July 4
Amos 2:6-7, 3:1-2

Stealing from the poor

The kingdom of Israel had split: there was a Northern kingdom (still called Israel), and a Southern kingdom (now called Judah). God spoke through different prophets who preached to the people in Israel and in Judah. Amos was a prophet who preached to the people in the Northern Kingdom, where some had become very rich while others lived in poverty.

God told Amos to say this to the rich; “You sell honest men as slaves and poor men for a pair of sandals. You trample down the weak and helpless and push the poor aside. Of all the nations on earth, you are the ones I have cared for. This is why your sin is so terrible, and for that I will punish you.”

What should I do when someone can’t pay me back?

Jesus told a story about a servant who owed his master a lot of money. When he couldn’t pay it back, the king ordered him to be sold as a slave to pay his debt. The servant begged the king to be patient with him. The king felt sorry for the servant and forgave him his debt. But later on, when this same servant met someone else who owed him money, he was not willing to forgive the other person his small debt (Matthew 18:23-35).

God was angry because the rich Israelites demanded their money back from the poor—even though they themselves had more than enough to live on. What made God even more angry was that they sold others into slavery, forgetting that they themselves had been rescued from slavery in Egypt.

If someone owes you something that they cannot give back, remember that things should never become more important than people. If you are kind to others, God will be kind to you!

Verse for today

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. Luke 6:35