Amos 8

Monday, what a way to start a new week, with Amos’ bleakest vision. It is a vision of summer fruit. It seems to be shown to emphasise the ephemeral nature of the good times they are having now.

Hard times will come very soon, and the people will respond by becoming worse cheats and oppressors.

Hardship will bring the whole nation to the sort of mourning of people who have lost an only son.

Even prophesy will cease, a famine of the word of God.

In an early chapter job compared the nation to a young girl, beaten and unable to get up, now he says the weak and the strong will both be equally laid low, fall and never rise again.

It unremittingly bleak.

The prophets remind us that we can’t be practically universalist. God has said he is love, but there is more here. It is urgent and vital that people respond to the understanding of God that they have.

Amos was not preaching belief in Jesus as saviour, obviously Jesus want born yet. These people did however have a word from God to acknowledge him as the one true God, and to live fairly, particularly with regard to the poor.

That was their gospel and their failure to respond to it would cause god to punish them. As a people they would survive, just. But the lifestyle of wealth and ease was going and not coming back for this generation.  The living has been delicious and abundant like summer fruit, but it has passed.

Our christian lives and message can’t just sooth people and reinforce their existing beliefs, there will be an element of confronting and challenging them. Like Jesus said, if salt loses its saltiness, what use is it?

At the start of this week, give me a heart for the lost. I find it so hard.

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