Not By Bread Alone
Lord God, You are worthy of my praise. Your grace is bestowed upon me, and Your love upholds me each day.
Consider: "‘My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work" (John 4:34). Is that true of you?
Amos's fourth vision centers on a play between two similar-sounding Hebrew words. Amos sees some "summer fruit" (qayits); God declares that "the end" (qēts) has come for Israel. The NIV conveys this wordplay by using the word "ripe": "ripe fruits" and "the time is ripe." The vision underlines the certainty of judgment declared in the third vision. The noisy worship songs will turn into loud lamentations when disaster falls (3,10). The following oracle has echoes of the initial condemnation of Israel, but focuses on a new group, businessmen, with their greedy materialism. Instead of addressing the evil of poverty, they seek to rid themselves of the poor, even by people-trafficking. "The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil" (1 Tim. 6:10), and that love kept a wealthy young man from following Jesus (Matt. 19:16-22). You do not have to be wealthy to be greedy and materialistic. All of us face such temptations, sometimes aroused by advertising.
The businessmen observe the religious festivals outwardly while inwardly fretting to get back to moneymaking with their false weights and measures and rigged balances. Once again, Amos condemns the separation of sanctuary worship from obedience to God's standards in everyday life. That kind of insincerity can be true of our Christian observances. The terror of God's judgment on Israel is depicted in terms of earthquake and solar eclipse (8-9). God declares that persistent rejection or silencing of those through whom he tries to speak (Amos 2:12; 7:12-13) will result in spiritual famine and drought. There would be no words from prophets or spiritual benefit from the worship at the sanctuaries. Jesus, echoing Isaiah, warned of this kind of danger (Mark 4:12; Isa. 6:9). That is why it is important to take God's Word seriously, understand it and put it into practice (Matt. 7:24-27; Jas. 1:22-25).
Apply: How would you describe your relationship to God's Word (11-13)? In making decisions, is it first choice or last chance? Do you mistake reading it for responding to it? Do you focus on promises rather than challenges?
Lord, help me not value gaining material "bread" more than discovering and doing Your will through studying Your Word.
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