Accountability, Battles, Bible, Blessing, Consequences, Encouragement, Judgment, Mentoring, Modeling, Oppression, Scripture

OPPRESSORS

AMOS 5:11

“Therefore because you impose heavy rent on the poor and take a tribute of grain from them, though you have built houses of cut stone, yet you will not live in them; you have planted beautiful vineyards, yet you will not drink their wine.”

Some people prey on those less fortunate than them. They take advantage of them. They kick them when they are down. They were the people in high school who shoved the weaker, smaller student in the locker or who made fun of someone just because they wore glasses or braces.

Amos tells the oppressors in today’s verse that their day is coming. They have taken their last bag of grain from the poor. Those house, which cost so much, will remain empty. Those vineyards that promise an abundance of wine will never be harvested by them. Their judgment is near.

APPLICATION

Do you look down your nose at others? I pray you don’t. God has created each of us for a purpose. Some have lost their way. It’s up to us to lead them back to Him. God still uses people to accomplish His mission here on earth. Did you know that? He might just want to use you to help some wayward soul come home.

Perhaps there is someone in your community or even in your church that seems to always struggle in life. What can you do to help them? I’m not talking so much about a financial investment. It may just require some time. Are you willing to allow the Lord to use you in someone else’s life? The blessing will be all yours.

From time to time the Lord gives my wife and I the opportunity to help someone in some small way. When we do, the joy we receive from doing that is worth it all. Seeing the smiles our little bit of help brings warms our hearts and encourages us to do it again. Give it a try, as the Lord leads you. You won’t regret it.

Father, thank You for lifting me up from the pit. You saw my value and gave me the opportunities to help others.

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Accountability, Advocate, Battles, Bible, Consequences, Devil, Enemies, Freedom, Judgment, Rescue, Satan, Scripture

CAPTIVE

AMOS 4:3

“‘You will go out through holes in the walls, one in front of the other, and you will be hurled to Harmon,’ declares the LORD.”

I have never been held captive. I can’t imagine what that feels like. I have read first person accounts of that and marveled at that person’s stamina and faith to survive. But to be torn from your home and carried off as a prisoner would certainly be horrible. God has promised, however, to see us through any trial.

Israel is facing captivity. The Lord is telling them here that they will be led out of their cities through the holes in the walls that were made by their captors. They will be lead like cattle, one in front of the other, to their place of captivity. They will go from luxury to slavery.

APPLICATION

If you are not a believer in Jesus, you are being held captive by your enemy, the devil. The sad thing is you may not even realize it. As long as you are not walking with Christ, you are walking with him. He may even treat you kindly here on earth because he knows he will have you for eternity.

But God rescues us from our captor through Jesus. Jesus conquered death and the grave for you. His blood paid the price for your freedom. You can be set free through Him. And the best part is that it is free. You just have to ask for it. If you haven’t done that today, will you?

I am thankful the chains of sin have been broken. We are no longer held down by Satan’s grip. The moment we said yes to Jesus, we were made free. The jail doors were opened. We now walk with the One who set us free. Remember – we walk from victory, not towards it. The battle has already been won. Praise Jesus!

Lord, You are the one who set me free from the power and penalty of sin in my life. Thank You for saving me.

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Accountability, Bible, Cleansing, Compassion, Confession, Consequences, Direction, Disciplemaking, Discipline, Forgiveness, Holiness, Judgment, Obedience, Punishment, Redemption, Repentance, Scripture

COME AND SEE

AMOS 3:9

“Proclaim on the citadels in Ashdod and on the citadels in the land of Egypt and say, ‘Assemble yourselves on the mountains of Samaria and see the great panic within her and the oppressions in her midst.’”

I often wonder what people like about a hockey game or a Nascar race. I think they like to see a good fight in the hockey game and good wreck at the race. Either way, people are drawn to disasters. They just can’t seem to stop looking and awing over them. I guess it’s our weird human interest in the events

The Lord, through Amos, is telling the neighboring nations to watch what He is doing in Israel. He has already pronounced their judgment. Now, it’s Israel’s turn. Their judgment will be public for all to see. They had flaunted their sins publicly, so it only seems fit that their punishment should be too.

APPLICATION

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my sins aired out publicly. I want to confess my sins quickly and privately. My sins are against my Lord. Now, if I have sinned against someone else, I should go to them and make that right. But that’s a far cry from telling the world.

