I have a toddler who likes to push boundaries. I tell him, "One more time on the slide," and he says, "No, all the times!" God's people are pushing the boundaries here in Amos. They ask, "How can we follow some of the rules, but waffle on others so that we still benefit by making money and gaining power?"
Through Amos's words, God is like our firm, loving parent, calling out our misbehavior and sitting patiently through our denials and tantrums. God helps us learn compassion, logic, justice, and love. As much as we try to push the boundaries of God's law to benefit ourselves, God pushes back on us to widen our worldview and see how our actions affect the other children in God's expansive family. Much like toddlers, we need to learn over and over that it isn't about what we want, but about how we can serve God and God's people.
God, our loving parent, help us see beyond our own wants and needs to recognize how our actions affect other people. Challenge us to compassionate, loving ways that benefit all your children. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
Amos 8:4-7 (NRSV)
4 Hear this, you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land,
5 saying, "When will the new moon be over so that we may sell grain; and the sabbath, so that we may offer wheat for sale? We will make the ephah small and the shekel great, and practice deceit with false balances,
6 buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and selling the sweepings of the wheat."
7 The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob: Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.