TEXTS AND APPLICATION: Today’s reading begins the book of Amos, the prophetic word from a God-called shepherd set apart to announce judgment on the northern kingdom of Israel. Consider the sins that would bring on God’s judgment: mistreating the poor (Amos 2:6), committing sexual sin (Amos 2:7-8), rejecting God’s spokespersons (Amos 2:11-12), living in luxury at the expense of others (Amos 4:1). In particular, the Israelites assumed that their religious activities were sufficient to please God, even while they lived in sin (Amos 5:4-10).
What they failed to see is that God’s calling them as His special people made them more accountable to Him — not less accountable. They assumed they would be immune from judgment, but just the opposite was the case:
Amos 3:1-2 Listen to this message that the Lord has spoken against you, Israelites, against the entire clan that I brought from the land of Egypt: I have known only you out of all the clans of the earth; therefore, I will punish you for all your iniquities.
We who have been as blessed as North American believers have need to hear this Word. From those whom God blesses He expects much. He will hold us more accountable — not less. At a personal level, I am reminded that God has graciously blessed me with life, salvation, gifts, opportunities, etc. To take those gifts too lightly is to risk God’s displeasure and judgment.
PRAYER: Please pray with me that all of us who are blessed will give ourselves fully to the One who has blessed us. Pray that we will not ignore the reality of God’s judgment.
TOMORROW’S READING: Amos 6-9