Tuesday, July 10, 2012

July 10, 2012 … God Hates Sin

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Amos, Chapter 1-5 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage: Amos 1: 1-2 : [NIV] … 1 The words of Amos, one of the shepherds of Tekoa—the vision 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." 3 This is what the Lord says: "For three sins of Damascus [the capitol of Aram], even for four, I will not relent. …  
Highlight Passage #2: Amos 2: 1; 4-6, 13, 16 : [NIV] … 1 This is what the Lord says: "For three sins of Moab, even for four, I will not relent. Because he burned to ashes the bones of Edom's king, … 4 This is what the Lord says: "For three sins of Judah, even for four, I will not relent. Because they have rejected the law of the Lord and have not kept his decrees, because they have been led astray by false gods, the gods their ancestors followed, 5 I will send fire on Judah that will consume the fortresses of Jerusalem." 6 This is what the Lord says: "For three sins of Israel, even for four, I will not relent. They sell the innocent for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals. 13 "Now then, I will crush you [Israel] as a cart crushes when loaded with grain. 16 Even the bravest warriors will flee naked on that day," ,declares the Lord. 
Highlight Passage #3: Amos 3: 3-7; 10-11 : [NIV] … 3 Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so? 4 Does a lion roar in the thicket when it has no prey? Does it growl in its den when it has caught nothing? 5 Does a bird swoop down to a trap on the ground when no bait is there? Does a trap spring up from the ground if it has not caught anything? 6 When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble? When disaster comes to a city, has not the Lord caused it? 7 Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing His plan to His servants the prophets. 10 "They [i.e., the tribes of Israel in the north] do not know how to do right," declares the Lord, "who store up in their fortresses what they have plundered and looted." 11 Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: "An enemy [i.e., Assyria] will overrun your land, pull down your strongholds and plunder your fortresses." 
Highlight Passage #4: Amos 4: 6; 12 : [NIV] … [God’s word through Amos] 6 "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. 12 "Therefore, this is what I will do to you, Israel, and because I will do this to you, Israel, prepare to meet your God." 
Highlight Passage #5: Amos 5: 1, 6; 21-23 : [NIV] … 1 Hear this word, Israel, this lament I take up concerning you: … 6 Seek the Lord and live, or he will sweep through the tribes of Joseph like a fire; it will devour them, and Bethel will have no one to quench it. 21 "I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. 22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. 23 Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.

My Journal for Today: Okay! This morning I had to take in another big gulp of truth from God’s fire hydrant of wisdom, … my chronological reading plan taking me to the book of Amos, the first five chapters. Amos was the shepherd Prophet, who was from Judah but prophesied to the northern tribes in Israel about 760-750BC at the time of Kings Jeroboam II of Israel and Uzziah (Azariah) of Judah.

Amos had tough gig for God, prophesying to a recalcitrant and unrepentant nation, Israel, captivated by idolatry; and when you see how this itinerant shepherd missionary brought God’s message to his wayward peoples in Israel, one has to be impressed with his way of getting in to the listening ears of a people whom Amos was to bring a very tough confrontation from God. First he spoke about how God would judge the neighboring tribes, such as the Arameans, the Edomites, the Moabites, the Philistines, and such. That would have been a “hooray” message to the Israelites. And then Amos even prophesied doom for those in Judah, which also would have been received positively by the northern tribes in Israel. … But then can the slammer in the latter chapter of today’s reading, … a hard case against Israel for their sinful rebellion and the prophesy of a day when the Assyrians would come into their lands, take over, and destroy the northern tribes.

Way bad news for a way bad people!

And as one reads through this scathing indictment and God’s word about sinful disobedience, if one comes away thinking that this is only a history lesson, we would be missing the point of this history scenario being included in God’s Old Testament. This is “bad news,” not only for Israel in the 8th century BC; but it is a hard word for “bad people” like you and me.

Now you may not think of yourself as one of the “bad people,” but if I read and interpret my Bible correctly, when it says, in Romans 3: 23, “… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” … that includes me (and you too!). And in Isaiah 53: 6, God’s word says, “… ALL we like sheep have gone astray,” … that’s me (and you) to whom God is referring. So, we’re not any different from those 8th century BC Israelites, are we?

The only difference is found in the last part of that passage above in Isaiah 53, which completes the “good news” message, saying [NKJV], “… All we like sheep have gone astray, and the Lord has laid on HIM the iniquity of us all.” Yes, we’re bad people like those Israelites; but because of being part of those whom Amos and other prophets prophesied, we have been covered by the blood of the Messiah, the Lamb of God; and we stand saved by what Jesus did for us on the cross hundreds of years after Amos prophesied the Lord’s coming to save mankind.

But Amos’ indictment of sin stands true for us today just as it did for God’s people in Israel in 850 BC. Please note above in Amos 5: 21-23 God will not hear and relate to those who come to worship him with lives wrapped in sin and hypocrisy. And in all of his bill of particulars about the sins of Israel 800 years before Christ, we read so much of what we see in today’s world as well, including what is going on in God’s church among God’s people; … yes, among Christians today.

God cannot pour His saving, enabling, and empowering grace into a prideful people who strive to do life their own way, as did these Israelites some 800 years before Christ came to save us. We’re no different than are they. And we need God’s saving grace, through faith and obedience to God, just as Amos prophesied to these wayward children of God.

I hope we get God’s tough message today; … GOD HATES SIN!!!

My Prayer Today: … Lord, oh I desire to be child of Yours, growing in Your grace; and I know that I can only receive your grace by humbling myself to see Your will from Your word. Amen

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