AMOS 4:1-6:14 | REVELATION 2:18-3:6 | PSALM 130:1-8 | PROVERBS 29:21-22
The pride of the people of Israel is abhorring to the Lord.
It is fascinating to read these long calls to repentance delivered through many a prophet, Amos being one of them.
This is one God that is not going to hold back in letting it be known about how upset he is. He intends to tell the people, once, twice, thrice, and more — and then for good measure, he intends to spell it out as well!
And what an indignant people the Israelites must have been; they needed a lot of telling because they obviously didn’t seem to understand how terribly serious the charges were. But stubborn as they were, the coming of these prophets did indeed serve a critical purpose of showing the people a way to repent. For the anger of the Lord would surely run its course, but deliverance and redemption were to be had for the asking. If only Israel would have understood this great truth sooner.
This passage in Amos in some ways bears a shadow to the admonitions being delivered via the letters to the various churches that John is writing to in the book of Revelations.
The constant refrain “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says“ is one that is as relevant today as it was in the first century A.D.
Continuing with the specific message to each of the seven churches, the message to Thyatira is this:
19 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. 20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.
And to the church in Sardis, the message is:
These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
Turning now to our reading of the Psalms, we find David’s psalm for the day to be a most beautiful rendition of utter submission to the grace and mercies of the Lord. I reproduce the psalm in its entirety here:
1 Out of the depths I cry to you, LORD;
2 Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
3 If you, LORD, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
5 I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
6 I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
Verses 3 and 4 are worthy of a second glance. The answer to that question, of course, is: No one! No one could stand if that were indeed true.
But this is an awesome God. He will not be mocked and will mete out judgement as and when necessary. And in the end, if you seek his forgiveness, he offers it to you freely, and what’s more, he gives you a clean record!
Who does that?!
Well, that’s what forgiveness is all about! And if there was any doubt about this, David assures his people this magnificent truth, found in our reading of the Psalms today. He says:
7 O Israel, put your hope in the LORD,
for with the LORD is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
8 He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.
Finally, a couple of verses from the book of Proverbs, authored by Solomon, wise king of Israel:
21 A servant pampered from youth
will turn out to be insolent.
22 An angry person stirs up conflict,
and a hot-tempered person commits many sins.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.