I am reading Amos in my devotional time. He is a poetic and powerful prophet. And much of what he says to Israel could easily apply to our generation today. Both the nations around Israel and Israel herself were guilty of two primary sins–social injustice and idolatry. These were symptom sins–the root was that the people of God had rejected the leading of God. They refused to to follow the examples of holiness provided by the Nazirites and they refused to listen to the voice of the prophets who warned them of the consequences of their sin. Thus–their hearts were led astray.
We look around us as American Christians and often believe that we are better than the “heathen”nations around us. How could Iran do such things? What is wrong with North Korea? Don’t the people of the Sudan get it? Deep down I think we have bought into the humanistic notion that we are more “cultured” than they–and somehow culture has allowed us to rise above it all. Yet we have Birmingham in 1963, Rodney King, or Abu Ghraib. In other words–becoming more cultured does not seem to cure a heart issue. Only Christ can heal the sick heart of man. We are no better that the other nations to the extent we are led astray by our own wandering hearts.
Israel was a privileged nation of people–one of the strong themes of the Old Testament is liberation, redemption, possession and settlement. These words represent God’s loving actions towards His people. He liberated them from Egyptian oppression, bought them out of slavery, called them His own and provided a new land. Under the New Covenant we are the recipients of the same loving kindness of God–we have been liberated, redeemed, marked out as children of God and given a beautiful inheritance. But Amos warns that with privilege comes great responsibility. There is social injustice and idolatry among us–in my heart. I need the grace of the gospel today for my wandering heart. Read what one commentary says about Amos 2:6-3:2. May we take heed too!