Social Justice and Real Life (Amos 5)

Our small group at church had a guest speaker who teaches at a local public university. He told us something interesting. He said, “The students whom I work with have a real heart for social justice. They will march and protest about any number of social problems, but they won’t be nice to their roommate.”

If that doesn’t describe the human condition, I’m not sure what does.

It’s not just modern college students who wrestle with this issue, we all do. It’s always been much easier to see the gnat in someone else’s eye than the log in our own. (Matthew 7:5)

When the Israelite people began to hear the prophesies of the prophet Amos, they were likely ecstatic! The first few chapters of the book chronicles God telling the Israelites that the suffering that their neighbors had caused them had not gone unnoticed. God would punish them for their evil behavior.

I can just see the Israelites fist bumping and high-fiving, can’t you? Finally, they were about to see some justice!

But God wasn’t finished.

God then let the people know that He was not unaware of their behavior either. They were selling people (Amos 2:6), their sexual practices were appalling (Amos 2:7 and 8), they trampled over the poor (Amos 5:11) and they had generally forgotten everything that God had done for them.

When we read the punishment God was handing down for His people, we can clearly see that because they had known Him, because of all that He had done for Him, because they clearly knew what He expected of them, He was taking their disobedience very personally.

“I hate, I despise, your feasts! I can’t stand the stench of your solemn assemblies. Even if you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them…take away from me the noise of your songs!” God told His people. (Amos 5:21-23)

God has no use for our public stances if the way we treat the people in our actual lives doesn’t reflect the grace and mercy that He has shown us. Our public stances show what we say we believe, but our actual behavior is the true reflection of our hearts. God sees both. We can clamor all day long about social justice, and walk over our own neighbors.

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Reading Plan- Week Forty-Three

Day One- Amos 1
Day Two- Amos 2
Day Three- Amos 3
Day Four- Amos 4
Day Five- Amos 5