8:4 Hear this, you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land,
8:5 saying, “When will the new moon be over so that we may sell grain; and the sabbath, so that we may offer wheat for sale? We will make the ephah small and the shekel great, and practice deceit with false balances,
8:6 buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and selling the sweepings of the wheat.”
8:7 The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob: Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.
The nation of Israel was rampant with sin. This portion of scripture is referring to those who were greedy, prideful and dishonest. It it also focusing on those who not only wanted more, but would take from their neighbor and steal from those who were less fortunate then they were.
They no longer had a heart that followed after God. They had grown weary to the days like the Sabbath in which was a day that was dedicated to worshiping God and not doing any work to gain more earthly pleasures. There are some Christians who do not do well when it comes to giving up one business day out of the week because it is a day in which they are not making every opportunity to gain more money.
Worshiping and loving God is no longer a priority. The nation had become so distracted by what the world had to offer and was very complacent in their walk with God. They become idolaters, worshiping earthly wealth and gain instead of putting God at the forefront of their hearts.
The ending of this passage is concluded with the thought of God remembering their sin against them. This is so because of the absence of a repentant heart. When we come to God with hearts that are in deep recognition of the fact that we are living in sin and are in need of forgiveness, God’s extends Grace towards us.
Let us always be devoted to focusing our energy on worshiping God, spending time in His word, being sustained and convicted by it daily.
you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land, buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and selling the sweepings of the wheat (Amos 8:4,7)
God had clearly defined social constructs for Israel that made sure the needy would not be completely destitute. Farmers were prohibited from selling the grain that was not captured in the initial reaping (Leviticus 23:22). Those who became so laden in debt that they had to sell themselves were freed every 7 years and all debts forgiven (Leviticus 25:8-13). The needy were also allowed to glean after the first reaping of vineyards (Leviticus 19:10). God knew that human nature was such that the poor would need assistance.
Almost 1000 years after Moses lead the slaves out of bondage in Egypt they had grown wealthy, prideful, and had failed to maintain justice. Particularly displeasing to the Lord was the injustice shown to the poor. A society reveals it’s inner nature by how it cares for it’s poor, whether voluntary or involuntary. The social structure of Israel in the time that Amos spoke the word of the Lord was badly degraded and God was demanding justice.
Today we can be just as course. We blame the weakest in society for it’s ills. We claim it’s not our responsibility to care for them. We talk about personal responsibility and blame victims for their plight. I pray that we do not grown calloused as the nation of Israel did to the poor. For God’s justice reaches very far and being on the wrong side of that justice will not be fun.
[Featured image from www.waterstonechurch.org]