Monday, November 7, 2022

International Relations

This may seem like a weird title for a post in a theology blog, and you might be wondering if I'm getting caught up in election fever or something, but I assure you - I am not. The inspiration for today's post actually comes from the Bible, from the book of Amos.

When you read through the first couple of chapters of the book of Amos, you read the condemnation of nations for their sins. Of cities, of towns, of municipalities, of peoples. And if you pay attention to what you're reading, something really interesting jumps out. 

Damascus is guilty of threshing Gilead with threshing tools of iron. 

Gaza is guilty of carrying a whole people into exile to hand them over to Edom. 

Tyre is guilty of handing over a whole people as captives to Edom.

Edom is guilty of pursuing his brother with the sword and being angry forever. 

The Ammonites are guilty of ripping up the pregnant women of Gilead, to prevent the town from procreating. 

Moab is guilty of burning the bones of the king of Edom. (Which you would think God would like, if Edom was taking all of these captive peoples, but no.) 

Judah is guilty of rejecting the instruction of the Lord.

Israel is guilty of numerous injustices profaning the name of the Lord. 

Okay, so...what? All of these things make perfect sense, if we're talking about things that God doesn't particularly like. It's an easy list to read right past and to just sort of shrug and say to yourself, "Of course." 

But look again. 

The first six nations/peoples/cities mentioned - Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, the Ammonites, and Moab - are non-Israelite. These are not the set-apart peoples of God. And look at their sin - it is against humans. It is waging war and taking captives and exchanging people as goods and burning bones and destroying the unborn. Every sin listed here for the peoples not of God is a sin against human beings created in the image of God. 

Then we come to Judah, the southern portion of the Kingdom of God's people, and the sin is against God. It's rejecting God. It's breaking the holy covenant. 

Then we come to Israel, the northern (and majority) portion of the Kingdom of God's people, and the list of sins is a list of rejections of God - of His provision, of His power, of His promise, of His goodness, of His love. 

The people of God are guilty of breaking the covenant of God, but the peoples not of God...that's not their sin. 

This is important. It's something we can't afford to miss, whether you're reading this blog from inside the church or outside of it. So let's talk about it a bit this week and see where our discussion takes us. 

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