4 “Hear this word, you cows of Bashan,     who are on the mountain of Samaria, who oppress the poor, who crush the needy,     who say to your husbands, ‘Bring, that we may drink!’ The Lord God has sworn by his holiness     that, behold, the days are coming upon you, when they shall take you away with hooks,     even the last of you with fishhooks. And you shall go out through the breaches,     each one straight ahead;     and you shall be cast out into Harmon,” declares the Lord.

“Come to Bethel, and transgress;     to Gilgal, and multiply transgression; bring your sacrifices every morning,     your tithes every three days; offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving of that which is leavened,     and proclaim freewill offerings, publish them;     for so you love to do, O people of Israel!” declares the Lord God.

Israel Has Not Returned to the Lord

“I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities,     and lack of bread in all your places, yet you did not return to me,” declares the Lord.

“I also withheld the rain from you     when there were yet three months to the harvest; I would send rain on one city,     and send no rain on another city; one field would have rain,     and the field on which it did not rain would wither; so two or three cities would wander to another city     to drink water, and would not be satisfied; yet you did not return to me,” declares the Lord.

“I struck you with blight and mildew;     your many gardens and your vineyards,     your fig trees and your olive trees the locust devoured; yet you did not return to me,” declares the Lord.

10 “I sent among you a pestilence after the manner of Egypt;     I killed your young men with the sword, and carried away your horses,[a]     and I made the stench of your camp go up into your nostrils; yet you did not return to me,” declares the Lord.

11 “I overthrew some of you,     as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah,     and you were as a brand[b] plucked out of the burning; yet you did not return to me,” declares the Lord.

12 “Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel;     because I will do this to you,     prepare to meet your God, O Israel!”

13 For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind,     and declares to man what is his thought, who makes the morning darkness,     and treads on the heights of the earth—     the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name!

–Devotion–

Did I say yesterday that Amos is starting to wear on me?  Yes, and it has not changed in chapter four.  God is very upset with Israel.  He is so upset in-fact that he is treating Israel as if they were Egypt.  He is sending “plagues” upon them (pestilence and the death of young men) as he did to heard hearted Pharaoh and his people.  Verse twelve seems to sum up nicely what God is doing; “prepare to meet your God.”  Yikes.  These are the sorts of texts that should shake our ideas that God is some grandfather in the sky validating all our decisions as cute and nice and sweet.  His desire is righteousness among his people–righteousness from faith.  You want to know what it is going to be like on earth when Jesus and his Father show back up on the last day?  Prepare to meet your God.  While it will be good, in a sense, for those who are with God, it will also be terrifying I imagine.  Just like for those people in Israel who were faithful back then.  They still endured all of what Amos is saying here, even though they were faithful.  So will it be for us who are faithful these days.  As we are looking for that day then, let us not get caught up in the things of this age: the buying and selling, the perpetual business that the Evil One places before us to draw us away from the one thing that is necessary. 

Pastor Beltz

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