I was watching the movie, "GROUNDHOG DAY!" with my grandson Dakota, and we had some good laughs as we watched Bill Murray living the same ground hog day over and over again. We watched as he started out as a scornful, sarcastic, cynical weather man. A real jerk! As he woke up to repeat the same day every morning, he at first became worse in his cynicism and didn't even care about the people he was meeting every day.
As time went on, however, he began to put this situation to good use. He rescues a homeless man who died from lack of care, but because he could live the day again, he began to feed the man, making sure he had enough to live on.
He saved a man's life who was having a heart attack, because he knew it was going to happen. There were so many good things that he did that he became a hero. And when he finally learned his lesson, he finally went to the next day at last...His promised land was living the next day of his life.
As I read through my scriptures this week, August 20, I thought this is just what Israel did. Over and over they did the same sins, idol worship, and disobedience. They traveled over the same ground and the prophets of that time preached a message of judgement, which fell on deaf ears.
Then we see Amos, who was a sheep breeder who owned one or more flocks of sheep. He describes himself as a " "tender of sycamore fruit". The sycamore fig tree bears thousand of figs very much like the common fig, but smaller and not as good. Before this fruit could ripen properly, a small hole had to be pierced at the bottom of it's skin.
This is a time consuming task and sheepbreeders like Amos did it to earn money by piercing the fruit while watching his flocks of sheep and selling the finished product to wealthy land owners.
Amos's message was of God's passionate concern for justice. Justice is relational; it promotes good relations between people and groups of people. Injustice breaks down good relations between people and groups of people, and breeds anger, hostility and violence. God created the human race to enjoy good relations with Him and each other; therefore, injustice that breeds alienation in all of it's varieties breaks God's heart!
The renewed prosperity of Israel based on the successes of Jeroboam II brought new wealth to the upper classes. They used their wealth to buy land, and build great houses for themselves. They violated the rights of the poor and the few peasants that still had land, throwing many off their ancestral lands.
The purpose of Amos's prophetic ministry was to call the leaders of ancient Israel to repent and reform. God would not allow them to continue on their unrighteous, unjust course. Repentance and retribution were the only alternatives.
His words were not the words of a man of the people, only God could put these words into the mouth of a simple sheepbreeder. "He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals His thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, who treads on the heights of the earth,The Lord God Almighty is His name!"
I am reminded that I don't want to do the same thing with my life day after day, but I want to go to the promised land...the next day and live all my life with eternity in mind. I know you do too.
I want to invite you ladies to come and join us in our Bible Study in heart to heart this session. We'll have a short video and lots of discussion time to share together as we walk with the Lord together. We are signing up and collecting money, $11.00 for the two study books. I hope you will join us for this delightful time of fellowship and encouragement.
The same study will also be on Wednesday nights, and we would love the guys to join us once again. We had a great time our last session.
It's a New Day, tomorrow!