Morning Musing: Exodus 4:24-26

“On the trip, at an overnight campsite, it happened that the Lord confronted him and intended to put him to death. So Zipporah took a flint, cut off her son’s foreskin, threw it at Moses’s feet, and said, ‘You are a bridegroom of blood to me!’ So he let him alone. At that time she said, ‘You are a bridegroom of blood,’ referring to the circumcision.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of my favorite Monty Python movies is “Now for Something Completely Different.” It’s just a string of sketches, each one totally different from the last. Every time they switch from one to another, something completely random comes across the screen and one of the comedy troupe members looks right at the camera and says, “And now for something completely different.” This story would fit rather snuggly in that category. It seems to come totally out of left field and doesn’t make a lot of sense. Let’s talk about what may be going on here, and how it fits in the larger story.

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Digging in Deeper: Amos 5:24

“But let justice flow like water, and righteousness, like an unfailing stream.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Karl Marx is infamous (or perhaps famous depending on your perspective) for his observation that “religion is the opium of the people.” As you can perhaps guess, he wasn’t a fan of it. That disdain lives on in our culture today in a variety of places including the church on occasion. It is trendy for some churches to talk about how religion is bad, but a relationship with Jesus is good. In this passage from Amos, God seems to agree. Let’s talk about why and what’s really going on here.

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Digging in Deeper: Amos 5:14-15

“Pursue good and not evil so that you may live, and the Lord, the God of Armies, will be with you as you have claimed. Hate evil and love good; establish justice at the city gate. Perhaps the Lord, the God of Armies, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the most dangerous things in life is to be convinced we are on the right track when we are really on the wrong one. More than once in the writings of the Hebrew prophets we find them including the response of the people to God’s declaration of judgment coming on them. And in several of these responses we find them expressing shock at the reprimand they have received. They genuinely believed they were on the right track and weren’t doing anything wrong. After all, they were practicing various aspects of the religion faithfully. Wasn’t that enough to make God happy? Yet He wanted more. Let’s talk about what more He wanted from them and what this might mean for us.

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Morning Musing: Amos 5:7

“Those who turn justice into wormwood also throw righteousness to the ground.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

We live in a society that highly values the idea of justice. It’s baked into our very existence as a nation. Our Pledge of Allegiance closes by describing our country as a place of “liberty and justice for all.” One of our first and most popular superheroes’ slogans for a long time was that he stood for “truth, justice, and the American way.” Our ideals as a nation are indeed high and mighty. There’s a reason far, far more people leave their homes around the world in an attempt to live here – even illegally so – than the other way around. And yet, justice isn’t always something we get right. No society does. Let’s talk this morning about justice, God’s passion, and our aim as followers of Jesus.

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Digging in Deeper: Amos 4:4-5

“Come to Bethel and rebel; rebel even more at Gilgal! Bring your sacrifices every morning, your tenths every three days. Offer leavened bread as a thanksgiving sacrifice, and loudly proclaim your freewill offerings, for that is what you Israelites love to do! This is the declaration of the Lord God.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

On occasion I’ve heard a popular Christian speaker joke that he has the spiritual gift of sarcasm. Formally defined, sarcasm is “the use of irony to mock or express contempt.” Irony, of course, is expressing one thing by saying it’s opposite as a means of drawing attention to it. The speaker’s point is that he’s got a knack for poking fun at things that don’t fit with his worldview framework. Sarcasm can be funny, but it can also be pretty mean-spirited. Either way, it can be an effective way of expressing a point in a certain context in fairly unmistakable terms. One of the places we wouldn’t normally expect sarcasm, but in which we nonetheless find it remarkably often, is the Scriptures. Here is a perfect example. Let’s talk this morning about why God is being sarcastic and what we should do with it.

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