In 2010, one of the ways we are attempting to live out God’s call on us to be givers of love and compassion is to explore the scriptures to see if we can get a sense of how much God values justice and mercy. Throughout the Bible it is clear that the people of God are people of justice, people of love, people of grace, and people who care for one another and for all people. The book of Amos, found in the Old Testament, provides one of the most powerful and provocative pictures of Godly justice.
The prophet Amos gives us a picture of God’s anger throughout his book, and the first two chapters show the breadth of God’s judgment. Keil and Delitzsch in their commentary describe in vivid detail the sins of
God threatened fire upon the walled city of
Nor does God approve of excessive evil and violence. The Ammonites “ripped open the pregnant women of
Even the chosen people fall under judgment. “Because they have rejected my law … I will send fire upon
The Gileadites crushed their prisoners to pieces. The Ammonites ripped open pregnant women. The Philistines and Phoenicians (
“For three sins of
In God’s eyes exploitation of the poor and the denial of justice to oppressed people warrants the hardest of divine discipline. In fact, because
As we think about how God wants us to live justly and treat each other and the peoples around us the values revealed in Amos 1-2 are a great help. When we hurt people, or participate in exploitative systems, we are as guilty of sin as if we committed violent crime. So, are we, as Americans, consuming an incredibly disproportionate amount of resources, knowing there are people in the world starving, participants in an exploitative system?