by 鍾卓權牧師 (Rev. Bernie Chung)
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)。
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.