v 5. You can’t wait for the Sabbath day to be over
and the religious festivals to end
so you can get back to cheating the helpless.
You measure out grain with dishonest measures
and cheat the buyer with dishonest scales.
One of the places where social injustice can be seen is in the realm of business ventures. There are frequent TV programmes that highlight dubious practices and scamming in its various forms. It is not uncommon to hear of older people cheated out of their savings, or persuaded to buy something that is totally unnecessary. The rise of online shopping and banking has seen a proliferation of such offences. I guess there have always been people looking for a quick buck by cheating the vulnerable or hacking computer users.
Now, I can almost hear you shouting at me – ‘But, I’M not like that’! But I want you to notice that the people Amos refers to keep the religious niceties of life – they observe the Sabbath, they maintain the religious festivals – in short, they are probably quite nice people. The issue for them is hypocrisy. Outwardly, they stick to the appearances of religion, but inwardly they have quite different standards.
Isn’t that the very charge Jesus levelled at the Pharisees?
And just how vulnerable are we to that attitude?