throughout history God has always preserved a remnant of His people. See below.
|People or Group||Reference|
|Noah and his family in the flood Joseph in Egypt during the famine Israel to their homeland 7,000 who had not worshipped BaalPortion of Judah after captivityRemnant to Zion
The Church-both Jews and Gentiles
|Gen 7:1Gen 45:7 Deut 4:27-311 Kings 19:18
Mic. 2:12; 13; Rom 9:22-27
Click here for today’s reading http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Amos%206-9&version=NIV;NLT
Chapter 6. Woe means — WARNING TO YOU…HOW HORRIBLE IS…. With that in mind look at the things the Israelites are being WARNED about:
Woe to you who are complacent and feel secure
you who put off the evil day
who lie in beds with inlaid ivory and lounge on your couches (symbols of extravagant wealth and laziness!!0
who dine on the finest of foods (They ONLY wanted the BEST things…their wealth was their source of security, comfort, and PRIDE…..they didn’t need God because no one can touch them!!…..Oh my….. how pride so often goes before a fall!!
who just sit and strum away to music
who drinks wine by the bowlfuls
and uses the finest products
who DO NOT grieve over the ruin of our neighbors (local and foreign)
Therefore, you will be among the FIRST to go into exile; your feasting and lounging will END.
I was struck by the use of the words abhor and detest in 6:8. Webster’s defines ABHOR as: “: to regard with extreme repugnance : loathe.” It defines DETEST as: “to feel intense and often violent antipathy toward : loathe OR obsolete : curse, denounce.” HATE is defined as: “intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury; extreme dislike or antipathy: loathing.” Why do I mention this to you….because it appears from the definitions that each word seems to indicate a deeper intensity….there is hate, then there is abhor, and the most intense is DETEST. God was telling his people….he DETESTED their actions and their pulling away from HIM!!!
6:13–Do you remember Lo Debar? Lo Debar actually means “nothing.” This is the place David’s men found the remaining relative of Saul, the son of Jonathan— Mephibosheth. Lo Debar was basically a place were people with little to nothing, outcasts for whatever reasons society deemed were placed or where they hid. God was telling Israel (who was seriously puffed up for those they conquered) that the people they had conquered were nothing to brag about!!! They had conquered people who basically could not defend themselves. God is trying to get through to them by letting them see…their pride based on false securities–inflated egos!!! In verse 14 the town of Karnalm was the same situation….it was an insignificant “win”. However Israel thought they were “hot stuff” for conquering these places and God reminded them…..THINK about where you are getting your security and confidence!!!???? Not only were they prideful, but God was telling them they really had nothing to be proud of!! ….OUCH!!!!
Chapter 7-9 are the 5 visions of judgment. God will show Amos visions of Locusts, fire, a plumb line (His standard), opposition of Amaziah, vision of summer fruit, a doorposts..
I will make that time like mourning for an only son
and the end of it like a bitter day.
Did you notice that Amos prayed to God to please not allow these things to happen. BECAUSE of the prayers of Amos…God “relented from HIS plans with the locusts, and the fire. However God told Amos that HIS people were not meeting HIS standards of even trying to live a live in line with HIS ways. Israel’s actions had gone on for way tooooooo long and destruction would come if HIS people did not confess, repent, and turn back to HIM. The plumb line is a symbol of living a life of God’s standards. Israel was no longer in line with God’s ways and didn’t want to be!! Poor Amos, King Amaziah felt Amos was lying to and conspiring against him!!! THIS is a great Scripture to remind of to PRAY for ALL things and BELIEVE in what God has in store for HIS children.
The Lord, through Amos not only described the destruction of Israel, like grain through a sieve BUT then he reminds us of His Covenant! His line of David will be restored (the remnant). As when he sifts us like wheat to get out all our pebbles, He then can restore us to be like His gardens and fruit! IT is all part of the process.
A great heaviness in my heart for what I read today. I know Amos was speaking to Israel, but I can’t help but think of our Nation and global events. Once again, I am so blessed to have the Lord in my life and in my heart. I pray for more of Him all the days of my life for myself and others. I praise HIM for answering my prayers to help me know HIM by opening my eyes as I read HIS Word. I praise HIM for bringing mentors in my life to teach me HIS ways. I praise HIM for surrounding me with other believers.
