The CCN Daily Worship by Pastor Don. Roy Hemingway.
Gooooooooooooooooooooood morning brethren, May the Almighty God of hosts be with you this morning and thank you, for joining us here at ‘The Church of the Christian Nation’ for worship and praise. Let us begin as is our tradition every day here at the Nation, by reading from the word of God. Amen.
Amos 8. 21st Century King James Version (KJ21)
1 Thus hath the Lord God shown unto me: And behold, a basket of summer fruit.
2 And He said, “Amos, what seest thou?” And I said, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then said the Lord unto me: “The end is come upon My people of Israel; I will not again pass by them any more.
3 And the songs of the temple shall be howlings in that day,” saith the Lord God. “There shall be many dead bodies in every place; they shall cast them forth with silence.”
4 Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail,
5 saying, “When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? And the Sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit,
6 that we may buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of shoes, yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat?”
7 The Lord hath sworn for the pretensions of Jacob: “Surely I will never forget any of their works.
8 Shall not the land tremble for this, and every one mourn that dwelleth therein? And it shall rise up wholly as a flood; and it shall be cast out and drowned, as by the flood of Egypt.
9 And it shall come to pass in that day,” saith the Lord God, “that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day.
10 And I will turn your feasts into mourning and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning for an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day.
11 “Behold, the days come,” saith the Lord God, “that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.
12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.
13 “In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst.
14 They that swear by the sin of Samaria and say, ‘Thy god, O Dan, liveth,’ and, ‘The manner of Beersheba liveth’ — even they shall fall and never rise up again.”
Lord our God, grant that we may be your children who receive the Spirit and all they need from you. You strengthen us not only physically but also inwardly, in our hearts, enabling us to face the uncertainties of earthly life and whatever still needs changing in human society. Keep us from giving in to weakness. May your power be always with us. May we have patience and hope, because you are working for the good and we may wait for it in expectation. Amen.
(4) Hear this, you who swallow up the needy,
And make the poor of the land fail, (5) Saying:
“When will the New Moon be past,
That we may sell grain?
And the Sabbath,
That we may trade wheat?
Making the ephah small and the shekel large,
falsifying the scales by deceit,
(6) That we may buy the poor for silver,
And the needy for a pair of sandals—
Even sell the bad wheat?”
To enlarge their coffers, merchants opened their shops for business the minute the Sabbath and holy days passed. They used nonstandard weights and measures to cheat their customers of a few ounces of grain. Some cheated the people to the point that they had to sell themselves into slavery to pay their debts! At the end of the day, the businessman would sweep up the bad wheat berries left on the floor, and sell them to the poor as first-quality wheat when business resumed in the morning!
Their problem lay in their personal attitude toward sin and holiness. God looked at their hearts and saw nothing of His righteousness and holiness. Whenever He finds a lack of these elements in His people, He becomes very concerned. The Israelites manifested their godless attitude in their domineering ways, their penchant to exploit, and their insatiable feeding of their own indulgences. Although God appears to attack mainly the rich and powerful throughout the book, the poor and needy probably had the same attitude but lacked the power to carry it out. Thus, God will punish both “the great house”—the rich—and “the little house”—the poor (Amos 6:11).
Israel’s attitude toward the things of God was one of total disrespect and indifference. When Jesus cleansed the Temple (John 2:13-16), one thing that angered Him was how the priests disqualified the peoples’ sacrifices without legitimate grounds, forcing them to buy animals far above fair market value. Sincere worshippers would have no choice but to pay fifteen or twenty times the normal price for another sacrificial animal that the priests had already proclaimed acceptable. The Israelites of Amos’ day exhibited the same attitudes in their normal business practices.
The sin that underpinned these attitudes is covetousness, causing them to turn everything in life to self-advantage. As in America, competition was the lifeblood of the people, the vitality of the nation, and they felt they had no alternative but to lie, cheat, and steal to keep their “competitive edge.” “The end justifies the means” was their motto. God says that they did not have to approach business this way. The nation was very wealthy—there was enough for everyone.
The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious unto you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.
May God bless you all and ‘The Church of the Christian Nation’, Amen.
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