When the time is right…
‘A basket of ripe fruit,’ I answered.
Then the Lord said to me, ‘The time is ripe for my people Israel; I will spare them no longer. Amos 8:1-2
In that day, the songs of the temple will turn to wailing. Many bodies will be flung everywhere.
In that day, the land will tremble and all who live in it will mourn.
In that day, the sun will go down in the day and the whole earth turn to darkness.
In that day, the religious festivals will turn to mourning.
In that day, there will be a famine – a hunger for hearing God’s words that cannot be quenched.
In that day, the people will faint because of their thirst.
In that day, the people will fall, never to rise again.
Why would God do such a thing? How can God of love treat His own people this way?
The Lord has sworn by himself, the Pride of Jacob: ‘I will never forget anything they have done.’ Amos 8:7
Because He is watching. He sees all. He cannot turn a blind eye. He can never forget.
And it all boils down to fair trade. Or lack of it.
Hear this, you who trample the needy
and do away with the poor of the land,
‘When will the New Moon be over
that we may sell grain,
and the Sabbath be ended
that we may market wheat?’–
skimping on the measure,
boosting the price
and cheating with dishonest scales,
buying the poor with silver
and the needy for a pair of sandals,
selling even the sweepings with the wheat.’ Amos 8:4-6
This is still happening all over the world today. Traders are cheating with dishonest scales. Hard-working people are not being paid fairly for the work they are doing. They’re working in unsafe conditions. The rich are exploiting the poor. Bringing us our coffee, our chocolate, our cheap clothes.
Consumerism has become the most important thing. Shop workers are forced to work on Sundays and festivals like Boxing Day and Good Friday. Those who are not working cannot wait to get into the shops to buy, buy, buy. Sometimes there are those sat in church, desperate for the service to be over so they can get on with their shopping.
People have become commodities. People are still being bought and sold. Sex trafficking is a thriving industry. There’s money to be made by procuring young girls and selling them for a good price.
The poor are overlooked. The poor have become nothing. Less than human.
And God is watching. He sees all. He cannot turn a blind eye. He can never forget.
The people of Israel may have been fooled into thinking that because God had done nothing about it, then He would continue to do nothing.
We may be fooled into thinking that too. That because all is well now and as a society, we’re getting away with treating people the way we’re treating people, then God is OK with it or turning a blind eye.
God simply waiting for the right time. Like waiting for the fruit in that basket to ripen and be ready to eat. Just because God is waiting now, does not mean He will never act.
He’s watching. He sees all. He cannot turn a blind eye. He can never forget.
We cannot turn away and wring our hands and say there is nothing we can do. We can make wise consumer choices. We can choose when to shop and where to shop and what to buy. We can buy chocolate and coffee and clothes that carry the Fairtrade mark. And so much more too, of course. We can campaign alongside organisations like Stop the Traffik! We can vote for politicians who are making the poor a priority.
There is plenty we can be doing.
God is watching. He sees all. He cannot turn a blind eye. He can never forget.