From Shepherding to Smackdown

By: Steve Negley

Posted: July 27, 2017

Category: Daily Devotional

The words of Amos, who was among the shepherds of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of King Uzziah of Judah and in the days of King Jeroboam son of Joash of Israel, two years before the earthquake.
Amos 1:1

Thus says the Lord:

“For three transgressions of Judah,
and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
Because they have rejected the law of the Lord,

  and have not kept his statutes,
but they have been led astray by the same lies

  after which their ancestors walked.
So I will send a fire on Judah,
and it shall devour the strongholds of Jerusalem.

Thus says the Lord:
For three transgressions of Israel,
and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
because they sell the righteous for silver;
and the needy for a pair of sandals—
they who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth
and push the afflicted out of the way;

Amos 2:4-7a

Like King David in his younger days, Amos worked as a shepherd. Then God called Amos to speak for God, as a prophet. In the introduction to this biblical book that we find in the New Revised Standard Version Oxford Annotated Study Bible (the gift we give our High School Seniors as they graduate), Amos’ work is described as such: “preaching harsh words in a smooth season. He denounced Israel, as well as its neighbors, for reliance upon military might, and for grave injustice in social dealings, abhorrent immorality, and shallow, meaningless piety.”

Amos was called to tell people whose lives seemed to be fairly smooth that much of the behavior that led to their current sense of “ease” was based on their rejection of God’s laws and violation of God’s statutes. Specifically they were more interested in making money than in caring for the poor. And as they bullied their way through life, they trampled the afflicted into the dust. Amos declared that a judgment was on its way for them, because God would not stand for this behavior any longer.

Amos would ask us each day: Have you sold the righteous for silver or traded the needy for a pair of shoes? Have you pushed or trampled anyone so that you might get ahead? If so, shame.


Dear God, remind me today how my treatment of others reflects my allegiance to you. Amen.