Skip to comments.A Warning From The Prophet Amos Explains a Lot of Our Current Decline
Posted on 07/06/2020 11:04:46 AM PDT by Salvation
Continuing this small series on the decline of culture, a word from the Prophet Amos in todays reading (Thursday of the 13th week of the year) paints a brief picture of what happens when we a nation demand that the Word of God be banished from it hearing. The picture is not complete and may need a bit of adjustment to fit our times but the basic parameters are clear. Lets look at an excerpt from the reading and seek to apply it.
Amos has been ordered by the Amaziah, priest at Bethel to be silent and go away. This may seem astonishing coming from the High Priest at shrine of Bethel, but many of the religious leaders were corrupted and tied to political leaders more than to the Lord. Hence, Amaziah silences Amos with the authority of Jeroboam, King of Israel. Amos replies:
You say: prophesy not against Israel,
preach not against the house of Isaac.
Now thus says the LORD:
Your wife shall be made a harlot in the city,
and your sons and daughters shall fall by the sword;
Your land shall be divided by measuring line,
and you yourself shall die in an unclean land;
Israel shall be exiled far from its land. (Amos 7:15-17)
In effect Amos says, Fine, you will soon discover the cost of banishing the Word of God from your midst; great disasters will befall you. All these things and more befell Israel when the Assyrians conquered them in 721 BC. Banishing Gods word left Israel without the warnings and the strength that comes from knowledge of and respect for Gods Words. As such they grew weak, for when the faith is not strong neither is the family and close-knit kinships that make for a strong and united nation. When human relationships are beset with injustice and sin, divisions increase and become bitter.
In our own time the Word of God and religious influence have also, in increasing stages been banished. Prayer is banished from schools and many public events. Nativity sets and other reminders of the faith such as crosses are more difficult to display. In many newer towns it is difficult to get zoning that permits the building of churches in prominent locations. And, in large numbers most Americans seldom if ever go to church any more. There is a bland secularism where God and the faith are seldom on many peoples minds. There is also a militant secularism that strongly opposes any religious influence. This too is having many negative effects, some of which have been detailed in my previous columns from this week. But for today, Lets take Amos list and adapt it to our own times.
Your wife shall be made a harlot in the city It was common in ancient warfare to kill at great number of men but allow the women and girls to live. What Amos likely meant was that many women, destitute and without husbands, fathers or sons, would be reduced to the cruel of fate of prostitution to survive or be used as sex slaves. In our own time we do of course observe that sex trafficking (another name for sexual slavery) has very sadly resurfaced to serve the sex industry: pornographers and pimps, all those who sexually exploit vulnerable women and children. It is a grave sin! But in a wider sense in our culture we also observe that many people play the harlot through widespread sexual promiscuity. As the word of God is increasingly banished from our culture, men and women engage in many forms of illicit sexual activity from pornography, fornication, adultery, homosexual acts and cohabitation. While these things were not unknown in more religious times, they were considered shameful and sinful. But in these times of a secular and non-biblical worldview, these sins are widely approved of and even celebrated. Hence vast numbers in our culture play the harlot and even vaster numbers approve and celebrate this.
and your sons and daughters shall fall by the sword As always it is children who most pay the price for adult misbehavior. Since 1973 in the US alone, more than 50 million children were aborted. They literally fell by the sword and other deadly means. 85% of abortions are performed on single women which causally links most abortions to fornication and unchastity. A vast number of other children fall by a more figurative swords as they are subject to the seemingly endless suffering wrought on them by adult sexual confusion and misbehavior: single-motherhood, absent fathers, higher poverty rates, divorce and all the frustration and confusion it causes them (with daddy this weekend, mom next weekend) and dubious experiments of gay adoption. Every child deserves to have a married father and mother stably present in their lives manifesting the masculine and feminine genius of being human. Today, less than half of children experience this, and it becomes like a sword that cuts them to the heart. Add to this, early exposure to pornography many of them face and the heavy promotion of contraception, homosexual acts and transgenderism foisted on them even in very early years of the government school system. It is no wonder so many of them fall by swords of sexually transmitted diseases, teenage pregnancy, sexual objectification, sexual abuse, loneliness and an ever-deepening sexual confusion that could not even be imagined just ten years ago. Gods Word provides clarity on the selfishness and sinfulness of sexual misbehavior. But we have collectively banished this Word from our culture and some even call Scripture hateful and outdated. Having sown the wind, we are now reaping the whirlwind.
