May 08, 2024

They Despised God’s Rest

Amos 8:1-14

“When will . . . the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?”—skimping on the measure, boosting the price and cheating with dishonest scales. . . .

—  Amos 8:5

Many of Israel’s rich and powerful merchants and other leaders despised God’s rest and justice. For them, the Sabbath was not a day for observing physical and spiritual rest in honor of God’s promises to his people. Instead the Sabbath was an unwelcome intrusion into their crooked, unjust business practices. It was as if they said, “When will this Sabbath be over so that we can overcharge for wheat, and use faulty scales to cheat the people? We will drive them into poverty so that we can buy them as our servants and slaves for the price of a pair of shoes! And in the meantime we will pretend we are good, God-fearing, law-abiding citizens.” Their sin was a violation of nearly every law that God had given to the people before they entered the promised land. Israel was intended to be a nation of truth and justice, but the ruling class generally despised those important values. God’s verdict: “I will expel you from my kingdom. Not because I want to, but because you want to live unjust, unforgiven, and God-forsaking lives.” Let’s examine our own hearts and minds to see if we are living in the way God calls us to.

Lord Jesus, send your Spirit into our hearts and minds today. Guide us into living by the values of your kingdom rather than by the ways of this world. Amen.

About the author — George Koopmans

George Koopmans has served as an ecumenical chaplain at Medicine Hat College in Medicine Hat, Alberta, since November 2021. Prior to entering into chaplaincy, George served as a pastor to two congregations—one in Minnesota (Luverne), and the other in Medicine Hat. George and his wife, Emily, have four adult daughters and three grandchildren. Hiking, biking, and birdwatching are his favorite hobbies.

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