AMOS 1:1-3:15 | REVELATION 2:1-17 | PSALM 129:1-8 | PROVERBS 29:19-20
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We enter a new book today. A book that bears the name of the prophet that authors it: Amos.
Amos is a shepherd chosen for the task of being yet another prophet to the people of Israel. The judgement coming to Israel’s neighbors and eventually to Israel is yet again communicated to the people via Amos.
Not a pretty sight it will be, but neither will it come as a surprise. The God that took them out of the land of Egypt and provided for them for forty years in the desert before they came into the “promised land” of Canaan was apparently soon forgotten by them.
And it wasn’t long before they turned their back on him. Therefore, after a slew of prophets had been sent to caution the people against the folly of their ways, Amos now illustrates the law of cause and effect in these verses:
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?
He goes on to say:
7 Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing
without revealing his plan
to his servants the prophets.
8 The lion has roared—
who will not fear?
The Sovereign LORD has spoken—
who can but prophesy?
Do you not get it, is what he’s saying!
There’s reason for God to be upset with you, can you not see that? And now do you not understand the gravity of the situation to come? Because, like it or not, it’s going to happen, and here I am come to tell you of it.
Wow! I’d call that fair warning!
Turning now to our reading of the book of Revelation, we find another warning of sorts is being made by John, the writer. John is writing to the seven churches in Asia Minor exhorting them to listen.
To the church in Ephesus, the message is:
2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
He goes on to say:
7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Fair warning, yet again!
To the church in Symrna, the message is:
9 I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.
To the church in Pergamum, the message is:
13 I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives. 14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. 15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
Turning now to our reading of the Psalms, we find the psalmist voicing his indignation at his enemies. This is a cry that is most likely uttered to this day by the modern nation-state of Israel, surrounded on all sides by nary a friend. The Psalmist cries:
5 May all who hate Zion
be turned back in shame.
6 May they be like grass on the roof,
which withers before it can grow;
7 a reaper cannot fill his hands with it,
nor one who gathers fill his arms.
8 May those who pass by not say to them,
“The blessing of the LORD be on you;
we bless you in the name of the LORD.”
Finally, a couple of verses from Proverbs, the latter one of which bears a great nugget of wisdom:
19 Servants cannot be corrected by mere words;
though they understand, they will not respond.
20 Do you see someone who speaks in haste?
There is more hope for a fool than for them.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.