祈禱: 求主幫助我作燈臺, 照亮四周, 使人得見神的榮耀和恩澤。
PRAYER: Pray that the Lord will help me to be a lampstand, to give light to those who surround me so that they can see God’s glory and grace.
SCRIPTURE READING: Amos 2:4-16
釋義: 當聖經說: 「耶和華從天上垂看世人，要看有明白的沒有，有尋求神的沒有。他們都偏離正路，一同變為污穢；並沒有行善的，連一個也沒有。」(詩十四2~3五三2~3)或用肯定的句子說: 「世人都犯了罪」(羅三23)時, 就是指全人類━━包括古今中外、外邦或蒙神揀選的選民或信徒都是罪人, 雖然不是犯同一樣罪, 無論如何總是犯罪。
INSIGHT: When the Bible says, ” The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (Psalm 14:2-3; 53:2-3) or when it uses a definite sentence such as: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), that means that all human beings — in the past and in the present, in China and anywhere else in the entire world, gentiles and God’s chosen people, even believers, although they commit different sins, no matter what, all are sinners.
當先知向四周鄰國宣告: 「三番四次地犯罪，我必不免去他們的刑罰」以色列也許心中暗笑, 以為他們可以倖免。誰知阿摩司向他們撥冷水說, 猶大和以色列也同樣「三番四次地犯罪，我必不免去他們的刑罰。」
When the prophet declared to the neighboring nations: “For three sins, even for four, I will not relent.” Israel may have laughed within herself thinking that she would be spared. Who would have known that Amos would throw a wet blanket on Judah and Israel when he also said to them: “For three sins of Israel, even for four, I will not relent.”
Apparently, the Israelites did not sin as the other nations did, thus it seemed that their punishment was too harsh. The prophet did not mention their slave trade nor their excessive violence. They did not murder pregnant women or unborn children, nor did they do other blasphemous acts. They simply: “Rejected the law of the Lord.” That kind of behavior, in our modern democratic society, is considered to be everyone’s freedom and rights. We are now living in an era of freedom of religious beliefs. Everyone has the freedom to not believe in a religion.
But we cannot use modern social trends to evaluate Judah from ancient times. God judges according to the following principle: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48) The Israelites were God’s chosen people and as such they had greater responsibilities. They were a special group of people because they were the chosen ones and all nations on earth would be blessed through them. (Genesis 18:18) Judah should have stood up as an example of integrity and justice as a witness to the sinful nations that surrounded her; but, unfortunately, she not only neglected to do so but was full of social injustice (v. 6), moral corruption (v. 7), and her religion was a failure. (v. 8, 11-12). Her negligence was reproachable and unforgivable. Judah was to be blamed because she received much but gave nothing in return. They were unforgivable because due to the inhumanness of this nation they had forfeited their conscience and were unable to be a witness to the righteous God.
by 洪同勉牧師 Rev. Tommy Hung