|Volume 22 Number 11 November 2020||
We can learn some vital lessons reading through Amos 2:6-8. Oppression and sexual immorality are degrading; they were then, and they are now, too. Israel maltreated the poor, whereas God required that they were to be treated with respect and honour (Psalm 41:4; Proverbs 17:5; 14:31). However, it was obvious by Israel’s actions that the nation had no respect for God’s Word. The Israelites despised the commandments of God, for they could have treated the poor with respect and not oppressed them.
The poor were considered valueless in the ancient nation of Israel, but God viewed them as priceless. Prophet Amos wrote concerning the way the rulers and nobles maltreated the upright and the poor. “They sell the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of sandals” (Amos 2:6). Israel oppressed the poor so greatly that God had no option other than to discipline it.
The nation of Israel engaged in large scale sexual immorality. Brethren, “flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.” Since we are bought with the precious blood of Christ, we should glorify God in our bodies and in our spirits, rather than in immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).
Are you an oppressor? Flee oppression! Love your neighbors as yourself. All must learn to respect the poor. The poor must learn to respect themselves. “A poor man who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain which leaves no food” (Proverbs 28:3). Possess your vessel in purity! Flee sexual immorality so that you will not be reduced to a crust of bread (Proverbs 6:26-35).
The Christian Graces
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5-8)
Wow! Read those verses carefully and what you will find is a serious challenge for all of God’s children. Of course, we have understood this since the ministry of Christ, when He revealed that His way would lead to eternal life. Yet, these verses also mean that great difficulty would come, some of which involves persecution from those not of faith.
First, you will notice that Peter penned, “Make every effort.” In other words, with all that we are, in all we do and even in the power of our thinking, we ought to pursue these things.
Second, he said, “Supplement your faith.” The word “supplement” means “to add,” and it implies that faith cannot stand by itself. Things must be added to it. Not adding these things is like trying to drink a cup of tea with tea and a cup but with no water.
Third, Peter wrote that there are seven essential supplements to faith, and by adding them together, they result in effectiveness and in fruitfulness. Just like “1 + 6” does not equal eight, we must not fall short of adding all of these if we are to be effective and fruitful. The tendency is for us to pick the virtues that are easy, work on them and ignore the ones which are more difficult, perhaps claiming, “Well, I am just that way.”
Finally, notice that Peter left room for growth here. Peter penned, “in you and increasing.” We must add them to start, but that does not mean we have to get it all right all the time. We simply won’t. God is merciful when we don’t and corrects us so we can be fruitful once more. Begin your journey toward fruitfulness by finding your life firmly rooted and grounded in these virtues.