Saturday, May 18, 2013
Read Hosea 13-14 God the Lion Hosea 13:4-9 “But I am the Lord your God, who brought you] out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no God but me, no Savior except me. 5 I cared for you in the desert, in the land of burning heat. 6 When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me. 7 So I will come upon them like a lion, like a leopard I will lurk by the path. 8 Like a bear robbed of her cubs, I will attack them and rip them open. Like a lion I will devour them; a wild animal will tear them apart. 9 “You are destroyed, O Israel, because you are against me, against your helper.” GOD tells his people he will act as a lion, leopard and bear to rip them open. Wow. The images of God as ferocious wild beasts that devour the flock echoes the covenant curses for disobedience found in such scripture as Leviticus 26:21-22 “If you remain hostile toward me and refuse to listen to me, I will multiply your afflictions seven times over, as your sins deserve. 22 I will send wild animals against you, and they will rob you of your children, destroy your cattle and make you so few in number that your roads will be deserted.” Divine judgment is more than severe. It is horrible. It tears you apart from God. it leaves nothing behind. Judgment is final. What do you do? You must be passionate to tell your family, friends and others the way to salvation. Let them know of the way to life. Pray for them. Call on the name of the Loved that they might be saved. It’s worth every ounce of energy you have. It’s True! Sin is an awful thing, isn’t it? Salvation is an amazing grace, isn’t it?
Read Obadiah Let God Judge Obadiah 1:10-12, 14-17 Because of the violence against your brother Jacob, you will be covered with shame; you will be destroyed forever. 11 On the day you stood aloof while strangers carried off his wealth and foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem, you were like one of them…14 You should not wait at the crossroads to cut down their fugitives, nor hand over their survivors in the day of their trouble. 15 “The day of the Lord is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head. 16 Just as you drank on my holy hill, so all the nations will drink continually; they will drink and drink and be as if they had never been. 17 But on Mount Zion will be deliverance; it will be holy, and the house of Jacob will possess its inheritance. EDOM is a nation that comes from Esau. Esau was Jacob’s brother. They were sons of Isaac. Jacob stole Esau’s birthright and blessing from Esau. Except for a brief respite (see Gen 33), Esau and Jacob, and then their descendants the Hebrews and the Edomites were often at war. When Babylon and Assyria conquered Israel and Judah, Edom joined with the conquering nations to enslave and kill their “brothers”. But God uses Obadiah to pronounce judgment against Edom. It is a judgment that will annihilate them. Don’t mess with God’s chosen people. Are people persecuting you because you are a Christian? Do not judge them or revolt. Let God judge them in his time. You are to forgive and pray for your enemies. God will protect you and silence your enemies. That’s his authority and power. Let him do it. It’s True! Judgment is in God’s hands.
Read Amos 8 Stunning Silence Amos 8:1-3 This is what the Sovereign Lord showed me: a basket of ripe fruit. 2 “What do you see, Amos?” he asked. “A basket of ripe fruit,” I answered. Then the Lord said to me, “The time is ripe for my people Israel; I will spare them no longer. 3 “In that day,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “the songs in the temple will turn to wailing. Many, many bodies — flung everywhere! Silence!” HAVE you ever disciplined a child? Likely you have in some context as a teacher, leader, parent or coach. What often happens? They speak back to you, don’t they? Or they say they’ll listen to you but then act as if the conversation never occurred. If you persist in the discipline, you might come to the point where you forcefully say, “Quiet!” You are done waiting for them to choose to obey. Now you are giving them no choice. They must obey or be punished. It’s judgment time. That is the context of this scripture. Amos tells the people there is a time when God will stop talking to them and start administering his righteous judgment on them. Silence comes as the time for talking is done and the time for action has come. This day did come for Israel. This day will come for the entire world. Revelation 8:1 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. In the days of final judgment there will be silence in Heaven as all of God’s creation awaits his next move. Before he unleashes the 7 angels with their 7 trumpets of judgment, silence will come. And every living creature will breathlessly, fearfully await God’s great judgment on the world. The time of listening to God is now. Listen while he’s still talking to you. It’s True! Judgment’s silence is a fearful thing. Be prepared.
