Morning Musing: Amos 3:5-6

“Does a bird land in a trap on the ground if there is no bait for it? Does a trap spring from the ground when it has caught nothing? If a ram’s horn is blown in a city, aren’t people afraid? If a disaster occurs in a city, hasn’t the Lord done it?” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Occasionally, I’ll tell one of my kids to stop doing something, and they’ll retort back that they weren’t doing whatever it is. My standard response to this is that if they hadn’t been doing it, then I wouldn’t have said anything to them about it. Because I did, they obviously were. Amos was prophesying God’s judgment against the people of Israel. In response, some of them may have been tempted to question what they had done that was worthy of judgment. Let’s talk about Amos’ response and what it might have to do with us.

Let me start by making a point that may either seem controversial or else perfectly understandable depending on your perspective. We generally don’t consider sin all that big of a deal. Let me explain what I mean. I mean that we generally don’t consider sin all that big of a deal. Clearer now? I kid…sort of. The truth is that we do consider some sins a big deal, but the list is growing smaller all the time and it largely depends on the perspective we bring to the issue.

For instance, everyone likes to point to murder as an obvious, universally-recognized sin. But think for a minute about how much media content we consume in which murder – not killing in self-defense or in the context of war which are different things – is presented as not only understandable, but even justifiable in some circumstances. Theft is wrong…unless someone really needs it to feed their family. Lying is bad…unless you’re trying to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. Cheating is a no-no…unless the system is corrupt, and you need to do it in order to overcome the prejudices and injustices working against you. There’s just about not anything we recognize as a sexual sin anymore…except rape. That may be the one last thing everyone agrees is wrong all the time.

We generally don’t think sin is a big deal anymore unless we’re the victim of it. I mean, sure, we’ll get a bit riled up when someone we have deemed innocent is the victim of someone else’s sin, but if it’s not really affecting us, we’re only going to stay riled up for so long. If you don’t believe me, think about how quickly Russia’s atrocities in Ukraine have been forgotten about by most of the public. It doesn’t affect us directly or daily and so we move on.

Here’s the problem with all of this: When you read through the Scriptures, it becomes pretty clear pretty quickly that God does consider sin a big deal. A really big deal. And there really isn’t a sin small enough to escape His notice either. He can kind of come off like a bit of a killjoy. Of course, He did create the world and everything in it. He’s also the one whose character sets the boundaries of right and wrong that everyone living in His creation is expected to follow. And He does have a pretty extensive record of loving us and being committed to what is best for us.

What all of that means is that when He speaks up to say, “Hey, you shouldn’t have done that, and if you keep doing it, there are going to be consequences for it,” we should probably pay attention. Of course, we don’t want to do that. We want to keep doing what we want, when we want, and how we want. But when it comes to whose opinion about sin counts more, sticking with the belief that ours does is a fantasy that we are only going to be able to perpetuate for so long before we crash rather painfully into the walls of reality. Because at the end of the day, if God really is the creator of the world, then He gets the final vote on that score, not us.

As it turns out, one of the very best things we can do to make our road through this life easier and less painful than it is otherwise going to be is to come to a place where we agree with God about not only sin in general, but about our sin. Israel didn’t agree with God about their sin, and it eventually cost them. A lot. Now, the price for our sin today was ultimately paid by Christ. When we place our trust in Him, our sins are completely forgiven and we are freed from them forever. But as glorious as that truth is, it does not erase all the consequences of sin. What’s more, God’s not going to shield us from all the consequences of our sin. When things start flying apart in our lives, there’s a very good chance that sin is going to lie at the heart of the chaos, and if we have not been agreeing with God about our sin for very long, there’s an equally good chance that it will be our sin lying at the heart of the chaos. We can avoid all of that simply by agreeing with Him and living like it.

Doing this isn’t easy. It will require us to deny ourselves in perhaps some areas we have not previously been accustomed to denying ourselves, but then, Jesus did sort of tell us rather directly that following Him would require our denying ourselves, so that really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. If we will commit to walking this path, though, much will go better and easier in our lives than it otherwise will. Now, this won’t mean other people’s sins won’t still affect us, but if we are on the path of righteousness, we can count on God’s having our back in those moments. When our sin is at issue, we will have told Him by that to get off our backs, so we’ll be on our own. Agreeing with God is always better than not. Spend some time today finding some places you haven’t been agreeing with Him, and ask for His help in fixing that. You’ll be glad you did.

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