Amos 5 Speaks of Results of Greed, Cheating, and Treachery

September 16, 2014 at 7:15 PM

AmosBefore we continue with our look at the Tribulation, I wanted to briefly discuss Amos 5. The book of Amos is interesting because it speaks to Israel’s day during the time of the Jeroboam II. In essence, God spells out to Israel the harm that would come if they continued on as they were living. They routinely cheated their fellow Jews, they had no interest in hearing the truth (or putting it into practice), and they came to actually abhor those who spoke the truth. Sounds like today?

Even though this book was written about 750 BC and was deliberately written to Israel, there is a good deal here that actually provides an example for us today. Though Amos lived in the so-called Southern Kingdom (Judah), his mission of preaching and prophecy was directed mainly to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Remember, Israel was no longer one nation at this point. It had broken off into two separate nations; Israel and Judah.

Amos 5:10-15 tells us the problem that had infected Israel. Let’s look at the text that Amos directs toward Israel, the Northern Kingdom.

10 They hate him who reproves in the gate,
And they abhor him who speaks with integrity.
11 Therefore because you impose heavy rent on the poor
And exact a tribute of grain from them,
Though you have built houses of well-hewn stone,
Yet you will not live in them;
You have planted pleasant vineyards, yet you will not drink their wine.
12 For I know your transgressions are many and your sins are great,
You who distress the righteous and accept bribes
And turn aside the poor in the gate.
13 Therefore at such a time the prudent person keeps silent, for it is an evil time.
14 Seek good and not evil, that you may live;
And thus may the Lord God of hosts be with you,
Just as you have said!
15 Hate evil, love good,
And establish justice in the gate!
Perhaps the Lord God of hosts
May be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

There is a good amount of accusation from the prophet Amos. When we stop to consider the ramifications of his words, we have to admit that it makes sense too.

Verses 10-11 talk about how people hate those who stand at the gate (of the city) and reprove people by telling them the truth. Many of these ancient cities had leaders of the city stationed at the gate throughout the day. Their job entailed hearing and adjudicating problems between people during the day. They also welcomed visitors to the city.

Here, Amos is speaking of another duty, that of reprimanding people for their lifestyles, their graft, their theft, and their cheating. People who are greedy and will do whatever it takes to enlarge their share, especially at the expense of the poor and helpless, often live with guilt (Romans 1). This guilt is the emotional response to knowing that you’ve done something wrong. Guilt tries to tell you to fix the problem.

One way of “fixing” it is by resisting it. This leads to anger because people who feel guilty don’t like feeling guilty. Guilt feelings remind them that they’ve done something wrong and instead of offering to do what Zaccheus did in Luke 19:1-10, they refuse to budge. They are resolute in attempting to ignore or deflect the guilt they may feel due to the sin in their life.

1 Timothy 4:2 tells us that people’s consciences become seared, which simply means that they no longer feel anything about the wrong they have done. Paul teaches us how people get to this point in Romans 1.

The prophet who spent time preaching to people at the city gate, trying to wake people up, is not only rejected, but hated and despised because the people listening know he speaks the truth and don’t want to be reminded of it. Their consciences have no yet been seared, but they will be if they continue to reject the truth.

Verse 11 speaks of two of the ways that the rich got rich and continue to become even richer. They charge the poor exorbitant rent to live on their farms or in rented homes. It’s wrong, but these rich people enjoy feeding their greed. Capitalism itself is not wrong. People should be rewarded for working hard. The problem with capitalism is that people often become greedy. They don’t know when enough is enough and will even use the poor to get richer still.

But God tells Israel through the prophet Amos that though the rich build big, expensive homes, He will not let them live in them. Their transgressions are many, says the Lord through Amos.

The rich bribe people, distress the righteous, and turn the poor away. These are terrible problems in any society and we are seeing it today. We have Congressmen who are exceedingly wealthy, have huge homes, prestige, and anything they want, but to have gotten there, many have scratched someone’s back and received favors back. They have used the power of their position to benefit themselves, family members, and friends. They step on the poor and needy as easily as you or I would kill an ant on the sidewalk.

It became so bad during Amos’ time that it forced “prudent” people to keep silent about what they knew (referring to the righteous). While people may have known about the bribes or other treacheries, they wisely chose to keep it to themselves rather than risk being outed to contemptuous leaders who had the power to ruin their lives.

People really have not changed. In today’s society, too many things happen to seemingly innocent people who come up against rogue politicians or an administration that might be willing to do anything to keep its secrets secret.

In the end, God has decreed that He will right all wrongs and bring the hidden things into the light of day. One day, we will see the depth of corruption in too many people. Let no one think God is ignorant to what is going on in the world. On the contrary, He waits patiently for people to realize their guilt and turn to Him.

That level of patience is called grace and it is constantly being extended to humanity. However, there will be a day when that will no longer be the case.

Entry filed under: Dr. Fred, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology.

What is the Coming Tribulation All About? Part 13 Our God and Savior Christ Jesus Overcomes Sin in and Through Us

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