Tuesday, June 30
Amos 3: 1-8; 4: 11-12
Prepare to meet your God, O Israel. (Amos 4:12)
What an ominous message! Of course, the people weren’t “meeting their God” for the first time. They had centuries of oral history of His covenant with them as a people. But God knew they needed a new meeting, a reintroduction to Him. And it didn’t sound like it would be a pleasant meeting. So God sent Amos to warn them.
Amos prophesied during the reign of King Jeroboam of Israel (786-746 BC). A shepherd and farmer from the southern kingdom of Judah, Amos urged the people of the north to return to God. Israel’s wealth and military success had led them astray; sadly, they began to live like the nations around them instead of following the Lord’s commands. In their prosperity, Israel’s moral standards collapsed. The rich oppressed the poor, might made right, and corruption ran rampant. Even worse, the people fell into idolatry and worshiped foreign gods. Amos warned the people of God’s coming judgment: “Prepare to meet your God” (Amos 4: 12).
It’s safe to say that none of us would enjoy receiving a message like that. Yet it was rooted in God’s covenant love for His people. God knew the disasters awaiting them: the overthrow of their sanctuary, the fall of Jeroboam’s house, and the deportation and captivity of the people. Amos spoke hard words to warn them in the hope that they would return to the Lord.
Like the Israelites, we can drift away from God and His commands. We can forget that the God we worship is holy and worthy of our obedience. None of us are worthy to stand in God’s presence; we have all sinned. Even so, we never have to be afraid to meet Him. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we know for certain that God will always welcome us. He will always gather us in His loving arms, just as the father did in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32).
How blessed we are! Because of God’s steadfast covenant love, we can approach Him with confidence. How amazing that our God welcomes us into His presence! With the psalmist, we can marvel, “I, because of Your abundant mercy, will enter Your house” (5:8).
“Lord, by your steadfast love, I will enter your presence today.”
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Daily Reflections from “The Word Among Us”