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11/10/2019 人饑餓非因無餅 (Hunger Is Not Caused by Lack of Bread)

by 鍾卓權牧師 (Rev. Bernie Chung)


南國猶大人阿摩司他本來是一個牧人、又要靠修理桑樹來幫補家計,為神所用受派至北國以色列作先知成為神的代言人,總的來說阿摩司是按著耶和華所曉諭的信息,藉著重複的語句向身陷拜偶像的北國以色列子民宣告神的刑罰與審判,但這些神的子民卻仍然沉迷於安逸,並不理會神嚴肅的警告。先知阿摩司舉出他們根本的罪孽就是離棄那位揀選、救贖他們的上帝,沒有專一地去敬畏祂、行公義、好憐憫。這個審判宣告的焦點是在北國以色列,先知阿摩司雖然親自到達不受歡迎的北國以色列、明知身陷罪中的子民不會接受他的勸勉,先知如此行乃表示他對神的信靠順服與上帝有完全的主權。結果、在伯特利事奉金牛犢的祭司亞瑪謝毫不客氣地對阿摩司說:「你這先見哪、要逃往猶大地去、在那裏餬口、在那裏說預言.」(阿摩司書7:12)。


我們可以想像得到先知阿摩司站在高處,向以色列人講述他們正在做那些不討神喜悅的事,並宣告他們的刑罰即將臨到。這場景讓我想到在街頭宣揚神話語的傳教士,他們挺身站在階梯或是一個木箱上,對這些「現代阿摩司」我們並不陌生,他們在街道上或市中心,忠心地將上帝的話語宣講。這些「現代阿摩司」令我粛然起敬,向神感恩禱告求神保守他們。同樣,静觀四圍的人群對這些「現代阿摩司」的反應:有些人會特意過到馬路的對面避開他,有些人則會低下頭安静地走過去,也有些人會聆聽並勇敢地與他對話,也有些人會以掌聲鼓勵他。


當人偏行己路、離開了上帝的話語,他們的心靈就會飢餓乾渴因為他們遠離了屬靈的泉源和食物。 事實上,如果我們不知道未雨綢繆去儲存應急的水和食物,當災難來臨時,我們的後果會不堪設想。倘若對所儲存放的食物和應急物品没有時常檢查更新,當需要時已經過期及不能食用失去了功效,到頭來也是無補於事。當日阿摩司宣告:「主耶和華說、日子將到、我必命饑荒降在地上.人饑餓非因無餅、乾渴非因無水、乃因不聽耶和華的話」(阿摩司書 8.11)。


求主憐憫、我們不要自欺、要以耶和華的話敬虔渡日。


Translation:


Amos, a Jew from the Southern Kingdom of Judah, was originally a shepherd. He also needed to repair the mulberry trees in order to provide for his family. He was sent by the Lord to North Israel as a spokesperson for Him. By in large, Amos was doing what God had entrusted him to do. He brought God’s message through repeated statements that the Lord’s punishment and judgment will come to the idol worshippers in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Unfortunately, these Israelites who were intoxicated by easy living and ignored God's serious warning. The Prophet Amos cited their basic sins of abandoning the God who chose and redeemed them. They did not fear God, and did not act justly and love mercy. The Prophet Amos went to Northern Kingdom of Israel fully aware that he would not be welcomed, and he knew the people who were sinful would not accept his advice. Amos made the journey anyway because he trusted and obeyed God, and submitted to God’s sovereignty. As a result, Amaziah, the priest who served the golden calf in Bethel, said to Amos unceremoniously: “Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there” (Amos 7:12 NIV).


We can picture a scene with Prophet Amos standing on the high ground and telling the Israelites what they were doing did not please God, and declaring their punishment to come. This scene reminds me of the ministers who preach the words of God on the streets. They stand on the stairs or wooden boxes to proclaim God’s words. These “modern Amoses” are no strangers to us. They are faithful preachers of God’s words in the streets and at city centers. I admire and respect their efforts and pray to God to keep them safe. We can also imagine the different reactions from the people who have come across these "modern Amoses". Some people might try to avoid them by crossing the street, while others might lower their heads and walk pass them quietly. A few might listen and talk to them or even applaud and offer words of encouragement to them.


When people go their own separate ways and leave the words of God, there will be hunger and thirst in their hearts for being far away from the spiritual fountains and food. Just like when we don't prepare and store food and water for emergencies, there will be dire and unimaginable consequences. If the stored food and emergency items are not checked and updated from time to time, they would be useless if they have expired. Let’s listen to what Amos says, “‘The days are coming,’ declares the Sovereign Lord, ‘when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord’” (Amos 8:11).


Let’s pray for God’s mercy that we do not deceive ourselves by ignoring God words, our spiritual nourishment; and may we worship and honor God by living by His words every day.

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