Digging in Deeper: Amos 4:4-5

“Come to Bethel and rebel; rebel even more at Gilgal! Bring your sacrifices every morning, your tenths every three days. Offer leavened bread as a thanksgiving sacrifice, and loudly proclaim your freewill offerings, for that is what you Israelites love to do! This is the declaration of the Lord God.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

On occasion I’ve heard a popular Christian speaker joke that he has the spiritual gift of sarcasm. Formally defined, sarcasm is “the use of irony to mock or express contempt.” Irony, of course, is expressing one thing by saying it’s opposite as a means of drawing attention to it. The speaker’s point is that he’s got a knack for poking fun at things that don’t fit with his worldview framework. Sarcasm can be funny, but it can also be pretty mean-spirited. Either way, it can be an effective way of expressing a point in a certain context in fairly unmistakable terms. One of the places we wouldn’t normally expect sarcasm, but in which we nonetheless find it remarkably often, is the Scriptures. Here is a perfect example. Let’s talk this morning about why God is being sarcastic and what we should do with it.

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Morning Musing: Amos 3:1-2

“Listen to this message that the Lord has spoken against you, Israelites, against the entire clan that I brought from the land of Egypt: I have known only you out of all the clans of the earth; therefore, I will punish you for all your iniquities.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

If you are a parent, you probably have some rules for your kids. Those rules may be very formalized and strict, or they may be more relaxed and informal. Whatever form they happen to take, though, you have rules. When those rules are violated, there will be some kind of consequences, again, whether formal or informal. Still, though, the bonds of the family hold even when the rules are broken. But what happens if someone in the family starts to assume on those family bonds while living however they please? Let’s consider that for just a minute this morning as we move forward with the prophet Amos.

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Digging in Deeper: Leviticus 19:9-10

“When you reap the harvest of your land, you are not to reap to the very edge of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not strip your vineyard bare or gather its fallen grapes. Leave them for the poor and the resident alien; I am the Lord your God.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

As followers of Jesus, we are not beholden to the laws given to the people of Israel. They are part of an old covenant that predates the one we have with God in Christ. Our only law is Jesus’ command to love one another as He loves us. That being said, there is great wisdom in terms of shaping a country’s national policy in the various laws God gave the people to govern themselves. The question is: How do such laws apply in a modern setting and through the lens of Christ? Let’s consider this today through the lens of this intriguing law.

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Morning Musing: Exodus 23:12

“Do your work for six days but rest on the seventh day so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female slave as well as the resident alien may be refreshed.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the virtues that lies – in theory – at the heart of the United States is equal treatment before the law. The idea is that the law is supposed to be a level playing field. Everyone who comes before it is before the same law and should expect to be treated the same way by that law. The law does not consider matters of social standing or economic prowess or national origin or ethnic identity. If you are before the law, you are before the law, and that is that. In this passage we see that this idea was something God first introduced to the world a very long time ago. Let’s talk about it.

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Now What?

Last week, we took a look at the incredible story of Elijah facing off against the prophets of Baal on the top of Mount Carmel from 1 Kings 18. That is one of my favorite stories in the entire Old Testament. What we came away with was a reminder that God sometimes acts in powerful ways, along with the exhortation to keep an eye out for His activity in our lives and the lives of the people around us. This week, we are taking a step forward to finish the story by looking at what happened next. The outcome of that incredible mountaintop experience isn’t what we might have expected it to be. Dive in with me, and let’s see what any of this has to do with our lives.

Now What?

If you’ll indulge me just a bit, as we are coming up quickly on the one year anniversary of a truly historical event, I thought we might reminisce on it for a few moments. Forty-eight weeks ago (this being the 49th), a competition was held. This was not your every day, average competition, though. This was a true clash of the titans. Two teams met in pursuit of the same goal and only one of them would walk away a step closer to it than they had been before. The other would go home in frustration and anguish and perhaps even shame depending on how the competition unfolded. If you’ve done your math and are aware of my sporting loyalties, you have perhaps already deduced that this epic competition was none other than last year’s AFC Divisional Championship Game between the Buffalo Bills and my Kansas City Chiefs. Within minutes of the game’s dramatic finish, it was already being heralded as one of the single greatest football games of all time. 

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