August 22, 2017
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 22 August 2017
The prophet Amos made class distinctions and social injustices the primary emphasis of his messages. The obvious social inequities were a manifestation of the barren spiritual condition of the people. Amos proclaimed that social injustice is an indication of vacuous religiosity. God takes no pleasure in cruelty, injustice, and oppression within any nation (as chs. 1-2 of Amos’ prophecy demonstrate), and this is especially true concerning God’s own people. Reading the prophet’s message impresses the believer with social responsibilities in our own land where the majority of people have greater material comforts than any subject during the reign of Jeroboam II.
Chapters 1-2 contain a series of eight brief messages which serve as indictments against the nations surrounding Judah (the southern kingdom) and finally Israel (the northern kingdom). Each of the messages was prefaced by the phrase, “For three transgressions . . . and for four” (indicating the multiplicity of the sins of the people). The first section of Amos’ prophecy (1:1—2:16) contains a message of judgment upon six nations that surrounded Judah and Israel. God explained that He would judge those nations for their many sins, especially how they negatively impacted his own people.
- Damascus (1:3-5) was judged for extreme violence: human rights violations.
- Gaza (1:6-8) was judged for slave trafficking: selling people for money.
- Tyre (1:9-10) was judged for dishonesty: not fulfilling treaty promises.
- Edom (1:11-12) was judged for vengefulness: hate toward their own brethren.
- Ammon (1:13-15) was judged for violence: atrocities toward the defenceless.
- Moab (2:1-3) was judged for profound contempt: desecrating tombs.
Even though God did not reveal his law to the Gentile nations, He still held them accountable for their sins against humanity. God next addressed his own people.
- Judah (2:4-5) would be judged for disobedience: “they rejected the law of the Lord” and were thus unfaithful to God.
- Israel (2:6-16) would be judged for the callousness and hardness of their hearts: social transgressions motivated by greed and indifference.
Whereas the Gentiles sinned against “the Law written in their hearts, their conscience” (Rom 2:12-16), Judah and Israel sinned against God’s law (2:4) and his love (2:9-12). Foolishness is assuming that because God is loving and longsuffering that He will not judge sin. Amos proclaimed the only means of escape: authentic repentance.
Amos included words of judgment in his message to God’s own people because he wanted to remind Israel that the Lord was not imperceptive and unaware to the sins of other nations. The God of the Bible is both sovereign and powerful over all the peoples of the earth. If the Lord God judges those who do not trust in Him, then He will also judge those who claim to worship Him. Privilege entails responsibility (Luke 12:48), and thus renders one accountable.
Our present times are somber indeed, and thus God’s people must address their own sin with relentless so that our effectiveness for Christ is unhindered (cf. Rev 2:5). Scripture reveals the means to achieve enduring victory: “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thess 5:16-22).
Your Missionary to Georgia's Leaders,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia
Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.