Importance of Kindness
John D. Telgren

One of the most severe descriptions of God's judgement in the Minor Prophets comes from Amos.

"Smite the capitals ... break them on the heads of them all! ...Though they dig into Sheol, From there will My hand take them; And though they ascend to heaven, From there will I bring them down ... And though they conceal themselves from My sight on the floor of the sea, From there I will command the serpent and it will bite them. And though they go into captivity before their enemies, From there I will command the sword that it slay them, And I will set My eyes against them for evil and not for good (Amos 9:1-4)."

No matter where they go, they will not escape the stare of God who set his eyes against them. There was no place to hide! So should they come and offer peace and sin-offerings to God in order to appease him? "I hate, I reject your festivals ... Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them ... Take away from Me the noise of your songs (Amos 5:21-23).".

So worship won't work. What else is there to do? Notice what the passage goes on to say ... "But let justice roll down like waters And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream (Amos 5:24)."

God was not interested in some sort of ritual. They needed to change their hearts. They were guilty of grave injustices to one another (5:11-12; 6:12; 8:4-7). That has been happening among people since the beginning, but God expected more from his chosen people: "You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities (Amos 3:2)."

God punished Egypt for their human injustices against Israel. The final blow that loosed their grip was when he "passed through" Egypt and slew all of the first born of the Egyptians, but spared the first born of Israel. Now the tables are turned. God is about to "pass through" Israel for their injustice to one another. "And in all the vineyards there is wailing, Because I will pass through the midst of you," says the Lord (Amos 5:17)."

The message should ring loud and clear. God is concerned with people. God demands we treat each other justly with kindness. Notice the words of another prophet from the same time period: " Therefore, return to your God, Observe kindness and justice (Hos 12:6)."

Paul says basically the same thing, "If not have love, I am nothing (1 Cor 13:2)." John wrote, "We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death (1 Jno 3:14)." These sobering verses should remind us of the importance and greatness of love. Through his kindness (Tit 3:4), God saved us. He in turn calls us to be kind to one another. To help us with it, he gives us his Spirit, and part of the fruit of the Spirit is kindness (Gal 5:22).