As a husband I know I am commanded to provide for my family through work. But what I have discovered is how I handle my work says everything about who I am as a man. This morning in our men’s Bible study we did a study on Amos, and in chapter 8 Amos, a man of business, using analogies from the workplace to show how corrupt the Israelites had gotten. Buried within the text of this chapter we see a brilliant picture on what “bad business” looks like. These Israelites proved their lack of reverence toward God in the way they worked, and it caused God to stand against them.
It would be well worth 10 minutes of your time to listen in. Click here – Bad Business
Check out Amos 8:4-6 and the six principles of bad business we find in them:
“Hear this, you who trample the needy and do away with the poor of the land, saying, “When will the New Moon be over that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?”— skimping on the measure, boosting the price and cheating with dishonest scales, buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, selling even the sweepings with the wheat.”
1) “When will the…..Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?” They saw the Sabbath as an interruption in their business – they hated the fact they couldn’t work on Sunday and wanted every day to be alike. This was a slap in the face of God. They honored it outwardly but inwardly their hearts were corrupt.
2) “skimping on measure….” They did the least they could to make the most they could. When you go to a restaurant and you can see they put the least amount on your plate as they could you realize you won’t be going there any longer. You want to go to a place that puts more on it than what you pay for – this is “giving more in value than you take in pay.” The Israelites did the opposite.
3) “boosting the price…..” Their pricing was based on the highest they could get and not the value of the product. It’s like a hospital having one price for self-pay patients and another for a patient with insurance. They jack the price WAY up because they know the insurance companies will pay for it. This is wrong.
4) “cheating with dishonest scales….” Because shoppers back in this day didn’t walk around with their own scale they had to rely on the honestly of the merchant. So if they purchased 4 oz of grain but the merchant’s scale was purposely off then they could be charged for 5 or 6 oz of grain, even though they only received 4 oz. This is stealing.
5) “buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals….” They exploited the poor. Knowing the poor didn’t have enough to pay they found ways to get what little they did have, even if it meant taking these poor people as slaves. Selling yourself into slavery when you lacked the means to pay was normal back then, and these merchants used it to their benefit.
6) “selling even the sweepings with the wheat.” They diluted their product in order to make more money. This is very typical of today’s food industry as well.
If you work like this or run a business like this then it not only reveals who you are but it also causes God to stand against you, not with you. He will become your opponent, not your partner. And this is a terrible place to be. It’s your choice.