This morning I have been reading through the book of Amos. This is probably my favorite book in the Bible as it clearly demonstrates what the intentions of the law were and what God’s heart is for His people.
The central message of the book is that every human being has become a tyrant fighting to overthrow God, the one good King. In this effort we have thrown everyone else to the ground where we attempt to walk all over them. We are building our own kingdoms under the delusion that our ways are better than than Gods and that we are just as capable of running things as He is. This was the temptation which led to the first sin, and it is the same temptation that creeps in on us every moment of every day, especially on those of us who know the Lord and what He requires, but often decide to do it our way, anyway.
This attitude is one of pride and arrogance, and is demonstrated well in Amos 2:6-8, “…they have perverted justice by selling honest people for silver and poor people for a pair of sandals. They trample helpless people in the dust and deny justice to those who are oppressed. Both father and son sleep with the same woman, corrupting My holy name. At their religious festivals, they lounge around in clothing stolen form their debtors. In the house of their God, they present offerings of wine purchased with stolen money.”
In our arrogance we find ourselves thinking that we are better than that. I mean, I have never sold anyone for a pair of shoes or any of that stuff. But we must look at the heart of the issue. These accusations that the Lord brings against His people are that they still don’t understand that all people are created in His image and worthy of being treated fairly. We may not sell the neighborhood kids for a new pair of Sketchers, but too often we do treat our relationships as a means for personal gain.
God continues in Amos 5:21, in one of the most terrifying passages of scripture, by saying, “I hate all your show and pretense—the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies…Away with your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living.”
What He is saying is that it will never be enough to simply be religious people, or even claim to be born-again if there is never any heart change toward people and toward God.
To follow God as loyal subjects of His Kingdom is demonstrated by humbling ourselves not only before God, but before all men as well. If we continue to see ourselves as more important of more valuable than even one person, then we are still merely building kingdoms of our own, even though they have a very spiritual appearance to them.
The challenge comes to us in Amos 5:14-15 in which He says, “Do what is good and run from evil so that you may live! Then the Lord God Almighty will truly be your helper, just as you have claimed He is. Hate evil and love what is good; remodel your courts into true halls of justice. Perhaps even yet the Lord God Almighty will have mercy on the people who remain.”
This calling on our lives is recurrent on almost every page of scripture. Perhaps we all have some self-examination to do, and then some kingdoms to start deconstructing so that His can be built.