July 11 (Daily reading: Amos 1-5) Amos was a shepherd, a man of the people. His theme was justice: “But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (5:24). He pronounced judgment on the surrounding nations, and then turned his attention to Judah and Israel. Judah “rejected the law of the Lord” and was “led astray by false gods” (2:4, NIV). Israel was guilty of corruption: “They sell the innocent for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals. They trample on the heads of the poor” (2:6-7, NIV).
God would no longer accept their festivals … assemblies … burnt offerings … grain offerings … peace offerings. Their songs to God had become only noise. He rejected even the peaceful sounds of the harp. What had happened? Compromise; straddling the fence; trying to travel on two divergent roads at the same time. “Did you present Me with sacrifices and grain offerings in the wilderness for forty years, O house of Israel? You also carried along Sikkuth your king and Kiyyun, your images, the star of your gods which you made for yourselves” (5:21-26). They winked at God’s way while carrying with them the gods they had made with their own hands!
We cannot live like that! Amos warned us with symbolic language what happens when we try. We turn our back on one problem (a lion), only to come face-to-face with another (a bear). We arrive at the security of our own home, only there to be bitten by a snake (5:19). James also warned us about “being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (Ja. 1:8). Our God is a jealous God! “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols” (Is. 42:8).
– Al Gary