We love to “seek” justice by joining groups who fight for causes for all kinds of reasons and seasons, so that the “government” or some others organization will solve the poor and exploited problems without really giving anything from our pocket books personally. 

What if we “act” justly by generously giving without anyone knowing—without stopping to think how giving will benefit us in some way?  We have to ask ourselves, “How openhanded and generous am I?”  “What are my motivations for acting justly toward others in need from what God has given so generously to me?”

Amos is famous for reminding God’s people to cease from exploiting the poor.  As we continue to study the “minor prophets” with a powerful message from God, I am reminded of what the prophet Micah said that boils it all down for us, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

I also recall what Jesus said when the woman spilled out her greatly expensive perfume over Jesus to honor Him and Judas incited the others to be indignant over the act.  Jesus responds; “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.”  (Matthew 26:10-11, See also John12:8) In this case, Jesus corrects those with good motives. His response is not harsh, but it is instructive. He tells them they will always have the poor with them.  In other words, they will never lack opportunities to help those in need.

Jesus is pulling from Deuteronomy as He explains the love and generosity of God to emphasize what our right and pleasing, generous response back to God and His people should be.  Jesus quotes His “you will always have the poor” statement from Deuteronomy 17:7-11:

“If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need. Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward the needy among your fellow Israelites and give them nothing. They may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heartthen because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand toThere will always be poor people in the land. Therefore, I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.”

Some use only the statement, “you will always have the poor among you” as a loophole of sorts to think, “Oh well, why give?  It will always be this way.”  But we are missing the point.  If we are to grow to be more like Jesus, developing the character traits of God, then we give because He gives.  It’s who God is.  We become who He is—Givers who love to give.

“For God so loved, He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 

Amos 1, The Message

 The Message of Amos, one of the shepherds of Tekoa, that he received on behalf of Israel. It came to him in visions during the time that Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam II son of Joash was king of Israel, two years before the big earthquake.

Swallowing the Same Old Lies

The Message:

God roars from Zion,
    shouts from Jerusalem!
The thunderclap voice withers the pastures tended by shepherds,
    shrivels Mount Carmel’s proud peak.

3-5 God’s Message:

“Because of the three great sins of Damascus
    —make that four—I’m not putting up with her any longer.
She pounded Gilead to a pulp, pounded her senseless
    with iron hammers and mauls.
For that, I’m setting the palace of Hazael on fire.
    I’m torching Ben-hadad’s forts.
I’m going to smash the Damascus gates
    and banish the crime king who lives in Sin Valley,
    the vice boss who gives orders from Paradise Palace.
The people of the land will be sent back
    to where they came from
—to Kir.”
        God’s Decree.

6-8 God’s Message:

“Because of the three great sins of Gaza
    —make that four—I’m not putting up with her any longer.
She deported whole towns
    and then sold the people to Edom.
For that, I’m burning down the walls of Gaza,
    burning up all her forts.
I’ll banish the crime king from Ashdod,
    the vice boss from Ashkelon.
I’ll raise my fist against Ekron,
    and what’s left of the Philistines will die.”
        God’s Decree.

9-10 God’s Message:

“Because of the three great sins of Tyre
    —make that four—I’m not putting up with her any longer.
She deported whole towns to Edom,
    breaking the treaty she had with her kin.
For that, I’m burning down the walls of Tyre,
    burning up all her forts.”

11-12 God’s Message:

“Because of the three great sins of Edom
    —make that four—I’m not putting up with her any longer.
She hunts down her brother to murder him.
    She has no pity, she has no heart.
Her anger rampages day and night.
    Her meanness never takes a timeout.
For that, I’m burning down her capital, Teman,
    burning up the forts of Bozrah.”

13-15 God’s Message:

“Because of the three great sins of Ammon
    —make that four—I’m not putting up with her any longer.
She ripped open pregnant women in Gilead
    to get more land for herself.
For that, I’m burning down the walls of her capital, Rabbah,
    burning up her forts.
Battle shouts! War whoops!
    with a tornado to finish things off!
The king has been carted off to exile,
    the king and his princes with him.”
        God’s Decree.


  • We learn from the beginning how NOT to be like the grasping for power culture around us. 
  • Avoid being hard hearted, mean spirited, selling out people to exploit them for personal benefit while extending little to no mercy. 
  • Act justly to all people. 
  • Love mercy.
  • Walk humbly with God who sees the heart and knows why we do what we do.
  • Be generous, give generously as God as so generously given to us.


“More people are exploited and abused in the causes of religion than in any other way.  Sex, money, and power all take a back seat to religion as a source of evil.  Religion is the most dangerous energy source known to humankind.  The moment a person (or government religion or organization) is convinced that God is either ordering or sanctioning a cause or project, anything goes.  The history, worldwide, of religion-fueled hate, killing, and oppression is staggering.  The biblical prophets are in the front line of those doing something about it.”Eugene Peterson, Introduction to Amos, The Message 

“The biblical prophets continue to be the most powerful and effective voices ever heard on this earth for keeping religion honest, humble, and compassionate.  Prophets sniff out injustice, especially in justice that is dressed up in religious garb.  They sniff it out a mile away.  Prophets see through hypocrisy, especially hypocrisy that assumes a religious pose.   Prophets are not impressed by position or power or authority.  They aren’t taken in by numbers, size, or appearances of success.”—Peterson

“They pay little attention to what men and women say about God or do for God.  They listen to God and rigorously test all human language and action against what they hear.  Among these prophets, Amos towers as defender of the downtrodden poor and accuser of the powerful rich who use Gd’s name to legitimize their sin.”—Peterson

“None of us can be trusted in this business.  If we pray and worship God and associate with others who likewise pray and worship God, we absolutely must keep company with these biblical prophets.  We are required to submit all our words and acts to their passionate scrutiny to prevent the perversions of our religion into something self-serving.  A spiritual life that doesn’t give a large place to the prophet-articulated justice will end up making us worse instead of better, separating us from god’s ways instead of drawing us into them.” –Peterson


Help us to guard our hearts knowing you see our hearts and know us better than we know ourselves.  Make us holy before you as only you can.

In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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