Your land shall be divided by measuring line A measuring line is a biblical expression that usually refers to a just judgment that comes upon a person or nation; good results for just behavior, bad results for sinful behavior. The people of Amos time came up short; and so have we. Our land today is a crisis of division that threatens our very existence as a country. Not since 1861 have our political divisions been so deep. It is not at all a remote idea that certain regions and states in the U.S. will begin a secessionist movement. In an earlier column this week I traced the tyranny of relativism and how it has intensified our divisions and made reasoned discussions nearly impossible. In this climate, the winner of a debate is the one who yells the loudest, or has the greater power, or publicity. Our culture has become fierce and contentious and both social and regular media help to further overheat it. Many of the very ones who speak of tolerance end up being the very one who use raw judicial power to get their way and demand that we will either comply with their agenda or face increasingly punitive measures. Our divisions are very deep in this country now, so deep as to reach the boiling point. As we discussed in a previous column this week, the biblical worldview used to provide a general framework for consensus. But having jettisoned that, deep tyrannical divisions are now emerging. Our land has been measured and found wanting, yes we are lacking the Word of God.
and you yourself shall die in an unclean land; Israel shall be exiled far from its land While actual exile for most of us is unlikely just now, we do increasingly experience an alienation from this Land. Most of us who are older, barely recognize the America we once knew, especially as regards family life and free speech. That America was flawed, to be sure, but still functional and with a central vision and dream, the American dream. That America was confident, perhaps to a fault, and we admired our founding principles even if we lived them imperfectly. We were also a very religious country and the land of the free and the home of the brave, and the biblical framework helped us to mend or worst flaws. The abolitionists and the Civil Rights leaders emerged from the churches. That America is hard to find now and it is hard not to feel like an exile in a foreign land at times. But God has left the building and collectively we showed him the door.
Yes, life gets pretty miserable without God and when we banish his Word from our midst. Amos says it plain.
Monsignor Pope Ping!
We are studying The Book of Amos in Sunday School these days. It is so very applicable to this hour.
that was hauntingly beautiful
thank you for sharing
In the Centennial Year of our Declaration of Independence, a courageous and historically-knowledgeable A.M.E. Bishop/Ohio State Legislator preached a Sermon honoring that historic celebration. Maybe some who have missed my previous postings on that Sermon can enjoy that Bishop's words:
The following is a brief, but important, excerpted portion of a Centennial Thanksgiving Sermon delivered by Dr. Benjamin W. Arnett, a Black Ohio State Legislator and A.M.E. Bishop in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in the Year 1876, after the end of the Civil War. The Sermon may be read at the Library of Congress, African-American Section:
"Then we can say that we give to every man, woman and child the benefit of our free institutions, giving all the benefits of our common school and the freedom to worship God under their own vine and fig tree. Then will we see written, on the banner of our free, redeemed and disenthralled country, the sublime words written, not in the blood of men, but in the sun-light of truth, that "Righteousness exalteth a nation." It will fall like the morning dew on the lowly; it will descend like the showers of May on the poor; and like the sun it will shine on the good and bad, dispensing from the hand of plenty the blessings of a government founded on the principle of justice and equality.
"Standing on the threshold of the second century of the nation's life, with the experience of the past lying at our feet, we are saluted by the shout of triumph from the millions who left their homes and business and attended the Great Exposition of the skill and genius of the world, collected at Philadelphia. We were permitted to receive the greetings from the oldest to the youngest nation of the earth. Egypt and the United States clasped hands over the waste of 5,000 years, and lay their treasures at the feet of our civilization. The material, intellectual and mechanical deterioration of the one, and the unprecedented progress of the other, stand in great contrast; in all that makes the nation great,—morally, religiously and socially, the young nation is ahead.