So, we need to go to the Lord quickly when we sin. If we continue to live in sin and thumb our nose at God, He will deal with us. We may think we are getting away with it, but we are not. Eventually, He has to deal with our sin. If we are a child of His, He will discipline us. If we are not a believer, the punishment will much harsher.

I choose to fall into His hands for correction. I trust Him to discipline me accordingly. Proverbs 13:24 says, “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” The same applies to our holy God. He loves us, so He must discipline us. So, invite His hand in your life.

Father, forgive me when I sin against You and others. I ask You to judge me accordingly and set me back on the right path.

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Accountability, Bible, Confession, Consequences, Discipline, Following, Forgiveness, Godliness, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Listening, Obedience, Punishment, Repentance, Scripture

PUNISHMENT FOR EVIL

Amos 3:6

If a trumpet is blown in a city, will the people not tremble? If a disaster occurs in a city, has the LORD not brought it about?

I can remember several times when I was disciplined by my dad for disobedience. One in particular stands out. We had a dog who took her puppies in the woods and left them. I went in the woods to find them after being told not to. It was summer, and in South Georgia there was the risk of rattlesnakes and moccasins. When my dad got home from work, he gave me a whooping. I had willfully and decisively disobeyed my parents. That was sin.

The first part of today’s verse is pretty self-explanatory. But the second part may be confusing. This is referring to God’s punishment for sin. The Lord does not cause disasters to harm the innocent. That goes against His whole nature. But He will bring a disaster upon a evil, sinful people. Remember the flood?

APPLICATION

Are you in a position that deserves God’s punishment? Are you willfully sinning against a holy God. Numbers 32:23 is Moses warning the tribes that wanted to stay on the other side of the Jordan. He says,
“But if you do not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure that your sin will find you out.” You’ve probably heard the last part of that verse quoted a lot. That’s where it comes from.

Listen – if we know what to do and don’t do it, that could be a sin of omission. We must choose to follow Jesus. That means making the right choices up front. Sure, we received forgiveness when we sin and confess that to God. But it is so much better to choose to do right first. If I had chosen to obey my parents and not go in the woods that day, I would not have been spanked.

I am thankful for parents who disciplined me. But I am more grateful for a God who will not tolerate my sin. He holds me accountable. He uses His Holy Spirit to convict me and drive me back to Him. I do not always obey. But it is my desire to do so. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating. Before getting saved, we chase sin. After we get saved, sin chases us. Don’t let it catch you.

Father God, I thank You for keeping me disciplined and corrected. I can be stubborn and rebellious.

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Abiding, Accountability, Bible, Commands, Consequences, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Judgment, Repentance, Scripture, Surrender

LIONS’ PREY

Amos 3:4

“Does a lion roar in the forest when he has no prey? Does a young lion growl from his den unless he has captured something?

It is so interesting that this verse came up today. Just yesterday I was on a safari in Nakuru, Kenya. We saw all kinds of animals, most of them lions’ prey. We saw warthogs, antelopes, impalas, giraffes, water bucks, African water buffalo and many more animals. We even saw several dead animals, which could have been lion kills. But we did not see any lions. They are sneaky like that.

Amos is continuing his parable usage in verse 4. He asks two logical questions. Does a lion roar when he has no prey and does a lion growl unless he has captured something? Anyone hearing these words from Amos would know the answer immediately. Of course not. But I bet you they are not getting what Amos is hinting at. Does God do anything unless there is a reason? Does God bring judgment unless judgment is deserved? Of course not.

APPLICATION

How do you answer those questions? Have you argued with God before about His correction in your life? Do you really think you are above the righteousness of God? We all shun correction. I know I did as a child. To be honest, I still do as an adult. No one likes to be told they are wrong. But God has that right in all of our lives, especially the lives of His children.

What do you need to be corrected about? We all have something. Today, give that up to the Lord. Ask Him to take that burden away and accept from Him whatever consequence you might have. You may be thinking Well Carl, I’m a Christian, so I don’t have to worry about consequences. All my sins are forgiven. Yes, your sins are forgiven, but even after salvation, when we sin, we can receive consequences for our disobedience. Just accept them.

As I said, I have never liked to be told I’m wrong. But I have learned to listen to the Holy Spirit who corrects me and convicts me when I sin. The more I read God’s Word and the more I let it sink into my life, the more sensitive I am to sin. I just don’t like to sin. I want to walk holy. I want to think holy. I want to talk holy. That is only possible as I accept the correction of the Lord through the Holy Spirit. Will you do the same?

Lord, we love You and thank You for correcting us. We may not like the process, but we love the end result – a closer walk with You.

