Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
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Saturday, July 9, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for July 10, Amos 1-5.

Today's readings are Amos 1-5. Tomorrow's are Amos 6-9. 

Amos was a shepherd/farmer during the reign of Jerboam II in Israel and Uzziah (Azariah) in Judah, both of which were kings prior to the Assyrian invasion. As such, the events in Amos occur a bit before the events in Isaiah's opening chapters. 

Times were highly prosperous for both kingdoms. Amos is sent to Israel to warn them to stop oppressing the poor, turn away from greed and injustice and to turn away from mixing idolatry in with their worship of God. They're told to seek God only. They're warned that failure to do so will have extremely harsh consequences and end up with exile in a foreign land. Still, God promises a remnant. 

The first verse of Amos 1 sets the tone. Amos's vision comes two years before "the earthquake" (Zech 2:15, Isaiah 29:6). Archaeological evidence indicates a massive earthquake running along the Jordan Rift (a major fault line that runs through the Jordan Valley) and affecting many of the major cities along that fault line. Amos 1:2 most likely refers to a drought sent by God. An earthquake and a drought, both are signs to Israel that they are on the verge of judgment. 

The following verses, running through Amos 2:16, recite oracles against the nations surrounding Israel, prophesying judgment for each of them with Israel sitting right in the middle. 

The first four nation mentioned; Syria (Damascus), the Philistines, Edom and Tyre (Phoenicia)  place Israel right in the cross hairs. Amon and Moab will be judged for being ungodly too. 

Judah will be judged, but by a higher standard than the others, by the law of the Lord (Amos 2:4-5).  God will not ignore the sins of His people, He will call them into account. Eventually, those sins will be covered by Christ but we should never take sin lightly. God does not. God always calls for repentance. Otherwise, as Judah and Israel will see, there are consequences. 

Amos 2: 6 turns its attention to Israel. Rather than being spared the judgment of those rival nations, Israel's will be harsher. The judgment prophecies continue through Amos 5. 

Notice, though, that these prophecies come prior to the judgment. The warning is that Israel will suffer these judgments only if they remain on the path they're on. They have every opportunity to repent. Furthermore, the consequences are laid out quite clearly. God's words of judgement are an expression of His grace, warning them to turn back toward Him before the judgment falls on them.    

His word serves the same function in our lives. It guides us in how we should live in a manner that honors Him. While our heavenly home is sealed and guaranteed, the evidence of that seal will be our desire to obey His word. He will exhibit grace when we stumble. But, there will be an earthly price to pay if we willfully and blatantly disobey Him. 

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