Read Amos 8
Focus on verse 3
When all life has ceased there is silence. Or, as they say in the gangster movies…”dead men tell no tales”. Having attended a few funerals in my lifetime I am always struck by how quietly the body of a deceased person lies in the casket. They make no sound, they don’t move, they just lie there in creepy silence.
As I contemplate this, an even more morbid thought pushes its way into my mind. That thought is, “this is how every human life that ever was and ever will be ends…in deathly silence.” I don’t like this thought. It is not one that I would recommend we spend a lot of time thinking on, however, it is not unhealthy to be reminded once in a while that this is the grim reality of life – it ends with death.
Now, if you are a Bible trivia type of person you will immediately raise the objection that there have been a few biblical exceptions; so let me get those out in the open so that we can move on. The first was Enoch – “Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.” (Genesis 5:24) Then we have the prophet Elijah, who was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind and chariots of fire. (2 Kings 2:11) And then in the New Testament there is Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead, but he apparently died again later and stayed dead, and also Jesus who was killed but rose from the grave and ascended to heaven. As far as I know those are the only possible exceptions to the reality that one hundred percent of people still die. Will science and medicine of the future change this? I rather suspect not, but I’ve been wrong before.
In today’s reading we find a solemn warning to the nation of Israel beginning in verse two;
“The end has come upon my people Israel; I will never again pass by them. The songs of the temple shall become wailings in that day,” declares the Lord God.
“So many dead bodies!”
“They are thrown everywhere!”
“Silence!” (Amos 8:2b-3)
About a month ago that we were all horrified as the news outlets began to report of yet another terrorist attack…this time in Orlando, Florida. Forty-nine people dead, another fifty or so seriously injured. Why? Because one man deceived by a hateful ideology chose to gun down people who happened to be convenient targets.
These forty-nine people who died in that nightclub early that Sunday morning had no idea that this would be their last day on the planet when they were making their plans for Saturday evening.
“So many dead bodies! They are thrown everywhere! Silence!”
How do we process this? One can hardly say that we did not see something like this coming? It is a storm that has been building for years! I heard one person describe it as world war three, this “war on terror” as it is often called. It has touched nearly every corner of the globe. What will it take to stop the bloodshed? More bloodshed?
I believe I know the answer, but I confess I do not like what I know the answer to be. The bloodshed will stop when enough of us realize that it is better to die loving the ones who might kill us than it is to live hating the ones we believe we must kill to survive. The problem is I am quite certain that I don’t have the love nor the courage to do this, however, I know that Jesus does – He already showed us how its done, and He is willing to empower us to do it as well – all we have to do is ask.