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Amos 4:12-5:17 (NIV)
12 “Therefore this is what I will do to you, Israel, and because I will do this to you, Israel, prepare to meet your God.” 13 He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth— the Lord God Almighty is his name.
A Lament and Call to Repentance
5 Hear this word, Israel, this lament I take up concerning you: 2 “Fallen is Virgin Israel, never to rise again, deserted in her own land, with no one to lift her up.” 3 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to Israel: “Your city that marches out a thousand strong will have only a hundred left; your town that marches out a hundred strong will have only ten left.”
4 This is what the Lord says to Israel: “Seek me and live; 5 do not seek Bethel, do not go to Gilgal, do not journey to Beersheba. For Gilgal will surely go into exile, and Bethel will be reduced to nothing.”6 Seek the Lord and live,or he will sweep through the tribes of Joseph like a fire; it will devour them, and Bethel will have no one to quench it. 7 There are those who turn justice into bitterness and cast righteousness to the ground. 8 He who made the Pleiades and Orion, who turns midnight into dawn and darkens day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land—the Lord is his name.9 With a blinding flash he destroys the stronghold and brings the fortified city to ruin. 10 There are those who hate the one who upholds justice in court and detest the one who tells the truth. 11 You levy a straw tax on the poor and impose a tax on their grain. Therefore, though you have built stone mansions, you will not live in them; though you have planted lush vineyards, you will not drink their wine. 12 For I know how many are your offenses and how great your sins. There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes and deprive the poor of justice in the courts. 13 Therefore the prudent keep quiet in such times, for the times are evil. 14 Seek good, not evil,
that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. 15 Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph. 16 Therefore this is what the Lord, the Lord God Almighty, says: “There will be wailing in all the streets and cries of anguish in every public square. The farmers will be summoned to weep and the mourners to wail. 17 There will be wailing in all the vineyards, for I will pass through your midst,” says the Lord.
In what way(s) were the people of Israel to prepare to meet their God, so He will have mercy, sparing them from judgment? Does this speak to you at this time?
Sometimes I wonder how Israel could repeatedly turn away from You the way that they did, after all You did for them. But then I look at my own country and my own life and realize that it is no different now than it was in Amos’ time. You have blessed our land and we have turned from You. You have given me opportunities to love and serve You and the poor and I have let You down. How it must break Your heart for Your people to grievously offend, disobey and turn their backs on You over and over again. Lord forgive us…forgive me. Please don’t give up on us but have mercy on us. Help us to restore our land to hate evil, love good and maintain justice in the courts. Lord, thank you that Your desire is always that we return to you and walk in a right relationship with You. Thank you that you have now made that possible through Jesus. Amen