Accountability, Advocate, Commands, Compassion, Consequences, Justice, Righteousness, Scripture

WATER

AMOS 5:24

“But let justice roll out like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

There is just something about a peaceful lake scene. The calmness of the water tends to affect your attitude. A gently flowing mountain stream is also a favorite of mine. Water has that kind of effect on people. It’s no surprise that all through Scripture God uses this imagery.

I love how Amos says these words in verse 24. “Let justice roll out like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” What is he really trying to say here? Israel had perverted justice and had definitely prevented righteousness. It is time for them both to be set free.

APPLICATION

How do we do that? How do we pervert justice and prevent righteousness? We do that by getting in the way of God’s truths. We don’t want to accept what He has to say about our sin. We think we are above that. Many today believe that sin is totally relative. It just depends on the situation.

Anything we do that does not agree with His Word is unjust and unrighteous. Why do we think that’s okay? Because the world says it is. Because Satan tells us it is really not important. We have done an amazing job of marginalizing sin. Sin is not sin anymore, thus justice and righteousness don’t flow.

I am so thankful that His Word shows me the truth. I am glad I am drawn to justice. I am so glad His righteousness reigns. No matter how the world may try to thwart His justice and righteousness, it will come through. Why? Because He loves us. It has to come through because our God triumphs over evil. Praise the Lord.

Truly, Lord, let your justice and righteousness flow into my life. I want to be known as just and righteous only because of You.

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Bible, Encouragement, Honor, Praise, Scripture, Worship, Worthy

SILENCE

AMOS 5:23

“Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps.”

Sometimes you just want silence. Can I get a witness? Amen! The noise of the world gets overwhelming. You want some peace and solitude. That is especially true if the noise is something you don’t want to hear, like really, bad country music. Lol.

God had had enough of their singing and music in their make-believe worship. They were still going through the motions of worship with all the noise it entailed. But God would have none of it. He recognized it for what it was – noise. He won’t listen to our empty efforts either.

APPLICATION

So, how do you know if your worship is genuine? Don’t you want to know that? I do. I don’t want to pretend to worship. I want to truly worship my Lord and Savior. I want to give Him all the honor and praise He is due. I don’t want to go through the motions.

Do you want to know what I’ve learned about worship? It comes from the heart. It has nothing to do with our emotions or our intellect. We can plan and plan every worship service. We can have the best praise band or choir around. None of that matters unless our hearts are right.

That’s why we have to start our worship long before we get to church. We have to get our hearts right, confessed clean and ready to receive from Him. When we have done that, worship overflows. Worship is a direct result of heart preparation. So, get your heart right! Then come to the Lord in a spirit of thanksgiving and praise. Worship will follow.

I worship You, Lord. I praise Your holy name. You alone are worthy of my praise.

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Advice, Appeasement, Bible, Blessing, Faith, Gifts, Obedience, Scripture

NO THANK YOU

AMOS 5:22

“Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; and I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fattened oxen.”

Have you ever refused a gift from someone? Maybe it was because you didn’t like the gift or because you felt it was too extravagant. Whatever reason you had, you rejected it. You didn’t want it. You didn’t need it. Gifts are not gifts until they are received, right?

God is refusing the gifts of the Israelites. Their burnt offerings and grain offerings are not going to be accepted by Him. He knew the hearts of the givers. He knew of their unconfessed sins, so He was not going to take their sacrifices as if everything was just fine. God is a God of justice and righteousness.

APPLICATION

We half-heartedly offer God our sacrifices, don’t we? We bring our tithes and offerings to Him with impure motives. We want something back. We think if we give, He will give back. Even our time is a sacrifice. Do we give that joyfully or under compulsion?

As we give our tithes and offerings or our time and energy to the Lord, let’s examine our heart reason for the gift. Do we do this out of our love for Him? Are we only wanting to please Him to get something back in return? Remember, God knows our hearts. He knows what drives us to give to Him.

I am so thankful that I can give back to Him. He blesses me in so many ways every day. I could never repay Him. I can’t even try to. So, I give just because I love Him. I give my time and resources to further His kingdom. I want to honor Him and show that He is worthy of my praise and worship. Don’t you?

Lord, please receive my offering and sacrifices as I worship You. You deserve all the praise and glory and honor given.

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Accountability, Affection, Bible, Commands, Compassion, Discipline, God's Will, Hatred, Modeling, Scripture

HATE IS A STRONG WORD

AMOS 5:21

“I hate, I reject your festivals, nor do I delight in your festive assemblies.”

I am sure at one point in your life you have told someone you hated them. It may have just slipped out. Perhaps you really didn’t mean it, but out it came. Maybe you did mean it. Perhaps that person had hurt you so deeply all you could feel at the time was hate. Whether or not this has happened to you, you can understand the depth of that word.

Would it help you to know that God hates? Yep, He does. But He only hates those things we do (not us) that are against His commands. Amos told the Israelites that God hated and rejected their festivals that were filled with such hypocrisy. The Hebrew word for “delight” actually means savor or smell. He doesn’t even want to smell the sacrifices because He knows how they are given.

