God’s people must engage in justice for the vulnerable and our model is water itself.
We must care for the people of no social standing. Amos 5 gives a glimpse into how we do this and it all has to do with the images it describes.
Amos 5:24 uses variations on the image of water to describe social justice – rolling waters and ever-flowing streams to be precise.
Now, this imagery is incredibly informative for two reasons. First, it expresses the duration of justice. In the same way that a river is constant, justice should be constant. There should be no end. God’s people cannot do justice once a year and think we fulfilled God’s quota. As if going on a mission trip to South America or Africa is enough for us to say we have cared for the poor and needy. It is not like we even have a once a month quota. Rather, justice should be like a stream of constant waters. We must be described as a people of justice. Justice should be in every day thing – there should be justice in our homes, in our workplaces, in our neighborhoods, and even while we travel. This is how we should be described; justice should mark everything we do.
Second, the imagery expresses the quality of justice. When we exercise justice, true justice, it will not be just a “quick fix” or an easy way out, but rather something that is working toward long and positive change. This should perhaps make us reconsider how much justice is taking place if we just give a homeless man a dollar and then run away without talking to him; or if we move out of the way for a person in a wheel chair but never take the time to get to know him or her. Is our “justice” real or is it just scraping the bottom of the barrel? To go back to the issue of worship, the greater our justice, the greater God is praised. When we do nothing or even the bare minimum, i.e., in the lowest quality of work, our “worship” to God is also of the lowest quality and he is not pleased with that.
In this second passage of Amos, it has been our desire that we experience a second mindset shift, namely, that we learn that justice impacts worship.
Our worship, our lives mean nothing if we are not living lives of justice. Do you see this now more clearly?