Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 11 December 18:
1. Amos 5:1 — “Hear this word that I take up over you in lamentation, O house of Israel.” Amos delivered a “fire and brimstone” message from a genuine heart of compassion and concern. How would such a message be received today?
2. Amos 5:6 — “Seek the Lord and live.” Life is a continual seeking of the Lord.
3. Amos 5:10 — “They hate him who reproves in the gate, and they abhor him who speaks the truth.”
– Are you willing to be the hated one because you love others so much you are willing to tell the truth?
– A wicked nation refuses to listen to dissenting views and seeks to silence opposing voices.
4. Amos 5:11 – “Therefore because you trample on the poor and you exact taxes of grain from him, you have built houses of hewn stone, but you shall not dwell in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine.” A wicked nation unfairly taxes the people.
5. Amos 5:13 – “Therefore he who is prudent will keep silent in such a time, for it is an evil time.” There is a time to remain silent.
6. Amos 5:14, 15, 18, 21, 23 — “Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said. Hate evil, and love good…. I take no delight in your solemn assemblies…. Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! Why would you have the day of the Lord? It is darkness, and not light…. Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen.”
– This is a warning to those who claim to be Christians but live worldly lives. A trend we see throughout the Bible is that often those who feel most religious are those most abhorrent to God. Today’s readings describe ‘churchy’ people eagerly awaiting God’s judgment on earth, as if they would escape it. God’s answer to these disobedient, self-righteous sinners is “Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord!” Why? Because they did not “hate evil and love good.” Jesus said it this way, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46) “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7, 8) “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.” (1 John 5:2) Is this hard to understand? Meditate upon the below verses:
— John 3:36 — Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
— Acts 5:29 — But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.
— Acts 5:32 — And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
— Romans 2:8 — but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.
— Hebrews 5:9 — And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,
— Hebrews 11:8 — By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
7. Amos 5:14 – “Seek good, and not evil, that you may live.” Seeking the Lord involves seeking good and not evil. God is Good. Goodness starts and ends with God. We draw closer to Him when we seek to do His will from a right heart – “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
8. Amos 5:18 — “Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! Why would you have the day of the Lord? It is darkness, and not light.”
– Many outwardly religious people are hoping for End Times, wishing God’s punishment on those they would like to see get punished, rather than desperately hoping to save those sinners from eternal separation from God. God delays that we might have a chance to reach the lost, those that naturally hurt the righteous in their destructive sinfulness. Jesus said that one of the marks of a true believer is a love that far surpasses love the world shows – a love that loves the unloving, that truly loves enemies. God has placed hateful people in your life for a reason, that you might show them the love of Christ and grow closer to Christ in the process. If you can’t stand the smell of sheep, you can’t be a good shepherd. If you have trouble truly loving your enemy, you have a perspective problem.
– These are powerful words to a people who claimed to be righteous in the Lord, but who had no evidence of righteousness in their lives. The sort of righteousness (a word used in today’s readings 16 times) God expects from His people is described in today’s readings. Righteousness comes by faith (Romans 4:13) but we are to live out our righteousness as evidence and fruit of our faith — “that is in keeping with faith (Hebrews 11:7, 1 Peter 2:24).” Amos addressed a people who proclaimed the name of the Lord but who lived in contempt of the Lord and misrepresented His character before a watching world. God says to them, “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me…. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream (Amos 5:21-24)!” God warns these church-goers: “Seek the Lord and live…. Seek good, not evil…. Hate evil, love good.” Proverbs says that the Lord delights in righteousness and abhors unrighteousness. If you are a Christian, you have been clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Now that you have been saved, honor God and truly worship Him by seeking to live righteously in your life.
9. Amos 5:21 — “I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.” God rejects the worship of the pridefully unrighteous.
10. Amos 5:23, 24 – “Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Great church services don’t make up for unrighteous living – God is not impressed for deceived. True and acceptable worship is loving obedience.
11. Amos 6:1,6 — “Woe to those who are at ease in Zion…. but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!” God will hold Christians accountable who live in luxury without concern for other Christians who are being martyred.
12. Amos 6:3 — “O you who put far away the day of disaster and bring near the seat of violence.” Will you live today as if Jesus’ return is to occur any second?
13. Amos 6:4, 5 — “Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory and stretch themselves out on their couches, and eat lambs from the flock and calves from the midst of the stall, who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp.” Life is not about being comfortable — it is about being faithful.
14. Amos 6:12 — “Do horses run on rocks? Does one plow there with oxen? But you have turned justice into poison and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood.” Don’t be fooled: God doesn’t run with the unrighteous. God will not bless unfaithfulness. Everyone reaps what they sow.
15. Proverbs 11:4 — “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, righteousness delivers from death.” Security is found in fidelity.
16. Proverbs 11:11 – “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.” God’s judgment will destroy the economic system, and money will be worthless. You cannot eat dollars or gold when the economic systems collapse under God’s judgment of nations, and these things have absolutely no value in the after-life. In what do you place your security?
17. Proverbs 11:18 – “The wicked earns deceptive wages, but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward.” From Henry T. Blackaby — There are many ways to invest our lives, but none offers greater reward than devoting ourselves to the pursuit of righteousness. Every area of our lives should reflect the holiness of God that is ours by salvation: our thoughts, so that nothing we think about would be inappropriate for a child of God; our actions, so that our lives demonstrate that we serve a holy God; our integrity, so that we are above reproach in all our relationships. Are you taking God’s righteousness in your life for granted? Righteousness is something you must allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life. Instead of sowing holy thoughts, are you allowing evil and sinful thoughts to grow in your mind? Are you allowing lust to grow unchecked within you? Does enmity, bitterness, jealousy, or unforgiveness remain in your life? Jesus said if we seek first God and His righteousness, everything else will follow (Matt. 6:33). There is great reward in sowing righteousness. What are you presently doing to plant holiness in your life? (1 Pet. 1:15). How are you putting righteousness in your mind so that your thoughts are holy? How are you cultivating righteousness in your relationships so that you maintain your integrity? Are you instilling righteousness in your activities so that your life is above reproach? If you want to harvest righteousness in your life tomorrow, you must plant seeds of righteousness today.
18. Proverbs 11 – The word righteous is used 13 times in Proverbs 11 to drive home the point that God’s people, though covered over in the righteousness of Jesus, are to live righteous lives on earth as evidence of the power of the Holy Spirit. God honors righteousness and punishes the unrighteousness. Grace is not a license to live un-righteously without fear of discipline. Grace gives us the freedom and power to live righteously, growing more and more righteous each day.
19. Revelation 9:4, 5 – “They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone.”
– Only God’s seal protects a person during the final tribulation.
– God places limits on the satanic tormentors.
20. Revelation 9:11 — “Abaddon” and “Apollyn” mean “Destruction” or “Destroyer.”
21. Revelation 9:21 –“… nor did they repent of their murders… or their sexual immorality.” The Bible considers sexual immorality to be as destructive as murder. Do you?
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 11 Dec 18: Run with God today and worship Him through loving, faithful obedience, regardless the personal cost. (Amos 6:12)