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Amos アモス書

Today we continue our march through the books of the Bible.
Overview of journey so far. [image]
The law, the history books, the wisdom literature, the major prophets, the minor prophets.
Today we arrive at the third of the minor prophets, Amos.
And right off the bat I’ll tell you one thing I really like about Amos: he was a farmer.
He wasn’t a prophet or in the courts like Isaiah and Jeremiah.
He was a common man, tending sheep and growing grapes, whom God used to reach His people.

He was from Judah, the southern kingdom, yet most of his prophetic ministry was directed toward Israel, the northern kingdom.

Amos prophesied in the mid 700s BC, before the Assyrian captivity when Israel was enjoying a time of prosperity and political and military heights, as prophesied earlier by Elisha and Jonah.

Yet when abundance came, the people forgot God and fell into idolatry, material indulgences, immorality, judicial corruption and oppression of the poor.

Past punishments and warnings had been forgotten and so God sent Amos to announce that His (God’s) patience was at an end.

Amos was sent to warn Israel that the coming judgement was not just a short-term blow or some sort of shock therapy. It would be almost total destruction.

God was not the big old softy they thought he was.

The unthinkable was about to happen: because they had been unfaithful, God was about to uproot and virtually destroy His chosen people by the hands of a pagan nation.

There was always the chance to repent.

And God still had glorious plans for the future of His people beyond the coming judgement.

So God would not completely abandon His people or His plan of redemption, but His people would pay a very heavy price for their unfaithfulness and that is what Amos was sent to announce.

I’m only going to look at one passage from Amos today. It comes right in the centre of the book and it carries with it the central theme of Amos’ message.

18 Woe to you who long
for the day of the Lord!
Why do you long for the day of the Lord?
That day will be darkness, not light.

21 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
your assemblies are a stench to me.
22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
I will have no regard for them.
23 Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
24 But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!
Amos 5:18-24
18 わざわいなるかな、主の日を望む者よ、あなたがたは何ゆえ主の日を望むのか。これは暗くて光がない。
19 人がししの前を逃れてもくまに出会い、また家にはいって、手を壁につけると、へびにかまれるようなものである。
20 主の日は暗くて、光がなく、薄暗くて輝きがないではないか。
21 わたしはあなたがたの祭を憎み、かつ卑しめる。わたしはまた、あなたがたの聖会を喜ばない。
22 たといあなたがたは§祭や素祭をささげても、わたしはこれを受けいれない。あなたがたの肥えた獣の酬恩祭は/わたしはこれを顧みない。
23 あなたがたの歌の騒がしい音を/わたしの前から断て。あなたがたの琴の音は、わたしはこれを聞かない。
24 公道を水のように、正義をつきない川のように流れさせよ。

God’s people, enjoying abundance, were ‘faithfully’ going through the motions but their hearts were far from God, as evidenced by their lifestyles.

Fine. But that was almost 3000 years ago. How does it relate to us today?

Let me paraphrase this passage: この箇所は言い換えると次のようになります。

18 Woe to you who long
for the day of the Lord!
Why do you long for revival?
That day will be darkness, not light.
18 わざわいなるかな、主の日を望む者よ、あなたがたは何ゆえ主の復活を望むのか。

21 “I hate, I despise your Sunday morning services;
your youth groups and sunday schools are a stench to me.
21 わたしはあなたがたの日曜礼拝を憎み、かつ卑しめる。わたしはまた、あなたがたのユースグループと日曜学校を喜ばない。

22 Even though you take communion and have small group prayer,
I will not accept you.
Though you put your money in the bag,
I will have no regard for it.
22 たといあなたがたが聖餐式や祈りの会をもったとしても、わたしは神を受けいれない。

23 Away with the noise of your songs! 
I will not listen to the music of your guitars and keyboards and drums.
23 あなたがたの歌の騒がしい音を/わたしの前から断て。あなたがたのギターやキーボードやドラムの音は、わたしはこれを聞かない。

24 But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!
24 公道を水のように、正義をつきない川のように流れさせよ。

I want to be clear that I do not believe that is the message for our church today.