As heavy as this story of Amos is speaking to the people of Israel, I am not only reminded of the need for serious prayer….believing prayer….praying through things!! I am reminded that TRULY looks at our hearts…are we “just going through the motions so we look the part” OR are we sincerely dedicated to God….HIS Word…HIS ways….IN OUR HEART which in turns comes out through our actions.
I don’t know if any of you have read a book or seen the CD or done the study guide for a book called “Circle Maker” by Mark Batterson, but if not…. it is an AWESOME book on PRAYER… BELIEVING GOD…and PRAYING BOLDLY. I have ONLY started watching the CDs and doing the participants guide with my mentor……but it already has OPENED my EYES in ways you can’t believe. I am SURE this is why Amos’ prayers stood out so much to me today!!! It WILL change the way you see things from God, how God wants us to pray BOLDLY with EXPECTATION to HIM, and the power that comes from praying through things….. meaning you pray until God tells you to stop or you witness the answer to your prayer which God answered in ways far better than what you could have EVER thought to ask
Sharing HIS love,
Click here for today’s reading http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Amos%201-5&version=NIV;NLT
Before last year, I did not even know there was a book called Amos in the Bible!!! And, now I can’t forget it.
Amos was a shepherd and tree farmer (fig and sycamore.) He was from Judah. No where are we told anything like Amos doubted the Lord, or asked HIM if HE was SURE that he was to go before these people. This showed me that Amos had a very deep, secure, personal relationship with HIS God. AMAZING!!!
So he was from Judah sent by God to speak to Israel. HOW does he get the attention of the Nation of Israel? Now remember that Israel was living in prosperity, living “the good life”, feeling so secure that they just knew nothing could bring them down. BUT Israel was worshiping other gods, creating idols and worshiping them as well, not helping the poor and needy. Amos entered the center of Israel and told them how God would judge their enemies….all their enemies would basically be destroyed. In the intensity of this reading….God allowed me to see his sense of humor with the Israelites. God KNEW they were prideful, self righteous, and had NO need for HIM (or so they thought!!) Can you picture the reaction of the people of Israel when Amos told them their enemies would be destroyed???? I am confident they were clapping and cheering because this fed their egos…..I am sure Israel was patting themselves on the back while saying something like—“See…..we are good, we are being protected our enemies will be destroyed by God!!” And if you noticed…. God gave a reason as to why each of Israel’s enemies would be destroyed (maybe HE gave the reasons in hopes the Israel might think of the things they were doing wrong!!) I am SURE the Israelites were standing on their tippy toes, leaning into all that Amos had to say. I can imagine them giving each other high fives during Amos’ prophesies. Look at some of the reasons the enemies would be destroyed:
DAMASCUS — (capital of Aram/Syria), attacked Israel
GAZA, Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Ekron are major cities in the Philistia, thus the verse about the Philistines….remember Goliath was a Philistine!!
TYRE (Phoenicia) several treaties were made there, as allies, and they broke their word. (Remember… David and Solomon made treaties with Tyre because they had the Cedars to build the Temple.)
EDOM (Edomites, Esau’s descendants…Jacob/Israel’s brother) need I say more??
AMMON and MOAB– (Lot’s children by incest with his two daughters) These wicked nations have been the center of idol worship and idolatry. Israel was following the ways of these evil nations; but these nations NEVER missed an opportunity to attack Israel.
JUDAH (south) for rejecting the Lord and neglecting God’s laws.
NOW….he has has their attention, I am sure they were all ears to hear who else would be destroyed so they could continue their prosperity and “glory days!” Oh but…. Amos LAYS on them a message regarding their OWN judgement, and tells them WHY. Oooooooouch!!!!
God tells Israel (the Northern Kingdom) in PLAIN terms WHY they will be crushed …. for their greed, unjust ways, their fake outward worship to the Lord. If you ever get a chance to listen to a Piper Podcast on this …. DO IT!!! It will definitely make you think about Israel and the similarities between us and them. Starting in 4:4 The Lord says (paraphrase)…Go ahead, go to Bethel (not even a proper place of worship) and keep sinning. Man’s way of worship is sinful! You bring me religion and tithes all week long, and even brag about how “rich” your way of worship is!!” YES… GOD was being quite sarcastic to them. If you recall Bethel had become the religious center for the Northern Kingdom. Jeroboam built two golden calves in the Northern Kingdom so the Israelites would not have to go to Jerusalem in the SOUTH to worship God in HIS HOUSE. Jeroboam was afraid if “his people” went South to worship God in THE TEMPLE…they might turn against him and not return to the North!! Keep in mind also that Bethel was where God had renewed HIS covenant to Abraham with Jacob (Genesis 28:10-22)!!! And WHAT were the Israelites thinking??? WHY would they be worshiping golden calves??? BOTH Israel and Judah KNEW God’s law, they KNEW the 10 Commandments…they simply CHOSE NOT to follow HIM. UGGGGGG!!!
