I hate rules, was a strong feeling in me, every time I faced some form of discipline from my parents. Every child probably felt this way at one point or another growing up. It is not unusual to hate rules and seek a life without rules.
Living without rules might seem a good idea, until a bully or tyrant, seizes your lunch, or shirt, or home, or everyone and everything you love including your life. At that point, you will probably, graciously, welcome law and order. Prophet Amos is accused of preaching bad news; the reality is that he preaches God’s law and order.
Amos 5:10-15 (Easy-to-Read Version Bible) (shortened) says: “You change justice to poison… You hate those prophets, who go to public places and speak against evil, even though they teach good, simple truths. You take unfair taxes from the poor… You hurt people who do right, you accept money to do wrong, and you keep the poor from receiving justice in court. At that time wise teachers will be quiet, because it is a bad time… Hate evil and love goodness. Bring justice back into the courts. Maybe then the Lord God All-Powerful will be kind to the survivors from Joseph’s family.”
When love thy neighbor was lost, law and order broken, and greedy, corrupt, bullies, thugs, oppressors, and tyrants took over, Prophets like Amos were sent to heal Israel. First, by speaking against evil, second by reminding Israel that their God Yahweh will punish evil, third by calling for repentance in order to avoid judgement.
Would you believe that despite Amos clear and passionate preaching, a senior priest in Israel, called Amaziah, reported Amos to the king as an enemy of Israel, told Amos to shut up and go home (see Amos 7:10-17). The evil leadership in Israel preferred to be judged than to repent – life under such leaders is painful!
May the Lord deliver us from bullies, thugs, and tyrants; like Israel of old, may the Lord judge leaders with no love for the people they serve and no respect for justice; save the oppressed O Lord, Amen!