Thus says the Lord: For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke the punishments; because they sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals–they who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth and push the afflicted out of the way.
Amos 2:6-7a NRSV
March 14, 2011
I am finishing up my winter quarter at school, and the last paper I had to write is on the Day of Yahweh. This was the time when the prophets were telling the people that the day of the Lord will come but it won’t be a good day for them. That is because the Lord has seen their apostasy, idol worship and treatment of the poor and He is about to punish them for their sins. The day of the Lord will be a dark day filled with gloom. The chosen people of God were relying on being His chosen and not on keeping His commands or covenant. They put their faith in their name and not His name. As I wrote that paper I did a comparison between the chosen and the church of God and wondered, are we no better off than they?
During this year we are going to take a very close look at who we are and when I say who, I mean us the church of God. I say that because I do think the church of God is starting to resemble the chosen people of God more and more each year, and I want to sound the alarm and make sure we stop and get back on the right track.
Today I want you to take a step back and look around your neighborhood. Go through your browser on your computer and ask for information pulled from the census. Ask to see the poverty level, education level, the family ratio, the faith levels, etc… Amazing but you can find all that pretty much in one place on the computer. When you are done pull up the same records for 10, 20 and 30 years ago. See how the family structure changed. The amount of single parent homes is astonishing and the poverty level rises with that number. Ask for the unemployment rate and you will be shocked to learn how high that is and compare that to the education level. Sadly, you will see highly educated and high unemployment, and this is the first time you will see that. Ask it how many homes are in foreclosure and learn the truth about our economy. Ask about the faith in the community and discover how poorly the church is doing for outreach. In a community it can be 80% Christian but only 10% belong or go to services weekly.
How many poor are living in your community? What do you do for them? How does your church care for them? What are you doing to help pull them out of poverty? Look, in every community across America we will have upper, middle and lower class. Some areas will have more of one class than another and I will exclude them from today. I am talking to the regular neighborhoods that will see all three. What is it you are doing to take care of the poor in your community?
If we became a community church and joined all the denominations together and decided to really live as people of God, then we can work as a group to help take care of the poor. We can volunteer at the schools, after school programs and as tutors. We can help educate our community and teach them trades for employment. We can shop within our community and support the local businesses, thus putting the money we make back into the community in which we live. We can set up food pantries and medical services like I mentioned in previous devotionals. We can take care of our own and build a better, stronger community.
When our community is strong it can then help the other communities that have more of the poor class in them. We can do outreach and missionary services because we have a good solid foundation. We build our community up, we do this in the Name of God, and what we build on the Rock is a steady structure. It is when we don’t do this that God then tells us He is not happy with the way we live. That is because as we gain in prosperity, a person is losing all they have and we argue that is because of their bad choices. That argument does not go far with God. While it may be true in some situations it is not true in all. Certainly you can see that yourself and understand what I am saying. Even if you don’t agree with me, you can see that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, and that is what God is seeing and He is not happy with that. He does not condemn you for making money; He condemns us for ignoring the poor and not properly taking care of them. God makes all of us and He cares for all of us. He gave you the means to make money so that you would have the means to help the poor.
Taking care of the poor may not sound like something you want to do, but is the dreadful day of the Lord something you want to experience? The choice is ours to make and God is giving us ample opportunity to change our ways and make a difference in this world. We can either sit back, watch America fall apart, and blame it on others or we can stand up as the children of God and show them, even our government, what it means to be a child of God. There is no health system, no Welfare system and no Public Aid system that teaches independence and maintains dignity. That system is only found in God and it is up to His children to teach that to the world. When Jesus saved you and separated you for His kingdom, did you just think that was all you had to do? Think again. This election comes with responsibility and that is what the chosen of God fail to understand. I pray that is something the children of God will learn before it is too late.
Lord God, in that day when You return I do pray that You, Lord, will find Your church actively involved in taking care of the poor and doing all that in the precious Name of Jesus. Amen.
In His love,