Friday, September 16, 2011

110916 - Amos 05-09 - Grieve with God, don't sing idly by the idols

S: Amos 5-9 - highlights:

Seek good, and Hate evil… it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph. (Amos 5:14-15) Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! (Amos 5:18) "Woe to those… who sing idle songs… but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph! (Amos 6:4-6) The Lord GOD has sworn by himself… "I abhor the pride of Jacob…" (Amos 6:8) …behold, the Lord GOD was calling for a judgment by fire… Then I said, "O Lord GOD, please cease! How can Jacob stand? He is so small!" The LORD relented concerning this: "This also shall not be," said the Lord GOD. (Amos 7:1-6) Now therefore hear the word of the LORD. "You say, 'Do not prophesy against Israel, and do not preach against the house of Isaac.' 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.'" (Amos 7:16-17) Hear this, you who trample on the needy and bring the poor of the land to an end… "Surely I will never forget any of their deeds. (Amos 8:4-7) "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… Those who swear by the Guilt of Samaria, and say, 'As your god lives, O Dan,'… they shall fall, and never rise again." (Amos 8:11-14) Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from the surface of the ground, except that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob," declares the LORD. (Amos 9:8) I will plant them on their land, and they shall never again be uprooted out of the land that I have given them," says the LORD your God. (Amos 9:15)

O: The book of Amos concludes with God giving His people hope, even after all the judgment he promises. Israel had now mostly forgotten the Lord, accumulating loathsome pagan deities, (5:25-27), hoping for the religious observances to be over quickly so they could get back to the business of cheating the poor. (8:4-7) They lived luxurious lives, but did not grieve over the spiritual ruin of their nation. (6:4-6) Yet they were eager for the Day of the Lord, (5:18-20) assuming it would be for the destruction of their enemies. The king warned Amos not to prophesy against Israel, but God told him to prophesy that he would die in an unclean land, see his land divided, his sons and daughters die by the sword and his wife reduced to prostitution. (Amos 7:16-17) Yet in spite of all of this, when someone does grieve, when Amos pities Israel, God relents of two of the judgments He had revealed to him. He prophesies the day when Israel's idolatry is purged and they hunger for His Word. When the people return from captivity, the Tabernacle is rebuilt, when the land is bountiful again and they will no longer be uprooted from their land.

A: God wants His people to not just seek good and hate evil, not just do my best to strengthen the things that remain and are about to die, (Revelation 3:2), but to empathize with His heart, to grieve for the ruin. Hidden in any presumed judgment is the possibility of God relenting. (See Joel SOAP, 9/2/11)

P: Lord, with all this, I wish I could say I've always been part of the solution and not part of the problem. I don't grieve over your people self-righteously, but with full knowledge that I have been a partaker in the half-hearted obedience and whole-hearted attitude of entitlement that so corrupted Israel. Can you correct without destroying? Of course you can - you clearly inspired Amos toward intercession. Will you now stir up your people? Quicken us, and we will call on your name.


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