Live Justly is the final post in my series centered around Jennifer Rothschild’s Amos study. I began in October with Bitterness. Last month I discussed Remember. For other posts I’ve written from the book of Amos prior to Jennifer’s Amos study, look here, here, here, here, and here. There is quite a lot to learn from the small book of Amos. At least I think so.
The Israelites Did Not Live Justly
At this time in Israel’s history, the people did not live justly. Instead, they were unrighteous and despised God’s truth. They trampled and oppressed the poor. Those with power and wealth abused and dealt dishonestly with the powerless. They withheld justice from the helpless.
Care About What God Cares About
In speaking about how we are to live justly, Jennifer mentioned several things about social justice. First, she said social justice means we care about what God cares about. Our heart breaks for what breaks God’s heart. She went further to explain social justice is not activism. It is righteous action. It is public action where we seek good, not evil. Jennifer stated social justice is something we actively pursue as we have opportunity.
Do For One What We Wish We Could Do For Everyone
Jennifer admitted we cannot do everything we might wish to alleviate suffering and wrong. Her suggestion is we do for one person what we wish we could do for everyone.
Righteous Is Not Just Who We Are
We’ve heard the phrase, actions speak louder than words. As Christ followers, we are made righteous through our relationship with Christ. According to Jennifer, being righteous is not a position, it is a practice. It is what we do. Living righteously is putting our righteous words into righteous acts for God. It is investing in what matters most to God.
Jennifer challenges us with the following. We may not be able to eradicate evil on this earth, but we can avoid contributing to it, and we can seek to do good to offset it. Assigning the strong emotion of hate or disdain to human suffering can heighten our awareness, and sensitize our hearts to view sin and suffering as God does. Which often prompts a strong response to act.
As followers of Christ, we are given the high privilege to seek good, promote good, and become an active force against evil so justice prevails. That means we do something.
The book of Amos reinforces the fact that people matter to God. It tells us if we exploit or oppress the poor in any way, we insult God. If we care for the needy in any way, we honor God. With that in mind, how should we live out our faith? Not just at this time of year, but all year long?
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Do what is good and run from evil so that you may live! Then the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies will be your helper, just as you have claimed. Hate evil and love what is good; turn your courts into true halls of justice. Perhaps even yet the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies will have mercy on the remnant of his people. Amos 5:14-15
You can find my December Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.
I wish you well.
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This is such an important lesson from Amos, and I appreciate several of Jennifer’s points that we should care about what God cares about and that social justice is righteous action. She also had a very good point that righteousness is not a position, but a practice. My husband has preached through the book of Amos several times through the years, and this short book really reveals God’s heart for people. Thanks for your insights from Jennifer’s study, Sandy.
Thanks, Kathy. I believe the book of Amos holds so much instruction and truth for us all these many years later. It is timeless.