Respecting Life

John Koedyker

READ : Amos 1:3-5

For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment.

(v. 3)

This is the first of eight oracles, or pronouncements, made by Amos. These statements
were not simply Amos’s thoughts. They express God’s view regarding the conduct not only of
Israel but also of the neighboring countries. And that view was very dim indeed.

The sins of Damascus that Amos catalogues were horrible. The threshing of Gilead with
instruments of iron speaks not only of the brutality of their warfare but also of the
cruel treatment of those taken as prisoners. This was unacceptable in God’s sight. It
could not continue, and Amos predicts correctly that the Lord would not allow it to go
unpunished.

We too live in a brutal world that often does not respect life. Disrespect for human
life is also disrespect for God. All people are created in the image of God and thus are
children of their heavenly Father.

The Heidelberg Catechism, in explaining the commandment “Thou shalt not kill,” adds the
helpful advice that we are “to love our neighbors as ourselves, to be patient,
peace-loving, gentle, merciful, and friendly to them, to protect them from harm as much as
we can, and to do good even to our enemies.” Now that is what God is looking for!

PRAYER

Lord, help me to show love and respect to all the people I meet. Amen.