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Accountability, Bible, Commands, Confession, Consequences, Deception, Discipline, Evil, Flesh, Godliness, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Modeling, Perversion, Scripture, Sin

PERVERSION

AMOS 2:7

“‘These who trample the head of the helpless to the dust of the earth also divert the way of the humble; and a man and his father resort to the same girl so as to profane My holy name.’”

Sin by any other name is still sin. I know I have called my sins things like “my rights” or “just my personality.” Listen, anything that goes against what the Lord commands is sin, plain and simple. Anything that seeks my will over His is sin. Anything that belittles another is sin. I could go on, but you get the picture. We call our sins other things to disguise them and feel better about them.

All the things mentioned in verse 7 today were sins against a holy God. The rich were trampling the helpless for the dust they had put on their heads in mourning. They were diverting the meek and humble away from God. A father was marrying his son’s widow and vice versa. And father and son were perhaps visiting the same temple prostitute. All abominations in the eyes of God. But Israel was blind to them.

APPLICATION

What perversions do you have in your life right now? Most of us would quickly deny we had any perversions. Those are only the gross sins, right? Wrong. Any sin against God is perverse. They all go against His holiness. So, let me ask you that question another way. What sin(s) do you have right now that God would see as against His holiness? Now, that changes everything, doesn’t it?

I want to encourage you to confess those “perversions” right now. Ask the Lord to reveal to your eyes the sins you have not confessed to Him. Take the time to evaluate your lifestyle. Are there things you are doing on a daily basis that bring your faith into question? Are you compromising your testimony to achieve something? The Lord will show you what you need to confess, if you will just ask.

Staying “confessed up” is the key for me. The Holy Spirit is quick to convict me. If He’s too busy, my wife is always available. Lol. Seriously though, I am thankful for a wife that will not hesitate to call me out on my sin. That’s special. I love her for it. I pray you have someone in your life who will do the same. If not, find someone.

Your conviction in my life is precious, O Lord. I want You to keep my accountable for my sin.

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Accountability, Belief, Bible, Calling, Confession, Consequences, Disciplemaking, Forgiveness, God's Will, Punishment, Repentance, Scripture

PUNISHMENT IS SURE

AMOS 2:5

“‘So I will send fire upon Judah, and it will consume the citadels of Jerusalem.’”

When I was in the eighth grade, many moons ago, my homeroom teacher, who was also my junior varsity football coach, would call me and another student, who was also one of his players, up to the front of the room. He would give us both one swat with his paddle and say, “You’re both going to do something today to deserve this. Consider your punishment rendered.” I’m not sure that could be done today, lol.

Judah’s punishment was sure. The Lord uses the same language He used for Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon and Moab. Just because Judah was His daughter, they did not escape His wrath. Why? Why didn’t God show them so preferential treatment? Why didn’t He let them off with a lighter punishment? Because He is just, and His judgments are justified.

APPLICATION

The same applies for us. Some people think that just because they have asked Christ to be their Savior, they can do anything they want and escape the consequences. Sure, those sins are forgiven, but all sins have consequences, either here or later. Of course, if we are Christians, we should be running from sin, not going towards it.

So, I know when I sin, I must go the Father as quickly as I can and confess that sin to Him. I don’t always do that, and I can feel the barrier building up in my prayer life. Have you felt like your prayers were hitting the ceiling? Perhaps your sins are bouncing them back. Try confessing them to Him right now. If you aren’t aware of them, ask Him to reveal them to you. He will. I promise you will feel that weight come off your shoulders.

My buddy and I certainly did things everyday to deserve those spankings. Why wouldn’t we? Our coach told us they were paid for in advance. That’s not how it works with God. I wish I could go back and correct that coach, but that was almost fifty years ago. I didn’t know the Lord then. I pray he came to a saving knowledge of Jesus himself.

Lord, I praise You for discipling me. It may be painful know, but it will produce a harvest of righteousness and peace.

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Accountability, Bible, Child Raising, Confession, Consequences, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Scripture

CLOSER TO HOME

AMOS 2:4

“This is what the LORD says: ‘For three offenses of Judah, and for four, I will not revoke its punishment, because they rejected the Law of the LORD and have not kept His statutes; their lies also have led them astray, those which their fathers followed.’”

