Morning Musing: Amos 9:1-4

“I saw the Lord standing beside the altar, and he said, ‘Strike the capitals of the pillars so that the thresholds shake; knock them down on the heads of all the people. Then I will kill the rest of them with the sword. None of those who flee will get away; none of the fugitives will escape. If they dig down to Sheol, from there my hand will take them; if they climb to up to heaven, from there I will bring them down. If they hide on the top of Carmel, from there I will track them down and seize them; if they conceal themselves from my sight on the sea floor, from there I will command the sea serpent to bite them. And if they are driven by their enemies into captivity, from there I will command the sword to kill them. I will keep my eye on them for harm and not for good.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I was in middle school when one of the most sensationalized murder trials in American history took place. The defendant was Hall of Fame running back, O.J. Simpson. He was charged with murdering his ex-wife, Nicole, and Ron Goldman. A great deal of that case has entered our cultural memory as a nation from the nationally televised police chase as Simpson foolishly tried to evade capture in his white Ford Bronco to the bloody gloves found at the crime scene with his DNA on them. I remember when, after weeks of the trial, the jury’s verdict of “not guilty” was rendered in just four hours in spite of a mountain of evidence – including his DNA (which was still a fairly new form of criminal evidence and not yet well understood) found on the bloody gloves at the crime scene – suggesting powerfully that he was in fact guilty. By most accounts, Simpson had escaped justice. Sometimes that happens in our unjust world. There is a day coming, though, when no one will escape justice. Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: Amos 8:8-10

“Because of this, won’t the land quake and all who dwell in it mourn? All of it will rise like the Nile; it will surge and then subside like the Nile in Egypt. And in that day – this is the declaration of the Lord God – I will make the sun go down at noon; I will darken the land in the daytime. I will turn your feasts into mourning and all your songs into lamentation; I will cause everyone to wear sackcloth and every head to be shaved. I will make that grief like mourning for an only son and its outcome like a bitter day.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever learned something new about something you thought you understood just fine, and it gave you a totally different perspective on it? That happens every now and then. When it does, you can’t see the old thing in the same way any longer. That happened for me with this passage a few weeks ago. These verses are obviously a prophecy of judgment. It is a judgment coming because of the people’s sin. As I was reading through the devotion on Amos that inspired this journey, though, the author introduced an idea that let me see them in an entirely new light. Let me share that with you.

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Digging in Deeper: Matthew 18:21-22

“Then Peter approached him and asked, ‘Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? As many as seven times?’ ‘I tell you, not as many as seven,’ Jesus replied, ‘but seventy times seven.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the things I love about being a parent is that I can occasionally convince my kids to watch movies that I enjoyed watching when I was growing up. It often serves as a nice dip into the pool of nostalgia. It also occasionally leaves me wondering what on earth my parents were thinking letting me watch some things…or at least how many things I watched they didn’t know about to stop me. My middle son recently watched through the entire Toby Maguire Spider-Man movies directed by Sam Rami. That trilogy of films, more than just about any others, helped to launch the modern superhero genre. Watching them again, they were all just as good as I remembered. More than that, though, watching them again was a reminder of just how Gospel-soaked they were. Join me in a quick trip down memory lane as we talk about how.

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Morning Musing: Amos 7:8-10

“The Lord asked me, ‘What do you see, Amos?’ I replied, ‘ A plumb line.’ Then the Lord said, ‘I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will no longer spare them: Isaac’s high places will be deserted, and Israel’s sanctuaries will be in ruins; I will rise up against the house of Jeroboam with a sword.’ Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent word to King Jeroboam of Israel, saying, ‘Amos has conspired against you right here in the house of Israel. The land cannot endure all his words.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever tried to work with someone whose mind wasn’t made up yet about some detail, and because of that kept changing it? You get all set thinking it’s going to be one thing, and then suddenly something else is desired. It’s enough to almost give you whiplash. God had just finished telling Amos He was going to spare the people from His terrible judgment. Now He comes back around and declares their time is up. What changed? Let’s explore this today and think through how we can avoid such a change of mind about us.

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Digging in Deeper: Amos 5:14-15

“Pursue good and not evil so that you may live, and the Lord, the God of Armies, will be with you as you have claimed. Hate evil and love good; establish justice at the city gate. Perhaps the Lord, the God of Armies, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the most dangerous things in life is to be convinced we are on the right track when we are really on the wrong one. More than once in the writings of the Hebrew prophets we find them including the response of the people to God’s declaration of judgment coming on them. And in several of these responses we find them expressing shock at the reprimand they have received. They genuinely believed they were on the right track and weren’t doing anything wrong. After all, they were practicing various aspects of the religion faithfully. Wasn’t that enough to make God happy? Yet He wanted more. Let’s talk about what more He wanted from them and what this might mean for us.

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