March 16, 2011

Minor Prophets XLI: Injustice Does Not Go Unpunished

In Amos 5:11-17 we see the sins God accuses Israel of committing.
(v.11a) They’ve oppressed and abused the poor and appear to have taken/stolen their grain (v.11b) (food, sustenance) as pay to allow tenants to stay on their land. The also manipulated the courts and justice systems to further oppress them (v.12, 15) through bribery (v.12). Because of their tactics intimidation is also apparent (v.13). They had violated the suzerain covenant with their God by suppressing the poor. By doing this they had invoked the suzerain treaty punishment for covenant disobedience.

In light of the sins committed some in Israel actually "long for the day of the LORD" in verse 18-20. Are they nuts or is something else going on here?

In this “Woe” passage we see two sides of life in Israel (and in our lives today too). For many this woe will mean death and destruction but for some the “Day of the Lord” will not incur God’s judgment and wrath. For some it will mean vengeance against their enemies or those that have perpetrated wrongs or evils. It would be a day when God would be on their side and support their “cause” after having been under oppression or threat of others. The misdeeds of the unrighteous would be returned on their own heads.

Those in Israel being hammered by others and threatened, longed for that day when they would be secured from danger. Unfortunately, some of these people did not understand from Amos’ prophecy that not only would this judgment befall many of the other nations…but it would also besiege and judge them also. They had mistakenly believed that god was “with them”. What Amos declares is: Not only would God annihilate Israel’s enemies…but Israel themselves had become the enemy of God.

So, yes, God does see what is going on in your life and the people that keep stepping on you in sin will eventually collect their due. Injustices do not go unpunished. If you are the one perpetrating the injustice to someone else...woe to you also, your day is coming.

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