I have three siblings. I have a brother (who is in heaven now) and two sisters, one older and one younger. You can imagine with the four of us growing up together, there were plenty of times when we got in trouble. I used to love it when my siblings got in trouble, and I didn’t. I especially liked that when I had done the instigating. I thought I had escaped the wrath of mom or dad. Lol

Israel, who is receiving these prophecies from Amos, just leaped about ten feet off the floor when they heard Amos proclaim verse 4 of chapter 2. Judah was their sister, with whom they have been fighting for generations, ever since the kingdom divided. They knew THEY deserved punishment. It was about time. Right? Right!

APPLICATION

But oh, how quickly we forget. We have done the same if not worse things. I knew every time my siblings got caught and I didn’t that my time was coming. I was just as deserving as they were of the punishment that was headed their way. But did I run up to mom or dad and confess my sins? No way. I was free from that – this time.

We can’t do that with God. He knows our every move. Nothing escapes His eyes. 2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” You see, He is always watching, but He had much rather catch us doing good than doing bad. That’s true with any parent, isn’t it?

I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit in my life who directs me to do good. He quickly convicts me of wrong and sets me back on the right path. I pray you have that same Holy Spirit in your life. If you don’t, surrender to Jesus today, and He will send His Spirit to live within you. You will never be the same!

O God, thank You for not only convicting me but for also catching me doing good. I want to please You.

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Accountability, Advocate, Bible, Commands, Consequences, Crowns, Judgment, Obedience, Scripture

THERE GOES THE JUDGE

AMOS 2:3

“‘I will also eliminate the judge from her midst and slay all her leaders with him,’ says the LORD.”

When I was a child there was a comedian named Flip Wilson. He had one character he played that was a judge. Whenever he walked on to the set he would cry out, “Here comes the judge! Here comes the judge!” It was a pretty, funny character, and he played it well.

In Amos 2:3 the Lord is saying just the opposite. He is saying, “There goes the judge! There goes the judge!” He was taking out not only the kings and princes, but He was eliminating all rulers in Moab. There will be no one to lead what was left of their people. He wanted them to know that there was only one King and Ruler – Jehovah!

APPLICATION

Who is the ruler of your life? If it is anyone but God, you have chosen the wrong ruler. So many of our young people today are rebelling against any authority in their lives. They seem to think they don’t need anyone to rule over them. They rebel against their parents, teachers, coaches, etc.

But before we point our fingers at them and shake out head, we are no better. We rebel against God in our lives. We rebel against our bosses (don’t tell me you don’t in some way). We need people to lead us. We need a ruler. God is that ruler. Bow down.

I am thankful for God being my King. I bow before Him daily. Do I serve Him as I should? Not always. But He is still my King. I acknowledge that. I want to be under Him. As long as I do, I am under His protection. He protects those who stay close, but you have to stay close. Does that mean you don’t interact with the world? Of course, not. But it does mean you live by your King’s rules and not the world’s.

Thank You, Father, for leading me. I know I am not always as obedient as I should be, but I do want to follow You.

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Accountability, Bible, Brokenness, Consequences, Forgiveness, Humility, Scripture

BURNING BONES

AMOS 2:1

“This is what the LORD says: ‘For three offenses of Moab, and for four, I will not revoke its punishment, because he burned the bones of the king of Edom to lime.’”

Cremation is a choice many people make for their bodies at death. Some feel that it isn’t biblical. I am not going to get into a debate about that in this blog. You will have to decide that on your own. To burn bones you have to get a pretty hot fire. Today that’s pretty easy, but back in the day of Amos that took great effort.

So, the Lord has turned his attention to Moab, another of Israel’s enemies, because of this decision. Who was Moab? They were the descendants of Lot and his older daughter after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. They were a ruthless bunch, as you can see from today’s verse. God is not going to revoke His punishment due to the actions.

APPLICATION

What have you done offensive against someone? Don’t tell me you haven’t. We all have. God is not pleased with that. We all know that. So, what do we do about that? We confess that as sin and ask God for forgiveness. It really is that simple. But there’s a second part. We also have to go to that person and ask for forgiveness.

That’s the hard part. We don’t want to do that. Why? Because we don’t want to humble ourselves before others. But what did our Savior do? He washed the feet of His disciples as a lowly servant. He even washed the feet of Judas, whom He knew would betray Him. That’s humbling yourself.

No one likes to humble themselves. I certainly don’t. But I know the shortest route to heaven is on my knees. I have to bow before my Lord and confess. I have to go to my neighbor and ask for forgiveness. And then I leave it there. I don’t burn any bones. It’s in the past. Can you do that?

Thank You Lord for convicting me of my sin. Continue to bring me to Your altar.

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