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Fed Up

Fed Up

29 June 2010

Today’s Reading: Amos 4-6, Psalm 86; Titus 1

Scripture:

21 “I can’t stand your religious meetings. I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions. 22 I want nothing to do with your religion projects, your pretentious slogans and goals. I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes, your public relations and image making. 23 I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music. When was the last time you sang to me? 24 Do you know what I want? I want justice—oceans of it. I want fairness—rivers of it. That’s what I want. That’s all I want. (Amos 5:21-24 MSG)

I can picture Amos standing in the central square of the Israeli capital, Samaria, bony finger pointing, shouting his message, no one listening or taking him seriously. People who speak critically or correctively against a system – political, economic, or religious – are usually marginalized or labeled “traitor” if they attempt to speak from the inside, or mocked, then suppressed as a threat, if they speak from the outside.

How should we read the prophecies of Amos today? What’s the point? Is there a message for you and me in the rantings of old Amos the sheepherder?

Here’s how I see it. Paul said all scripture is inspired by God and profitable for me. Jesus said it’s a heart issue. So when I read through the Bible and come across old Amos pointing his bony finger at me and saying “Woe to you!”, here’s what I can do:
• First, I can examine my heart. I can say, “How’s my heart on these matters? Am I caught up in ritual and religion? Are my motives about me or about God and others?” And I can repent and say “Sorry, Father! Please help me do better!”
• Second, I can look at areas in which I lead or influence. I can say, “Am I influencing others toward purity of heart and motive or am I caught up in slogans and goals, public relations and schemes?” And I can repent and say, “Sorry, Father! Please help me to do better!”
• Third, I can look at my network of relationships, my community, my church, my nation. I can pray for God’s mercy and patience. I can pray for awakening and awareness. I can pray for God to pour out his Spirit in a fresh move of redemption and revival. I can say, “Sorry Father, please help us do to better!”

Prayer:

Father, I open my heart to The Message of your Word. Let Amos and Joel and Jesus and Paul and all the others I meet each year as I travel through the Bible speak a word in season to the season of my life. I commit to listen, to learn, and to obey. Amen.

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