Amos.

I mentioned that I’m using The Message 100 Devotional Bible. Wednesday’s reading included Amos.

Here’s an excerpt:

“I can’t stand your religious meetings.
I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
your pretentious slogans and goals.
I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes,
your public relations and image making.
I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
When was the last time you sang to me?
Do you know what I want?
I want justice—oceans of it.
I want fairness—rivers of it.
That’s what I want. That’s all I want.” Amos 5:22-24

I had to check it in another translation. After all, The Message can be pretty informal in the way the text is paraphrased. Eugene Peterson was trying to speak late twentieth century American when he wrote. And then I had to take a look at a commentary, just to check on the meaning.

And then I stopped.

Because I realized that God was saying to Israel, through Amos, “stop talking about talking about Me. Stop looking like you are interested in Me. Do something.”

Sometimes I worry so much about getting my understanding right that I’m not available for helping. And I treat those two as either/or: either right understanding of God or active helping. But it’s both/and: Clear understanding of who Jesus is and active implementation of what Jesus said.

IMG_0929Yesterday, I talked about a scene I saw in Nepal. I’ve talked about it often, as part of my understanding why a mother working like that might be open to a person who said, “I can find better work for your daughter.” Right before trafficking that daughter to India.

But it’s not enough to understand. We have to equip and act. Or else, we may find Amos at our front door or in our mirror.

I will be less open to critique from Amos the more I understand God’s desire for me to stop expressing dissatisfaction with everyone else and start living toward God.

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

4 thoughts on “Amos.

  1. Understanding why a mother working like that might be open to a person who said, “I can find better work for your daughter.” Right before trafficking that daughter to India.”

    What a beautiful, heartbreaking image…of how it works, of how we can make sense of the senseless.

    We should organize a conference to discuss what to do about it.

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    1. Hmmm Am I in the right place? Anyway, the one Amos reading was making me think of Isaiah 29:13 “These people honor me with their lips . . . . . .” Somehow that came up when we were studying Acts this morning. Same basic idea

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    2. and Andy, there is that same thought in Amos 5:

      You talk about God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
      being your best friend.
      Well, live like it,
      and maybe it will happen.

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