Matters of Faith: Accept No Substitutes

By Reverend J. Loren Russell, BA, MDiv.

‭‭Amos 5:24‬ ‭NKJV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬
“But let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

When Amos penned these words, it was a time of great prosperity of for Israel and Judah. They had reached the pinnacle of their political and military prowess. Many saw their success as a sign from God that He was pleased with them, and their prosperity was evidence of His blessings on them. But their covenent relationship was to love their neighbors as they loved themselves. Running rampant around their prosperity and affluence was religious immorality and social injustice, widespread idolatry, immorality, judicial corruption, and economic oppression. They had an outward appearance of devotion, offering sacrifices out of their abundance, but lacked true worship because they had broken their covenant with the Lord. They were to love their neighbors as themselves.

Amos was a self-professed simple man who denied being a professional prophet. He was just a shepherd who cared for sycamore-fig trees, yet was called by God to deliver a message of divine judgment and retribution because of God’s displeasure with His people. He told them that there was looming punishment if there was not a change of heart and a change of behavior.

I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between the societies of Amos’ day and the United States today. Like the Israelites and Judah, we have unprecedented wealth and prosperity in our country, while at the same time we have widespread idolatry, gross immorality, ever-growing social injustice, extensive economic oppression, even sweeping debt that touches almost everyone in one way or another. We are not being any more loving of our neighbors than Israel and Judah were to theirs. We should learn from their mistakes.

Amos would advocate that we use our wealth to invest in God’s kingdom so that justice does run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream. There are no substitutes for genuine righteousness, faith, love and honor of God. I find myself wondering in what ways can we change our behavior so that we are true reflections of God’s divine justice and righteousness?

Be Blessed +++

Rev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial &. Strategic Consulting, and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio, Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. Listen by phone” at 626-226-1448. Be sure to Friend “Matters of Faith” on Facebook and email us at Order your copy of Matters of Faith: The Book at Book Blues.

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