Read Amos 6-7 Complacency Kills Amos 6:1 Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, you notable men of the foremost nation, to whom the people of Israel come!...3 You put off the evil day and bring near a reign of terror. 4 You lie on beds inlaid with ivory and lounge on your couches. You dine on choice lambs and fattened calves. 5 You strum away on your harps like David and improvise on musical instruments. 6 You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph. 7 Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile; your feasting and lounging will end. COMPLACENCY is an attribute of destruction. If you are complacent, you are feeling self-satisfied and content when you should be anything but satisfied and content. God uses Amos to decry Israel’s complacency. They have become rich by God’s hand; yet, they reject God. The wealthy subject the poor. They believe they are able to prosper without God. One day, though, he will exile them from his presence. Complacency is a huge threat to our nation, our family and our church. Our nation has been strong, but we feel we can ignore warning signs of economic destruction and moral decay. Complacency runs amok in our families. Children rule the households. Parents have little moral standing and no courage to be parents. Complacency wreaks havoc in our churches, too. God’s Word is received with no conviction and desire to trust His power to transform and lead our lives. We must awaken socially and spiritually to welcome God into our nation, into our church and into our families. We must transform complacency to conviction. If we do not, we, too, will become exiles, wondering, “What happened?” It’s True! Complacency kills, Christ reveals.
Read Amos 4-5 Salvation’s Peace Amos 4:6-13 “I gave you empty stomachs in every city and lack of bread in every town, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the Lord. 7 “I also withheld rain from you when the harvest was still three months away. I sent rain on one town, but withheld it from another. One field had rain; another had none and dried up. 8 People staggered from town to town for water but did not get enough to drink, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the Lord. 9 “Many times I struck your gardens and vineyards, I struck them with blight and mildew. Locusts devoured your fig and olive trees, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the Lord. 10 “I sent plagues among you as I did to Egypt. I killed your young men with the sword, along with your captured horses. I filled your nostrils with the stench of your camps,yet you have not returned to me,” declares the Lord. 11 “I overthrew some of you as I overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. You were like a burning stick snatched from the fire, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the Lord. 12 “Therefore this is what I will do to you, Israel, and because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel.” 13 He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals his thoughts to man, he who turns dawn to darkness, and treads the high places of the earth — the Lord God Almighty is his name. RESTLESS and worried, we wonder, “What’s wrong? Why do I have no peace? Where is rest and confidence? Can I ever be at rest?” I simply want to ask you, “Are you rejecting God’s ways in some way?” The power of the Lord God is available to you to release you into his Way of life. It’s True! Sin will make you restless. Salvation will give you peace.
Read Amos 3 Chosen-Accountable Amos 3:2 “You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your sins.” WHEN you choose someone to represent you or your family, you certainly want them to do well, don’t you? Perhaps that’s one reason we sit and squirm or stand and shout when our kids are participating in some form of competition: You’re my child. Make me and the family look good. That’s a bit self-centered, isn’t it? Maybe as humans it is self-centered, but it’s not with God. He made mankind in His own image. That means you carry the image of God as you live. You reflect your creator. Do you think that God, your creator, wants you to bear an image of evil as He is holy? Sin corrupted God’s image in mankind. Then God chose the Hebrews formed the people through whom all other nations of the world could bear his image again. Israel didn't have to do anything to be chosen; God had given them this special privilege because he wanted to, not because they deserved special treatment. Pridefully, though, in their privileged position, God’s people rejected their benevolent creator. They felt they deserved special treatment. They became the spoiled child who rejects instruction and discipline. As a parent must take extreme measures to restore a prideful child, God would take extreme measures to restore his people to bear his image. He took steps in ancient Judah to keep people under his discipline that they would be saved. Do you feel the privilege of being chosen as God’s own? I pray you live in His discipline as Jesus’ disciple to bear His image, glorifying your God. It’s True! Saved in Jesus, you are chosen. Bear the gift well.
Read Amos 1-2 The Shepherd Speaks Amos 1:1-2 The words of Amos, one of the shepherds of Tekoa — what he saw concerning Israel two years before the earthquake, when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel. 2 He said: “The Lord roars from Zion and thunders from Jerusalem; the pastures of the shepherds dry up, and the top of Carmel withers.” WHAT’S your job? Are you pretty sure your job disqualifies you from being God’s messenger? Guess what? It doesn’t. Amos was a shepherd, not as in “pastor” but as in “shepherd”. But then, God called him. “Be my messenger, Amos. Speak what they must know.” So he did as the LORD commanded. I wonder if he said, “Not me, LORD.” But he surely got over it because he went to work. And we’re reading his work 3,000 years later! He begins his work with the prophecy of natural disasters. Drought will dry up the pastures and the fertile land around Carmel. Do you notice that drought is often a means of God’s judgment? It’s an appropriate picture because drought, dryness and desert correlate with emptiness and no growth. One day my wife was declaring her wonder at how the trees give us oxygen and absorb the carbon dioxide we breathe out. Our lungs give life to the trees, and the trees give life to our lungs. But then she remarked how a sand-filled desert has no such life exchange. That’s what happens when our relationship with Jesus gets dry. We do not breathe in his life. We do not breathe our lives to him. The life exchange ends. Amos prophesied God’s life exchange would end in Judah. It was only restored when Jesus came. Are you exchanging your breath of life with Jesus? It’s True! Breathe in Jesus and you will breathe out his love.