By Kay Moll
What did Amos feel as he set out to deliver God’s message? Was he afraid? Did he worry about the consequences of delivering an unpopular message to a hostile audience? Did he wonder why God had chosen him, a shepherd from Tekoa? Did he wonder if he had heard the call correctly? Did he consider not going?
The text does not say. Scripture just recounts the message Amos delivered from the Lord, condemning the evil that was rampant. The kingdoms against which Amos prophesied chose not to listen. Judgment came.
Courage to Speak
God still calls people to speak against evil and injustice. The message is still not popular. Audiences are still hostile. And it still requires a tremendous amount of courage to speak.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer condemned evil and injustice in Nazi Germany, knowing that he was putting himself in grave danger. He could have avoided it. In 1939 he came to America and could have stayed until the war was over. But Bonhoeffer believed that he had to return to Germany. He believed that he would not have the right to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if he did not share the trials with the people. He knew that he had to speak out and believed he could not do so from a place of security.
Courage to Act
Bonhoeffer returned. He condemned the actions of Hitler against the Jews, against the poor, against all those who had no voice. He was arrested on April 5, 1943, and was executed on April 9, 1945—just two weeks before Americans liberated the camp where he had been held and one month before Nazi Germany capitulated.
Bonhoeffer wrote: “Who stands fast? Only the man whose final standard is not his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom, or his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all this when he is called to obedient and responsible action in faith and in exclusive allegiance to God—the responsible man, who tries to make his whole life an answer to the question and call of God.”
Evil and injustice are all too evident in the world today. As he has in the past, God will still work through the efforts of men and women who see the injustices and have the courage to speak and the courage to act.
Kay Moll is a writer and speaker living in Mason, Ohio.