Advent Devotion – Friday December 14

December 14, 2018 ~ Carolyn Matthews

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Rev. David Roberts, Retired American Baptist pastor, member, Board of Trustees, American Baptist Seminary of the West, ABSW ‘73



Where is there hope in the land?


Amos 8:4–12

4 Hear this, you that trample on the needy,
and bring to ruin the poor of the land,

saying, “When will the new moon be over
so that we may sell grain;
and the sabbath,
so that we may offer wheat for sale?
We will make the ephah small and the shekel great,
and practice deceit with false balances,

buying the poor for silver
and the needy for a pair of sandals,
and selling the sweepings of the wheat.”

The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.

Shall not the land tremble on this account,
and everyone mourn who lives in it,
and all of it rise like the Nile,
and be tossed about and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt?

On that day, says the Lord God,
I will make the sun go down at noon,
and darken the earth in broad daylight.

10 I will turn your feasts into mourning,
and all your songs into lamentation;
I will bring sackcloth on all loins,
and baldness on every head;
I will make it like the mourning for an only son,
and the end of it like a bitter day.

11 The time is surely coming, says the Lord God,
when I will send a famine on the land;
not a famine of bread, or a thirst for water,
but of hearing the words of the Lord.

12 They shall wander from sea to sea,
and from north to east;
they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord,
but they shall not find it. (New Revised Standard Version – NRSV)


Where is there hope in the land?

A little more than half way through this season of Advent, preparing for the coming of the Messiah, and we are confronted with the words of Amos. Eugene Peterson’s The Message paraphrases vs. 4 as “Listen to this, you who walk all over the weak, you who treat poor people as less than nothing.”

This is being written shortly after the mid-term elections in which $27 million was spent in one congressional race in the state where I reside. After such expenditures, who will have the ear of the elected one? The homeless person with her cardboard sign sitting by the side of the road? The mentally ill person babbling as he pushes a cart down the sidewalk? The corporate CEO billionaire whose warehouse workers make minimum wages with few, if any, benefits?

Where is there hope in the land?

God says through Amos that things were so bad in that time that God was threatening a walk out. “Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the Lord, but they will not find it.”

With such immense issues facing our nation, it is tempting to say, “But what can I do?” Perhaps a place of beginning is to revisit yesterday’s devotion and create an empty space within our lives where we might have opportunity to hear the word of the Lord. Then we may be able to walk in the world as the people of God. That can make all the difference.


May your Spirit enable us to walk with you, Holy One, in this world. We desire to hear your voice. Help us to be courageous in our hearing and in our doing. Amen.