by J.R. Hudberg

Day 25

Read Amos 8:4-8

In biblical studies, students are frequently told to watch for repetition. If something is repeated, it means that it is likely to be pretty important. The Israelites' treatment of the poor and the needy was obviously a very important feature of his prophecy.

While loving God does not necessarily mean we need to hate money, loving money can translate into hating God, in that we no longer honour and obey God's ways.

In Amos 8:4-8, Amos returns to images that he used in his very first accusation against Israel. In fact, he uses the exact same language to point out Israel's failure in being a just society according to God's way. They were trampling on the needy and poor (2:7, 8:4), and buying and selling the poor for silver or a pair of sandals (2:6, 8:6).

Here in chapter 8, he adds some new details. So great is the greed that drives the Israelites, that they cannot wait for their religious festivals to be over so they can resume their dishonest market practices in order to make more money (v. 5). This is the epitome of what Jesus said about being unable to serve God and money (Luke 16:13). While loving God does not necessarily mean we need to hate money, loving money can translate into hating God, in that we no longer honour and obey God's ways.

All they want to do is to return to their shops so they can get more money for as little work as possible–which they achieve with the use of dishonest scales and selling ″the sweepings with the wheat″ (Amos 8:6).

It is after this revelation of the specifics of the Israelites' dishonest business practices, that one of the most startling statements of the book of Amos comes. God has said that there will be drastic and severe punishment for their sins—that people will be taken into exile and that bodies would be thrown out through breaches in the walls (4:2-3, 5:27)–but nothing is as stark as what He says now: ″I will never forget anything they have done″ (8:7).

God is omniscient. It is impossible for Him to forget anything. But this is especially terrifying in the context of sin and judgment. If God will not forget what He has seen them do, and always remembers Israel's guilt, this means His judgment upon them will be inescapable.

If you are anything like me, there are likely to be a good number of things you've done that you would like God to forget. Or, at least, you wouldn't want Him to see you as guilty. Fortunately, unlike the Israelites in Amos' time, we now have the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from those sins (1 John 1:7)! While we may not escape the consequences of our sin, we have the assurance that if we repent, we will be forgiven and our guilt washed away.

Think through:

What sin in your life do you need to confess and repent? Take time to thank God for His gift of forgiveness.

What priority does working and earning money have in your life? How does it compare to the priority you give to God?




About Author

J.R. Hudberg and his wife, Heidi, live in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with their two young boys. He was born in Grand Rapids and attended college in Canada (where he met Heidi). After spending time in Ohio, Montana, and California, he returned “home.” In the garden, on a boat, or in the woods, J.R. spends as much time as he can with family and friends enjoying God's creation. He is the executive editor for Our Daily Bread Ministries Discovery Series booklets and is a regular contributor to the Insights for Our Daily Bread.

Author of Journey Through Series:

Our Daily Bread Journey Through® Series is a publication of Our Daily Bread Ministries.

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