All over the news for the last two weeks we’ve seen pictures of distressed children at our southern border with Mexico. One particularly touching photo was of a crying little girl looking up at two adults… There isn’t a human being alive who doesn’t sense that there’s just something wrong about a child not being with her parents. The powerful picture was used on Facebook to raise funds for reunification of separated families and ended up on the cover of Time magazine.
Sadly, it was later reported that the little girl in the picture was not in fact separated from her mother, which only furthers public distrust and division over the issue. It’s difficult to know exactly what’s going on with all of the politics surrounding the issues… media bias, party prejudices, mid-term election year posturing all add up to confuse us as we consider how to respond. It’s easy to get stuck in the middle, disillusioned by all the rhetoric swirling around the issues. And worst of all, the vulnerable get lost in the distraction over the politics.
It wasn’t much different in the days of the prophet Amos. Except it wasn’t politics that was causing people to lose sight of the importance of justice, it was religion. Even though these were supposedly “God’s people”, their worship of the pagan idols of the day had made them self-centered and self-reliant. Those who even bothered to “worship” Jehovah, were simply religious hypocrites making themselves feel better while cheating good people, profiting from others’ tragedies, and denying justice to those least able to defend themselves.
Amos’s message of 3000 years ago couldn’t be more applicable today. In an age of sex saturated, self-satisfying idolatry, there is more greed, tyranny, oppression and abuse of human beings than ever before. The International Labor Organization reports there are currently 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally. There are more slaves today than at any other time in the history of the world.
The answer to the human condition is pronounced loud and clear in the book of Amos. Three times in chapter five God says, “Seek me and live”, “Seek good and live”, “Seek good and not evil, that you may live; so that the LORD, the God of hosts, will be with you.” As we heard last week from the book of Jonah, God’s deep love for his creation drives him to continuously, fervently, yes RELENTLESSLY communicate the message of life, hope, and restoration to all who will listen.
So let’s listen carefully this Sunday as we continue in our series “RELENTLESS: A Majestic View of the Minor Prophets”. May we all add our hearts and lives to the cry of Amos 5:24, “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
See you there.