The Book of Amos: “Defender of the Downtrodden”
Readings: Amos 1-2 (Sunday readings excerpted from chapters 1-2) and Mark 2:18-27
The prophet Amos was not a “professional” prophet, he was a farmer, an ordinary man speaking on God’s behalf, commenting on the state of affairs of God’s people (Amos 7:14-15). Listen to the voice of God through this farmer-prophet as you read this week’s Scripture passages. The word of the Lord was directed to those who worshiped the true and living God, not so much to those outside of the faith. Be open to areas of your life, your relationships, your social and religious activities where God might be speaking to you.
- It’s been said that an examined life is the life we are called to as we follow Christ. As you prepare to read Amos 1-2 and Mark 2:18-27, pause a moment to pray the psalmist’s prayer from Ps.139:23-24 (MSG)
Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong –
Then guide me on the road to eternal life.
- Read Amos 1-2 entirely. Notice the comment on inhumane and unjust activities committed by God’s people and those outsiders of the faith. These chapters level the ground beneath our feet. What do you hear? What do you notice? What gives rise to you in your own life as you read? Jot down what you notice as you hear God’s statements naming specific areas of sin and injustice. What are your thoughts about these things?
- Eugene Peterson comments on the Book of Amos this way: The biblical prophets continue to be the most powerful and effective voices ever heard on this earth for keeping religion honest, humble, and compassionate. Prophets sniff out injustice, especially injustice that is dressed up in religious garb…we are submit to…their passionate scrutiny to prevent the perversion of our religion into something self serving…
As you read Mark 2:18-27, notice what Jesus is concerned with regarding religious activities. He seems to be conveying a value for the heart and Spirit of God’s love and mercy over mere dogmatic religious followership pertaining to ways things have always been done. Take some moments now to sit with God, to hear your own heart, to examine your life before God, the One who loves you. What do you notice as the Scriptures read you? Pray about the things you see, hear, observe. God is your Helper. He will work and do of his good pleasure in your life as you open to him.