than they do the poor. While, as we saw, abortion is a heinous offense, and homosexuality is certainly a sin, the prophets seems to spend more of their time expounding on this issue, and one that haunts us until this day.
- Why is that a lot of the church seems hell bent to stop homosexuality, but seems to say little in response to the human injustices we see every day in this world?
- Why is God so concerned about the poor?
- Why is He so judgmental towards those that oppress the poor?
- In what way(s) do we all fall guilty of this?
- What can we do to help the poor, since Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you?”