But putting it like that might give you an idea how offended and hurt the Israelites might (or should!) have felt when Amos pronounced it, as well as serve as a warning for us to keep our eyes on the cross, and not on our own endeavours.

Living as people of God has always been about affectionate faithfulness – loving obedience – and never about being religious or merely following rules or performing rituals.

It was Samuel 700 years earlier who told King Saul:

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has rejected you as king.”
1 Samuel 15:22,23
23 そむくことは占いの罪に等しく、/強情は偶像礼拝の罪に等しいからである。あなたが主のことばを捨てたので、/主もまたあなたを捨てて、王の位から退けられた」。

This was not just an Old Testament teaching.

We seek the Kingdom of God and the manifestations of the Holy Spirit and so we should.

But Paul warns the Corinthian church in no uncertain terms that 

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge [things that we are encouraged to seek!], and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3

1 たといわたしが、人々の言葉や御使たちの言葉を語っても、もし愛がなければ、わたしは、やかましい鐘や騒がしい応鉢と同じである。
2 たといまた、わたしに預言をする力があり、あらゆる奥義とあらゆる知識ととに通じていても、また、山を移すほどの強い信仰があっても、もし愛がなければ、わたしは無に等しい。
3 たといまた、わたしが自分の全財産を人に施しても、また、自分のからだを焼かれるために渡しても、もし愛がなければ、いっさいは無益である。

It all comes back to relationship, not rules.
It’s devotion, not deeds.
And it’s love, not liturgy. And relationship, devotion and love bear fruit.

Look at the incident with Mary:マリヤに起こった出来事をみてみましょう。

3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages[a] and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.
6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.
Mark 14:3-6
3 イエスがベタニヤで、らい病人シモンの家にいて、食卓についておられたとき、ひとりの女が、非常に高価で純粋なナルドの香油が入れてある石膏のつぼを持ってきて、それをこわし、香油をイエスの頭に注ぎかけた。
4 すると、ある人々が憤って互に言った、「なんのために香油をこんなにむだにするのか。
5 この香油を三百デナリ以上にでも売って、貧しい人たちに施すことができたのに」。そして女をきびしくとがめた。
6 するとイエスは言われた、「するままにさせておきなさい。なぜ女を困らせるのか。わたしによい事をしてくれたのだ。

Mary’s worship and devotion were completely over the top. It made no sense.
But it was “a beautiful thing”.

Let’s take this understanding of true devotion and extravagant worship back to the central theme in Amos:

24 But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!

Rivers and streams refresh and bring life.

True worship and devotion to God will bear the fruits of true justice and righteousness, not as a set of rules to follow but as the fruits of a new heart
like Mary’s heart when she poured the perfume on Jesus’ head,
like King David’s heart when he wrote and sang out his psalms to God,
like Joshua and Caleb’s heart when they returned from spying out the land and praised God for His provision and rebuked the other spies for their lack of faith,
like Thomas who cried out to Jesus, “My Lord and My God”,
like Paul who praised God from a prison cell and preached the gospel to those in the jail with him.
like Jesus who did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; but rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, And humbled himself by becoming obedient to death on a cross! (Phil 2:6-8)
キリストが、神のかたちであられたが、神と等しくあることを固守すべき事とは思わず、 かえって、おのれをむなしうして僕(しもべ)のかたちをとり、人間の姿になられ、 おのれを低くして、死に至るまで、しかも十字架の死に至るまで従順であられたように

At our church, we are seeking the Kingdom of God and it’s righteousness.
We are seeking to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
We are seeking to evangelise the lost.
We are seeking to grow our church.
Wonderful, Godly goals. 素晴らしい、神に基づいた目標です。
But as we seek these things, let’s heed the warning from Amos and the other prophets and be sure to please God by doing everything out of love for Him and for others, and with a sense of godly justice and righteousness as well.