"Following the tracks of righteousness throughout the centuries and along the way of nations, we are prepared to recommend it to all and assert without a shadow of doubt, that "Righteousness exalted a nation"; but on the other hand following the foot-prints of sin amid the ruins of Empires and remains of cities, we will say that "sin is a reproach to any people." But we call on all American citizens to love their country, and look not on the sins of the past, but arming ourselves for the conflict of the future, girding ourselves in the habiliments of Righteousness, march forth with the courage of a Numidian lion and with the confidence of a Roman Gladiator, and meet the demands of the age, and satisfy the duties of the hour. Let us be encouraged in our work, for we have found the moccasin track of Righteousness all along the shore of the stream of life, constantly advancing, holding humanity with a firm hand. We have seen it “through” all the confusion of rising and falling States, of battle, siege and slaughter, of victory and defeat; through the varying fortunes and ultimate extinctions of Monarchies, Republics and Empires; through barbaric irruption and desolation, feudal isolation, spiritual supremacy, the heroic rush and conflict of the Cross and Crescent; amid the busy hum of industry, through the marts of trade and behind the gliding keels of commerce.”
"And in America, the battle-field of modern thought, we can trace the foot-prints of the one and the tracks of the other. So let us use all of our available forces, and especially our young men, and throw them into the conflict of the Right against the Wrong.
"Then let the grand Centennial Thanksgiving song be heard and sung in every house of God; and in every home may thanksgiving sounds be heard, for our race has been emancipated, enfranchised and are now educating, and have the gospel preached to them!"
The following is a special excerpt from an earlier section of Dr. Arnett's Centennial:"Withdraw from Christendom the Bible, the Church with its sacraments and ministry, and Christian morality and hopes, and aspirations for time and eternity; repeal all the laws that are founded in the Christian Scriptures; remove the Christian humanities in the form of hospitals and asylums, and reformatories and institutions of mercy utterly unknown to unchristian countries; destroy the literature, the culture, the institutions of learning, the art, the refinement, the place of woman in her home and in society, which owe their origin and power to Christianity; blot out all faith in Divine Providence, love, and righteousness; turn back every believer in Christ to his former state; remove all thought or hope of the forgiveness of sins by a just but gracious God; erase the name of Christ from every register it sanctifiesin a word annihilate all the legitimate and logical effects of Christianity in Christendomjust accomplish in fact what multitudes of gifted and learned minds are wishing and trying to accomplish by their science, philosophy, and criticism, and what multitudes of the common people desire and seek, and not only would all progress toward and unto perfection cease, but not one of the shining lights of infidelity would shine much longer. Yes, the bitterest enemies of this holy and blessed religion, owe their ability to be enemies to its sacred revelations - to the inspiration and sublimity of that faith which reflects its glories on their hostile natures. They live in the strength of that which they would destroy. They are raised to their seats of opportunity and power by the grace of Him they would crucify afresh; and is it to be thought that they are stronger than that which gives them strength? Can it be supposed that a religion which civilizes and subdues, and elevates and blesses will succumb to the enmities it may arouse and quicken in its onward march? Are we to tremble for the ark of God when God is its upholder, and protector, and preserver? - Dr. Benjaming W. Arnett, St. Paul A.M.E. Church, Urbana, Ohio, Centennial Thanksgiving Sermon, November 1876
President Trump and his supporters refuse to accept any USA decline or any permanent decadence of Western Civilisation, and they fully intend to restore America to ascendancy. Note tagline.
All decent, intelligent people support President Trump and the re-ascendancy of the USA!
As President Trump has said repeatedly: "The best is yet to come!"
It certainly sounds as though it could be applied to everything happening today.
Monsignior gets it.
God will not be mocked. I hope and pray we can turn this ship around.
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