Jesus continued, So you need to try to follow all these rules, but when you do, it’s really really important to live your religion quietly and humbly! Don’t toot your own horn. Give charity anonymously. Pray silently and mostly when you’re alone. No one needs to see you praying and shit. Same with fasting. Just fast and shut up about it instead of whining about how hungry you are. No one cares. People who are ostentatious in their religion and doing it for attention, not for God.
And when you pray, don’t pray for fancy chariots and fame. Pray for support to get you through your daily lives, for forgiveness for all the small harms you cause, for clarity about the moral path of life.
For that matter, don’t live you life trying to hoard money and things. Possessions are just, stuff, man. They add no intrinsic value to your life. And like, you can’t serve two masters. You gotta choose between God and money, man.
I know the thought of not caring about money freaks a lot of you out. But you’re just worrying about stuff. About an abstraction! Look around at the birds! At the flowers! Do they worry about money? No! They just, like, live. Just live like them. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Live for today. God will provide!
Micah continued, Hey leaders and politicians, aren’t you supposed to practice justice? Yet you eat the poor! You take bribes! You lie! Jerusalem will pay!
Hey you prophets! Shouldn’t you tell the truth? Instead you lie and predict peace. You will all be disgraced.
Micah continued, Woe to people who plot wickedness, who are greedy and oppress and take the property of poor people. You’ll get your comeuppance! Everyone will taunt you!
You guys keep telling me to stop preaching, but should you really silence someone on a mission from God? Stop listening to the prosperity preachers. Those guys are liars. You better stop thinking this peace and prosperity will last. Doom is coming!
The last recorded message of Amos.
God showed Amos a basket of fruit and was all, Amos, what do you see?
Fruit, Amos answered.
Exactly, said God. The time is ripe for Israel’s punishment. All the sinners and oppressors of the poor will die bloody deaths. They will long for me, but I will ignore them!
(And so ends the words of Amos. Next the blessedly short Obadiah)
Amos said, God says to tell you that you’re fucked. It says, Israel’s troops will be decimated. If you seek allies, they will betray you. Your only hope is to turn to the star-maker, me, God. And I’m mad at you because you tax and oppress the poor while you live in luxury. I wish you would repent and stop doing evil. Then I might have mercy. But you won’t. So woe to you! Meeting my anger is like meeting a hungry lion in a dark canyon. I mean, I hate how you worship! All your religious ceremonies disgust me. I can’t stand your hypocritical frippery! You idol worship and betray me. For these reasons, those of you that I don’t kill will be sent into exile.
Moab will burn for crushing Edom.
Judah will burn for cheating on God.
Israel will burn because they sell off God’s dishes, get drunk on the sacrificial wine, treat poor people like shit, and turn a blind eye when fathers and sons both have sex with the same girl.
God will destroy all these nations like It did the Amorites. God brought you out of slavery and Egypt and rose you up high and It will cast you down!
God told me to judge Jerusalem and to list all the reasons why It was angry and had decided to destroy the city. So I announced to everyone, Jerusalem has been condemned to doom and destruction for these reasons:
- The people worship idols, practice polytheism, and all around cheat on God.
- The rules are violent and corrupt and the religious leaders find excuses for all of their misdeeds.
- Many people openly despise their parents.
- People generally treat foreigners badly and they don’t take care of poor women and children and other needy people.
- They break the Sabbath and bastardize the rituals God prefers.
- People lie and slander in order to incite violence.
- Did I mention they cheat on God? It especially dislikes the fertility rituals people commonly perform.
- Sons sleep with their fathers’ wives and girlfriends.
- Men sleep with women on their periods and that really grosses God out.
- Men also sleep with their friends’ wives–some even rape their daughters-in-laws and sisters.
- There are hitmen and goons who commit violence for money.
- People there loan money at interest and generally make profits from their neighbors’ work.
For these reasons God has decided to destroy Jerusalem and kill or scatter its people.
Then Jeremiah went and stood outside of the palace and shouted, If you start making sure everyone follows God’s rules, It might yet spare you! But you have to stop oppressing and cheating poor people! You have to treat widows and orphans well–with charity and love! You can’t abuse and mistreat immigrants! And you have to stop killing the innocent. If you do these things, God will forgive you and spare the city! But you won’t, of course, and so everyone will die and the the city will be destroyed!
Here me, King Zedekiah! Your brother, King Jehohaz isn’t king anymore because he is a captive and will die one! And your brother, King Jehoiakim, who mourns him? Or his ill-fated son, who will also die a slave in a foreign land, childless and forgotten!
When Isaiah wasn’t prophesying disaster, he was praising God for causing disasters and destroying cities. He also praised God for offering solace to the poor and the oppressed–because one day, God would provide everyone with a bounteous feast and remove all sadness from every heart. And on that day everyone would praise God.
God says It knows that you’ve been fasting and praying to get Its attention, but It’s ignoring you because you’re not really living up to Its expectations. You still exploit and oppress the poor, break the Sabbath, lie and gossip, fight with each other, and fail to give charity to the poor and homeless. Make yourselves worthy and fast and pray. Then It will answer you and make sure the rains fall, and the cities are well-built, and everyone is prosperous.