Amos chapter 1 – chapter 2:3
Amos, a shepherd boy in Judah, hears and sees a vision from God. A message, not only about his own country but about nations surrounding his own land. The scripture does tell us an earthquake occurred two years after his vision and scholars and archeologists believe this enormous earthquake actually occurred in 760 BC. But what can we learn as we journey closer to the nations revealed to Amos in his visions? A picture is worth a thousand words, a map of each nation surrounding Amos’s homeland. Let’s first walk to Damascus and then to Gaza (1:3-8). Today the town of Damascus still stands, the capital of Syria, one of the oldest towns in history. What was their sin? Oppression of the children of God. ( 3) Then travel 68 hours by foot to Ashdod, the nation of Gaza. To travel this route one must journey into Jordan and Israel. There is no direct route. The people of Gaza, what was their transgression? Oppression again, they sent whole villages into exile, sending them as slaves (6).
Let’s travel from Tyre to Edom. Tyre, a port city in present day Lebanon, commits the same disobedience: oppression of God’s people. They sold whole villages as slaves. (9). To venture from Tyre to Edom, we must travel back through Damascus. We end up in the country of Jordan. Actually, the next three nations are found in the country of present-day Jordan. ( The Ammonites, The Moabites, and Edomites, all lived in present day Jordan) Again, oppression, but more violence seen in this nation. They showed the children of God “no mercy, and in their rage, they slashed them continually and were unrelenting in their anger. ”
And last of all, Ammon to Moab, both nations in present day Jordan, only a 13 hour hike between the two. These nations also instilling violence upon the oppressed.
So, what can we learn from Amos’s warnings? I think that’s an easy answer. Who among you are the oppressed? Who among you are you assisting? Who among you are you lifting up? Jesus’s sermon on the mount said it all. His answer to systemic injustice. His answer to the oppressed. Allow these words to ring true by the Christian social justice organization (Sojourners), author Paris -Lopez, “How are the poor in spirit, the mourners, the meek, the ones who hunger and thirst for justice, blessed? Jesus blessed the people on the margins of his culture by embracing them, showing solidarity with them, building a community in which those who had always been shunned were welcomed and loved. As the body of Christ, we are called to be that blessing.” Even in this community, the chronic pain community exists an attitude of oppression.
We want to heed God’s warnings, through this lowly prophet. We still oppress. We still violently oppress those less than us. We have to stop. We have to learn from history. Reach out to your neighbor, the elderly that need to be vaccinated. Reach out to the immigrant. Reach out to your fellow american bothers and sister of various races. Reach out to the disabled that needs groceries or a light bulb changed. Reach out to your neighbor of a different political party. Life gives us so many opportunities to assist. We just have to be open and listen.