Beliefnet
You Can Sit With Us

From the book of Amos.

Why does God put so much emphasis on the way we treat the poor and needy? How we treat the rich, or those of equal standing, often reflects what we hope to get from them. But because the poor can give us nothing, how we treat them reflects our true character. Do, we like Christ, give without a thought of gain? We should treat the poor as we would like God to treat us. If every good and perfect gift comes from above including our abilities to gain wealth, then it seems like it would make perfect sense for us to consider who God is and where He wants us to place our trust.

The book of Amos give 8 common excuses for not helping the poor.

  1. They don’t deserve help
  2. They got themselves into poverty; let them get themselves out
  3. God’s call to help the poor applies to another time
  4. We don’t know any people like this
  5. Any money I give will be wasted, stolen or spent. The poor will never see it
  6. I may become a victim, being taken advantage of
  7. I don’t know where to start and I don’t have time
  8. My little bit won’t make a difference

God wants sincere hearts. Great wealth and comfortable lifestyles may make people think they are secure, but God is not pleased if we isolate ourselves from others’ needs. God wants us to care for others as he cares for us. His kingdom has no place for selfishness or indifference. We must learn to put the needs of others before our wants. Using our wealth to help others is one way to guard against pride and complacency. Great cities to the east, north and west had been destroyed because of their pride.

Ivory was an imported luxury, rare and extremely expensive. Even a small amount of ivory symbolized wealth. Something as extravagant as a bed inlaid with ivory shows the gross waste of resources that should have been used to help the poor.

The people had built luxurious homes to flaunt their achievements. While it is not wrong to live in comfortable houses, we must not let them become sources of inflated pride and self- glorification. God gave our homes to us, and they are to be used for service, not just for show.

No matter how God warned the people, through famine, drought, blight, locusts, plagues, or war- they still ignored him. Because the Israelites didn’t get the message, they would have to meet God face to face in judgment. No longer could they ignore God, the one they had rejected, the one they refused to obey when he commanded them to care for the poor. Are we prepared to meet him? The law courts should have been a place of justice where the poor and oppressed could find relief. Instead, they have become places of greed and injustice.

God wants people to be right with him; he wants the sin that makes us crooked removed immediately. God’s word is the plumb line that helps us be aware of what to do and what not to do. How do you measure up to God’s plumb line? Are you obeying God’s call to you?

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