Focal Passage: Amos 7:4-17
At this point in the Book of Amos the nation of Israel is too far gone to avoid judgment. Even so, Amos pleads to God on behalf of the nation for mercy. But, God repeatedly showed mercy to His defiant people only to have them continue in their smugness toward Him. God does not desire to destroy His people. He is very patient and has promised to relent in response to repentance.
But the only thing left for Israel was judgment. Judgment would fall on Israel like a plague of locusts, like a fire so intense it would evaporate the sea and char the land.
The sin of Israel was so terrible that the high places and sanctuaries had become dens of snakes. One would think that the priesthood would have held Israel accountable to the Torah. But, the priesthood itself was corrupt. There was no standard being applied by which Israel’s true condition could be recognized.
Plus, all the people wanted to hear were the messages of blessing and success, not messages about sin, obedience and judgment.
Sometimes it is hard to let God’s Word sift through our souls. Spiritual enlightenment and reflective Bible reading has a jarring effect on us. God uses the truth of His Word to show us our sinfulness, and most people are not comfortable with that.
Any casual walk through a Christian book store makes it apparent that we, like Israel, want to hear about blessing and success.
But the only true blessing is Christ. And the only success that matters is His victory on the cross over our sin. Because of the gospel we can finally see ourselves for who we really are – broken sinners dependent on the mercy and grace of God. That is good news that refreshes the soul.