February 14 (Sierra Leone, Day 4)
I am so tired this morning! Jet lag took hold yesterday and I was dragging all throughout the day, and then I was unable to sleep until early this morning. I was tossing and turning until about 2 a.m., and then slept on and off until shortly before 8:00. But I am thankful to have fallen asleep finally. I had trouble controlling my thoughts and fears last night—whether because of the malaria pills, lack of sleep or whatever else. But God is good and answered my prayers for some sleep.
Today we’re going to Simon’s newest church plant (he’s planted over fifty churches!), meeting with another local pastor, and then going to the beach. I’m getting a little anxious to actually get to work! But I’m sure in retrospect we’ll be thankful for these two days to acclimatize.
It’s Valentine’s Day today. I ordered flowers for Leslie before I left and they should be delivered today, but I feel badly that I won’t be there with her. She’s hanging with some single ladies this evening, so at least she won’t be alone.
Having a little coffee now up on the roof of the guest house, an area of the guest house that I just discovered this morning. I can’t believe how pleasant this is—just to have a place to sit and read besides in my small room. There is a nice breeze and actually a beautiful view of the west side of the city. This will be a wonderful place to relax, read, meditate and pray.
Reading: Amos 1-9
I read Amos when I was in Azerbaijan as well. It’s always sobering to read it in place like this in a way that is very different from reading it at home. There is no book in all of Scripture that hits rich people, blind to (or even guilty of) the plight of the poor, over the head harder. The portrait of judgment on these people is absolutely horrifying:
Therefore thus says the Lord: “Your wife shall be a prostitute in the city,
and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword,
and your land shall be divided up with a measuring line;
you yourself shall die in an unclean land,
and Israel shall surely go into exile away from its land.” (7:17)
In short, we will be doomed to the same conditions we have put people in (or, at least Israel was—and our God remains hateful of the oppressive wealthy and ardently supports the poor).
One other very interesting passage is found in 8:11-12:
“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God,
“when I will send a famine on the land—
not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,
but of hearing the words of the Lord.
They shall wander from sea to sea,
and from north to east;
they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord,
but they shall not find it.
This may refer to the exilic time, or the intercanonical time, or to later times (perhaps now), or all three. But what a horrifying thought—that the wickedness of God’s people may result in him refusing to speak to them for a time. God, save us from ourselves.