APPLICATION

Oh, beloved. Listen to me. Be careful how you offer your “sacrifices” to God. He knows the intent of your heart. He knows when you drop that money in the offering plate or give online, how you felt about it. We are told to give with a cheerful heart, how we have decided to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion (2 Corinthians 9:6-7).

But our hearts are about so much more than our sacrifices to God. There is just no room in your heart for hate if the love of Christ is present. 1 John tells us that over and over. We can’t say we love Christ and hate our brother. We just can’t. So, lose that word from your vocabulary. Don’t allow your children use it. It’s a harsh word with harsh meanings and doesn’t belong in the mouth of a believer (unless he is talking about sin).

I just learned a new verse in Psalms. It’s Psalm 101:3. It says, “I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do. I will have no part of it.” That kind of hate is okay. Hate the sin but love the sinner. Can we try that today?

Father, give me a divine hatred for anything sinful. Let it burn my nostrils. Instead, let me show the love of Christ to all around me.

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Bible, Darkness, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Holy Spirit, Light, Scripture

DARK DAYS

AMOS 5:20

Will the day of the LORD not be darkness instead of light, even gloom with no brightness in it?”

There are a lot of people who suffer from light deprivation in the winter months. As the days get shorter and the daylight is often obscured by winter storms, they sink into a depression cause by this lack of sunlight. I’ve known several people with this, and their moods change drastically. It’s funny how the sun can cause such changes.

Amos reminds Israel that the day of the LORD will be a day of darkness and not light. He even goes on to say it will be gloomy with no brightness. In other words, it will not be a sun shiny day. It won’t be a day to look forward to. They had better prepare themselves and repent.

APPLICATION

I pray for you that you have found the SON that is necessary for light. When we have Jesus as our Savior, it doesn’t matter how physically gloomy the days are. He is the light that shines on us from within. His Holy Spirit gives us the ability to shine His light on others.

Focusing on others other than ourselves can help defeat those gloomy days. We have this powerful, luminous light within us just waiting to be shined on the world. Ask the Lord today how He wants to use the light within you. He does, you know. He is just waiting on you to ask.

I love shining His light on others. It is so exciting to watch how His light transforms their lives. It shows them their sins, first of all, so they can confess those and make things right. Then it shows them the right path to follow, rather than stumbling around in the dark. His light changes things. Won’t you shine it today?

Heavenly sunlight, Heavenly sunlight, flooding my soul with glory divine.

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Abiding, Advice, Bible, Blessing, Calling, Encouragement, Holy Spirit, Obedience, Rescue, Suffering, Surrender

NO ESCAPE

AMOS 5:19

“As when a man flees from a lion and a bear confronts him, or he goes home, leans with his hand against the wall, and a snake bites him.”

Have you ever had a dream in which you were trying to get away from something and you couldn’t? You wake up in a sweat and terrified. It seemed so real. Aren’t you glad it was only a dream? But what if it wasn’t? What if it was real?

Amos puts out a hopeless situation with no escape here in 5:19. A man who is lucky enough to escape a lion and a bear only to be bitten by a snake on a wall. Talking about bad luck! But Amos is telling the Israelites that there is no escape from the wrath of Jehovah. Their sins will be paid for.

APPLICATION

Do you think you can hide from God? You can’t. There is no escape. You may think you can live as if He doesn’t exist, but He does. He is so real! Once you realize that and surrender to Him, your life actually begins. Any life before Christ is artificial, not real, irrelevant.

Coming to Christ sets you on the path that leads to life. His Spirit indwelling you gives you power that you cannot imagine. It’s not magical, but it is powerful. Life in Christ needs no escape. Nothing can hurt you as long as you dwell in Him.

You may be thinking that you know plenty of Christians who have suffered. You must understand something about suffering. As believers, suffering is a gift. We are privileged to suffer. Suffering makes us more like Him. So, we perceive suffering very differently than the world. We don’t try to escape from it. We embrace it. Stop trying to escape and come to Him.

Jesus, You are the reason for my existence. I will embrace whatever You send my way.

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Accountability, Bible, Christ's Return, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Light

THE DAY OF THE LORD

AMOS 5:18

“Woe to you who are longing for the day of the LORD, for what purpose will the day of the LORD be to you? It will be darkness and not light;”

I am 61 years old and have heard about the “day of the LORD” since I was a little boy. When is it coming? Will it ever come? That’s the question many ask. It’s not a new question, as we shall see today in Amos. But we need to be thinking about this day because it is coming one day.

The people of Israel were longing for the day, which Amos rebukes. How dare they, in their present state, long for that day? For them, the day of the LORD would be “darkness and not light.” They weren’t repentant. They were not confessing sin. So, they were in for a rude awakening.

APPLICATION

When I mention “the day of the LORD” to you, how do you feel? Are you ready for it? We know through His Word that Jesus will come back for his bride, the church, first. He won’t set foot of earth then. Seven years later He will return and set things right. The day of the LORD will have arrived.

