Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for July 11, Amos 6-8.

Today's readings are Amos 6-9. Tomorrow's are 2 Chron 27 and Isaiah 9-12. 

There were a number of errant concepts that had gained influence in the culture that Amos and Hosea spoke into. Knowing some of these may help us understand their prophecies a bit better. By the mid 700s, both nations had come to believe:
  • God was a uniquely powerful God among other gods, able to expand the territories of the Promised Land but having little influence outside its borders.
  • God was exclusively interested in Israel and Judah. He had little to do with other countries.  
  • God was bound, by His promises, to protect Israel and Judah without regard to their moral conduct. 
  • God has nothing to do with other nations other than to fight Against them for Israel and Judah. His strength was gauged by how well those battles went.
  • God was fully satisfied by the ceremonies, sacrifices and feasts that were observed by Israel and Judah. There were not moral or behavioral requirements beyond the religious practices prescribed. 
  • There was no reason for Israel or Judah to fear Assyria. Egypt and Syria were opposed to Assyria and the Assyrians were not strong enough to defeat all four nations.

Keep these concepts in mind as we finish reading through Amos.  

It's easy to see that Israel has become corpulent and complacent, taking God for granted and misunderstanding the fullness of His holiness.

Amos 6 continues with the woes prophesied upon Israel for their lack of godly character and their worldliness. The extent of the judgment is so great, the reader has to keep reminding himself that these warnings are levied against the people of God. Of course, Israel's fall is equally great and spectacular. Judah is not far behind. 

Amaziah attempts to persuade Amos to leave and prophesy against Judah, as if there was a way to escape from the word of God. That effort leads to an even harsher prophecy. God will not be minimized nor will He be sent away. 

Amos 8 is sobering and devastating. Tremendous mourning will come upon Israel. The land will be littered with dead bodies. Israel will account for their pride and arrogance. They will pay a heavy price for idol worship. God will not tolerate blatant disregard for His word. He is a God of grace. But that grace will be withheld from those who marginalize Him.

This becomes painfully clear in Amos 9 , where Amos prophesies the destruction of Israel. Still, God is faithful and true to His promises. There will be a remnant and Israel will be restored and reunited.

Knowing what we know about the culture at the time and the extent of Israel's fall, God's grace can take your breath away. We who call upon the name of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord are the beneficiaries of that same level of grace. The people of Israel seem to have lost their capability to treat those around them with the kind of grace they so freely received. We should be cautious  not to make the same mistake.  

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