3. Loving Like Jesus: Amos
In Jesus’s love for us, we receive the compulsion and power to love others radically.
“Take away from Me the noise of your songs;
I will not even listen to the sound of your harps.
But let justice roll down like waters
And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
Think about if you were given 100 free concert tickets to see an incredible band. What would you do with all those tickets? Most likely, you’d give them away to your family and friends and then start handing them out left and right! To the person checking you out at the grocery store…to the neighbor you pass on your daily jog…to your friend’s cousin you’ve never met!
In the same way, when we receive God’s undeserved, unconditional love, this love should overflow to the people around us! But in the book of Amos, we see God’s people neglecting to respond to God’s love in this way.
Amos is an Israelite shepherd and farmer, called to speak on God’s behalf to Israel. His ministry takes place before the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel, a time of great wealth and prosperity for the nation.
Amos, however, says these riches are not a sign of God’s favor. He convicts Israel of their idolatry and acts of injustice. In their community, we see the wealthy profiting at the expense of the poor; we see men abusing women; and we see the privileged living in laziness and luxury while neglecting to care for their neighbors in need. God is very grieved by all of this.
What makes matters worse is that those who are worshiping idols and engaging in these unjust acts are continuing to worship God as if their sin doesn’t matter. But God sees this as false worship! True love for God always leads to love for others.
God calls Israel to abandon their false worship to avoid judgment, but Israel is not able to change. Israel’s only hope lies in God’s promise of a king to come restore and rebuild them.
We know that this king came in the person of Jesus Christ! Jesus fulfilled the role Israel failed in, modeling true love for God and others. He made friends with the social outcasts. He healed the sick and handicapped. He respected women. He honored the poor. In the greatest act of compassion and love, he gave his very life for us while we were still his enemies!
Just as God called Israel to be a community of true worship and love, so God calls Christians to love as Jesus loved them, that the world might be drawn to God into salvation.
Christian, do you realize the magnitude of the love and compassion you have been shown? Jesus gave his very life for us when we were owed the opposite!
One 19th century Scottish minister said it this way:
“You say your money is your own. Well, Christ might have said my blood is my own. My life is my own. Where would we be then? You say the poor may abuse your generosity. Christ knew that thousands would trample his blood under their feet; that most would despise it; that many would make it an excuse for sinning more; yet he gave his own blood. If you would be like Christ, give much, give often, give freely, to the vile and the poor, the thankless and the undeserving.”
Responding to the love of Christ looks like keeping our eyes open to the need around us and responding with compassion. Is there a single mom at your church that could use help with babysitting? Do you have a coworker or classmate that would appreciate you sitting with them at lunch? Is there a person or mission you could help support financially?
In Jesus’s love for us, we receive the compulsion and power to love others radically and unconditionally.
RESPOND: Take a moment to process with God how you might reach out to those in need today with the same love that’s been shown to you.