Whether I die before He comes for the church or I return with Him in the air, I am not fearful of the day of the LORD. I know I am not perfect, but I am forgiven. I do my best to stay “confessed up” before Him. So, I don’t fear facing my Lord one day.

My great failure is not taking as many people as possible with me. I know that is the Lord’s desire (the desire that all men be saved). If I am guilty of anything it is not being more forceful about the gospel, not sharing it as freely as possible. Lord, forgive me of that. Are you ready for the day of the LORD? That’s the question.

You will return one day, Lord, as judge and master of all. Help me direct others to Your side in preparation for that day.

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Abiding, Bible, Choices, Cleansing, Confidence, Mourning, Offering, Rejoicing, Scripture

IN YOUR MIDST

AMOS 5:17

“‘And in all the vineyards there is mourning, because I will pass through the midst of you,’ says the LORD.”

I’m an extrovert. I love to be around people. It fuels me. I simply love being in the midst of people. Right in the center. Not everyone is that way. Others shun crowds and had rather be alone. I love today’s verse, but I must say it confuses me.

The Lord says His presence would bring mourning. You would think His presence would bring rejoicing. But He is passing through to bring judgment. His presence exposed their sins, thus the mourning. And when God exposes sin, consequences fall. There are always consequences for our sins.

APPLICATION

How much better would it be to welcome God’s presence everyday with nothing to fear? When I worked in children’s homes, we would often go through inspections (health, fire, licensing, accreditation). I wanted to ensure that we were ready for any inspection any day.

I had worked in some locations where inspection days meant extra cleaning and extra work before they arrived. Needless to say, this method did not work when we had surprise inspections. The same applies for us. We need to keep our lives so prepared that when the Lord visits us, we are not embarrassed.

I can honestly say today that I have nothing to hide. I am ready. It is my prayer to do that every day, but I do slip up time to time. I don’t want God’s visit in my midst to bring mourning. I want to rejoice and sing. Can you do that today? Is your life ready for His visit?

I welcome You, Lord. Let Your presence bring for rejoicing and not mourning.

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Advocate, Bible, Comfort, Death, Encouragement, Mourning

MOURNING AND MORE MOURNING

AMOS 5:16

“Therefore this is what the LORD God of armies, the Lord says: ‘There is mourning in all the public squares, and in all the streets they say, ‘Oh no! Oh no!’ They also call the farmer to mourning and professional mourners to mourning rites.’”

In the past few months, we have seen a lot of death in our community. I personally have been to several visitations and funerals. And I have observed a lot of mourning. Mourning comes from loss. Mourning comes from grief. How do we, as believers, handle such loss?

Amos tells us the Lord’s words concerning this. He was, of course, talking to Israel, but the words apply to us. When we suffer loss we are driven to mourning. I can recall the days after 9-11. Not only my country, but the whole world mourned. We saw prayer meetings and church services being held all over the world for the loss of life on that day.

APPLICATION

How I mourn is so important. We are told that we do not mourn as those who have no hope. When we have a loved one die who knows the Lord, there is a loss here on earth but there is a gain in heaven. We will see them again. The mourning should be short lived.

But when we lose someone who does not know Jesus as their Savior, that is a deeper loss. May I encourage you today to reach out to all those you love who are in that group? You don’t want to grieve in that way. You don’t want your mourning to be that deep.

Someone told me the other day that we spend so much time getting people to agree to go to heaven and then we are upset when they go. They have won the ultimate victory – the victory over death. They moved from this world to the next and received glory. Hallelujah! Praise His name.

O God, help me mourn with those who mourn. Let me also point all I can to You, who can lessen the mourning and lead us home.

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Accountability, Bible, Commands, Courage, Disciplemaking, Evil, Following, God's Will, Goodness, Justice, Scripture

CLEAR COMMANDS

AMOS 5:15

“Hate evil, love good, and establish justice in the gate! Perhaps the LORD God of armies will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.”

One of the things that drove me crazy working with staff in children’s homes is when they would not make their expectations clear to the children. The children would get in trouble for doing something that they had no idea they were expected to do. Clear, concise rules make things so much easier.

Here in today’s verse, we have three very clear and concise commands. Hate evil, love good and establish justice. I didn’t say these were easy, but they are clear. Obviously, the nation of Israel had not been doing that very well. Amos points out if they did, perhaps God would show grace to them.

APPLICATION

These three commands apply to us today. The first two are simple – hate evil and love good. I think we can all agree on those. Those two are common sense (at least to most people). But how about that third one – establish justice in the gate? What did that mean then and how does it apply to us know?

We must deal with sin. For too long the Israelites had overlooked and shrugged off sin. We do the same. Our society is so tolerant today that nothing is considered sin. But we must establish justice. We must call sin sin. Not in a judgmental manner, but only to point out the error of the world.

I am only made aware of sin as it is revealed to me through God’s truth. His truth is always true. His truth is always right. Anything that goes against it is sin – period. That is what keeps me straight. I want to hate evil, love good and establish justice in the gate. How about you?

Lord, keep me focused on what You say is true and right. I want to walk in Your truth.

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