Ouch! Amos' indicting words conclude with the terrifying phrase, "Surely I will never forget any of their deeds," literally, "...the whole of their [evil] deeds." While we prefer Jeremiah's comforting words, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more" (Jer 31:34b), Amos will not relent—and for good reason. In God's wisdom, Scripture regularly uses the temporal sequence of judgment-mercy; after "bad news" comes "good news;" the law prepares us for hearing the gospel; in that order!
Today's reading posits the law, exposing the hearer. Amos previously drew upon the metaphor of a plumb line (Amos 7:7ff.), a tool constructors use to gauge the vertical rectitude of the walls of structures. At the risk of mixing metaphors, we might think of God's law as a full-length mirror mounted on the bathroom door and positioned to show us our image as we emerge from the shower!
Triune God, nothing is hidden from your ever-penetrating eyes or beyond your reach. While modern medicine seeks cures through non-invasive diagnostic tools and minimally invasive procedures, you see us exactly as we are and effect cures via your invasive Word. Praise be to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Amos 8:4-7 (NRSV)
4 Hear this, you who trample upon the needy, and bring the poor of the land to an end,
5 saying, "When will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain? And the sabbath, that we may offer wheat for sale, that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great, and deal deceitfully with false balances,
6 that we may buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and sell the refuse of the wheat?"
7 The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob: "Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.