By Kay Moll
Several years ago I was playing with two of our granddaughters on a Sunday afternoon. One of them asked if she could put on some “dress up” costumes. Having heard her mother say that they were soon going home, I suggested that she ask first. Her mother told her no.
She was upset, and as a result of her protest, she was sent to time-out. A few minutes later, she came back downstairs again to play. I was surprised to see that she took off her clothes and was headed to the costumes. I said, “Oh, but I thought your mommy said not to.” In all seriousness she replied, “But I’m pretending that I’m the mommy and I said it’s all right!”
Not Fooled Then
My granddaughter’s reaction is not unlike that of the nation of Israel. The message that Amos delivered made it abundantly clear how God wanted them to live. But apparently they didn’t like the message, so they made up their own. They put themselves in the place of God and thought they could fool him through their religious rituals. They were wrong. God was not fooled.
They were not the only ones who tried to fool God. Adam and Eve tried it in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2, 3). Achan tried it when he stole forbidden treasure at Jericho (Joshua 7). Jonah apparently thought God would not find him if he ran away from Nineveh (Jonah 1). Ananias and Sapphira thought no one would know if they kept money from the sale of their property (Acts 5). In none of these instances was God fooled.
Not Fooled Now
And he is not fooled today. God still expects his people to care for the poor, the defenseless, the abused, and the outcast.
The church would do well to heed the admonition of the apostle Paul: “Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life” (Galatians 6:7, 8, The Message).
Kay Moll is a writer and speaker living in Mason, Ohio.