may 24, 2022

Woe to you who long
for the day of the Lord!
Why do you long for the day of the Lord?
That day will be darkness, not light.
It will be as though a man fled from a lion
only to meet a bear,
as though he entered his house
and rested his hand on the wall
only to have a snake bite him.
Will not the day of the Lord be darkness, not light—
pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?
“I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
your assemblies are a stench to me.
Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
I will have no regard for them.
Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!


Amos 5:18-24


Have you ever heard someone express a wish for God’s judgement to come down? I’ve heard a person wish for a hurricane to hit a city they didn’t think much of. I’ve heard a person pray for God’s judgement on a certain political figure, and another pray for judgement on those who violate certain laws. I’ve read stuff, and you have too, expressing that those who have a different opinion should just be wiped off the face of the earth. People have a deep interest in having God’s judgement come down on those they don’t like. If you asked them, “Would you like God’s judgement to come down on you?” they would be shocked and decline that vigorously.

What is it that makes us think God’s judgement is selective, very localized, and pinpointed to those we disapprove of? Judgement is general, like rain. It falls on the just and the unjust.  Jesus said in Matthew 5:45 that the Father causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Judgement is like rain or sun; it affects all of us.


The prophet Amos is a challenging, hot-black-coffee kind of prophet. If you come to his message imagining that it’s going to be soothing and affirming, you have another think coming. Amos looks at the Northern Kingdom and sees that the rich are living off the misery of the poor, that materialism is eating up their souls, and that pagan morality has set up housekeeping among God’s people. He sees callous behavior and corruption on the part of those who should be exemplary. To the religious elite who preached that the Day of the Lord was coming, when God would set things right, Amos would say: “You are right, the Day of the Lord is coming. All who have participated in this ill treatment of the poor and this massive corruption, this revolting lip service to God and his worship? They will all go down in flames.”  God is not fooled by pious words; God sees to the heart. God is not placated by people going through the motions at worship when all they do is pervert justice, mock righteousness, and fail to show mercy. And on the Day of the Lord, all will be set right.


Whenever we look at our world and long for God to come and set things right, we should be prepared for it to start with us.

For Reflection

What are the first things that God will set right in you?


What will God set right in our city, country and world?


How do our lives show a concern for justice, for righteousness, and for mercy? 


Dear Lord, I want to make your justice fall on other groups, other sinners. I don’t like to think about my own sin and your desire to put me right. Father, take me and make me the person you would have me to be, showing your justice, your righteousness, your mercy, to the people you put in my life. Lord, if I pray for your Day to come, let me be ready for you to restore me to what I should truly be. In your name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Vicki Franch
Pastor for Pastoral Care