18th November 2016

If You Don’t Like It, Rub It Out?  

“Do hear this, you who rub out the needy in the morning and oppress the poor from the land
Amos 8:4 (NETS)

Wouldn’t it be fun if we could erase the words we don’t like from Scripture? Or perhaps delete it as one might delete unwanted emails? If you’re like me, you might read something that corrects you in some way, and, instead of taking it to heart, you ignore it or rationalise your way around it or wish you could “whiteout” it or rub it out of the text.

What about people? Is there someone who irritates you so much that you wish you could rub him or her out of every scene of your life? Maybe, in the words from the musical South Pacific, you want to wash that man right out of your hair? Amos 8 addresses that very problem, and the New English Translation of the Bible uses the contemporary idea of “rubbing out” the poor as you might rub someone out of a drawing. The original Hebrew expression implies to “trample upon” the needy, to walk over them, not looking at them at all. Amos’ thought is that the needy are so inconvenient that, for some, they had become a blot on the landscape. How would it be if every morning, as you leave your home, earphones in as you listen to your music, some beggars are in your way as they cry out to you for food or water, or even worse, your money? Wouldn’t it be annoying? How much more convenient if they simply disappeared? Better to ignore them completely and maybe they won’t bother you again?

What is it that Amos says we should hear? Read it for yourself in the rest of the chapter. That favourite music is going to be turned into a lament, and the good times will become bad! That’s a bit over the top, isn’t it? People are going to be so engrossed in following their own consumerism gods and idols that they won’t find the true word of God anywhere, but…it’s all going to go very, very wrong.

Quick! Get an eraser and rub out the whole of Amos 8…ah, that’s better! 

Father, send your word into my heart so that your Spirit may transform me into the loving, compassionate image of your Son. In Jesus’ name.

Study by James Henderson


ancientbibleAbout the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland.

Local Congregation:
You are welcome to attend any of our local congregations in the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.
Or email: admin@daybyday.org.uk

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