NOW…. the Lord gave Israel WARNINGS!!! God WARNED HIS people to give them another chance to turn back to HIM. There were 5 big warnings given. If God were giving these WARNINGS TODAY…it might sound something like: “Israel, I have collapsed your stock market, presented challenges in your employment opportunities, allowed terrorists to attack you on your soil!! I have watched as you have taken prayer to ME out of your schools and restricted the places where Bibles can go!! I have set earthquakes and fires on you, I have caused and/or allowed great flooding, droughts, hurricanes, and even forest fires…yet you STILL refuse to turn to me…. you still don’t see my strength…You have left me no choice America…. (whoops…. I mean Israel), I am almost out of patience with you!!!” “Therefore (verse 12) PREPARE TO MEET YOUR GOD.”
THEN chapter 5. Hear this Word! SEEK ME AND LIVE!!! Truly, the prophetic books are books of LOVE and not so much about judgement. Both Israel and Judah could have heeded the warnings from the current prophets and from times past. Both Israel and Judah could have CHOSEN to walk in the ways of the Lord, but they CHOSE to worship other gods and build idols. The WARNINGS meant (and mean) there is time to TURN TO HIM!!! When we do not CHOOSE to follow HIM with ALL of our being…we begin to walk a slippery slope. When we do not choose HIM…..HE is greatly grieved.
Just think for a moment about parents and their children. Most, not all, but most….TRULY want to love their children, they want to see them grow up be successful, be happy and joyful, and SO much more. Yet, along the way the parents HAVE to discipline the children they deeply love. I am NOT talking about beatings or abuse. I am speaking of correction to teach their children right from wrong, to teach their children about OUR GREAT GOD. Some children are more head strong than others and require more severe approaches. I have seen parents sit before me with broken hearts because a child REFUSES to obey them, or may be struggling with an addiction, abusive relationships, or worse…..it grieves them deeply. And from the deep emotions I have witnessed through human parents…I can ONLY imagine how deeply the Lord was/is grieved when they did not (or we do not) choose HIM. They faced severe consequences for not heeding the warnings and not following HIM.
Please take all these prophetic books as Love books not judgement. God knows deeper than we can ever imagine and HE desires GREAT things for each of us. It does not mean this life will be “fair” or without pain….but it does mean we have a savior who has PROMISED to NEVER leave or forsake us!! He has promised to ALWAYS be with us!! YET…. at the time we are reading about in Israel’s history…. the rich get richer, the poor are starving, they worship other gods and practice paganistic practices. Violence and greed are at an all time high and God repeatedly is saying REPENT. Turn from your ways. SEEK me! That is all He is asking. It will get so bad that He will have to intervene to SAVE US FROM OURSELVES!!!
JESUS CAME TO SAVE US FROM OURSELVES!!! God KNEW we could not do it alone, and HE NEVER expected us to….HE has ALWAYS wanted to have that personal relationship with each of us. I MEAN LOOK at the way he created the Garden of Eden!!! IT WAS PERFECT!!! Today, on this side of the cross……we can have that personal relationship with HIM….24/7 x365-366!! The wonderful thing is that NOW once we ask HIM in to our heart….HE DWELLS INSIDE OF US…WE ARE HIS TEMPLE!!!
Romans 12:1-2 — Do not be conformed to this world but be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your minds with the WORD (my paraphrase.) God has left the OT for us to read so we can see that we are not so different from the people 2500+ years ago!!! Some of the OT people are our heros…some teach us the importance of heeding the WARNINGs….some teach us what not do to. BUT the bottom line… is God gave of HIS WORD out of PURE LOVE… to show us the way….so we could be the salt and light on this earth FOR HIM.
Sharing HIS love