Amos 8: Fair Practices
Amos chapter 8 brings us to the pronouncement of judgment, and the harshest sentences are going to be given to those who were unjust to the poor.
Amo 8:4 Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail,
Amo 8:5 Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit?
Amo 8:6 That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat?
These are guys who are basically sitting around waiting for the Sabbath to be over so that they can get back to doing business. Now, I know that all of us are involved in some type of business, and the exchange of products for payment is not a sin whatsoever. However, look at what these men were doing. They were ripping people off. They were falsifying the balances.
It wasn’t a problem that they wanted to go to work, but it was a problem that they were actually excited to be unfair. I think that this applies far beyond business and commerce. We should not be anxious to do something wrong. We should not desire to do something that we explicitly understand is wrong.
The irony in this scenario is that these businessmen were also selectively following what they could get away with. They knew that they could not do business on the Sabbath without being frowned upon in the community, but because they knew that they could get away with being slightly unfair in the balance, they were willing to do that.
How easy is that? We put on a good front, but we have legitimate issues behind the scenes that no one ever sees. That’s another problem that we need to confront.
As you read this chapter and recognize that these are the people who are going to be judged most severely, I think it is a cautionary tale for all of us. This is something that we don’t want to get mixed up in.