This is what the Lord God showed me—a basket of summer fruit. He said, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then the Lord said to me,
“The end has come upon my people Israel; I will never again pass them by.
The songs of the temple shall become wailings in that day,” says the Lord God; “the dead bodies shall be many,
cast out in every place. Be silent!” (Amos 8:1-3)
I am writing this in the wake of the events in Dallas Texas, Falcon Heights Minnesota, and Baton Rouge Louisiana, and that is not to mention all the other points of violence that seem to be spread across the nation, and across the globe. And then I read these words from Amos. The nation of Israel was besieged by their neighboring nations. And there was turmoil within the nation as well.
And it is true that the United States feels like it has been “terrorized” and seeks to defend itself. But it seems we, in these modern times, are also laying siege upon ourselves. We have turned against each other and have let loose hatred that threatens every life.
“Hear this, you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land, saying, “When will the new moon be over so that we may sell grain; and the sabbath, so that we may offer wheat for sale? We will make the ephah small and the shekel great, and practice deceit with false balances, buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and selling the sweepings of the wheat.” (Verses 4 – 6)
Amos is saying that God is seeing the hateful practices that are going on. But consider this beloved reader; what Israel is doing here is economic. But we, humanity, have raised the turmoil to higher level and are taking lives! Now, you may say – it is not me doing the shooting! But Jesus plainly told us (sorry for skipping from the Old Testament to the New Testament) that if we have hate in our hearts, it is as bad as if we have taken the actual life of our brother/sister. And it is not just in the United States. I was reminded that all over the world there is violence and taking of lives for political/religious/economical reasons – NONE of them good enough reasons to take a life!
“The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.
Shall not the land tremble on this account, and everyone mourn who lives in it, and all of it rise like the Nile,
and be tossed about and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt?
On that day, says the Lord God, I will make the sun go down at noon, and darken the earth in broad daylight.
I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; I will bring sackcloth on all loins,
and baldness on every head; I will make it like the mourning for an only son, and the end of it like a bitter day.
The time is surely coming, says the Lord God, when I will send a famine on the land; not a famine of bread, or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.
They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it.” (Verses 7 – 12)
If you do not hear Amos’ words, beloved reader, hear mine! God is with us, and will never desert us. But I can only conclude from the acts of these past days that many have deserted God! In place of the Holy Spirit in their hearts is a disregard for human life and a hatred for those perceived as “different” that has cost lives. I thank God for the instances where love, compassion, care and protection have been witnessed in these reports. God still lives in many hearts in this world. But I am afraid, beloved reader, very afraid that there are many hearts where disdain and hatred live. And that the hearts filled with hate and violence with overwhelm us! May God have mercy on each life in this world, and protect us all! Shalom!