This week we look at the sin of Tyrus, also called Tyre. Trye was a seaport to the north of Israel. Because of its location much of the trade in the Middle East passed through Tyre. This trade also included a good volume of slaves. In 1 Kings 5:12 we read of Israel and Tyre entering into a covenant or political alliance. This takes place under Solomon and Hiram. In 1 Kings 9:13 Hiram refers to Solomon as his brother indicating the strength of their alliance. Tyre provided much of the material for the temple.
Cruelty towards those seeking asylum
As Jews were kidnapped by the Philistines and sold into slavery to the Edomites they would many times be taken to Tyre to be shipped to other parts of the world. Many Jewish slaves would try to escape and seek asylum at Tyre because it was Israel’s neighbor and ally. Instead of being granted refuge, the people of Tyre sold all runaway slaves seeking asylum back into slavery. They did not even have compassion on little children being sold as slaves.
Breaking a covenant
As if involvement in the slave trade wasn’t bad enough, they broke their alliance with Israel. They refused to give asylum and aid to their allies. Jewish people ran to their allies for aid only to find out that they would not honor their covenant that had stood for hundreds of years.
Greed as a motivation
The motivation behind this is simple. Why would someone sell a child into slavery? They love money more than they love the child. Tyre’s participation in the slave trade was motivated by greed. The reason they delivered Jewish people to be sold as slaves was profit. Everything they did was motivated by the love of money.
What it means for us today
The application of this passage is very needed today. First, Christians must let God inform their opinions on immigration, asylum, refugees, etc. We must stand like Amos and decry any mistreatment of our fellow human beings that are seeking asylum from those who would do them harm. We must guard our hearts against cruelty and ensure that we have compassion on those who are in desperate need. We must insist that we honor our commitments to our allies and honor our commitments in our personal lives. Our “yes” must be “yes.” Lastly, we must guard our hearts against the love of money. Greed cannot have a place within our hearts or be a motivating factor for anything we do.
This is the Gospel
What Amos is teaching here is literally the Gospel. God keeps His covenant with His people. He has compassion on them in their slavery and need. Jesus left behind the riches of heaven to save His people. “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” (1 John 4:11)
Will you let God’s Word inform your views? Will you guard your heart against hatred and cruelty? Will you repent for not having compassion on the hurting and oppressed? Will you believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection?