Accountability, Angels, Battles, Bible, Deceit, Destruction, Eternity, Following, Idols, Judgment

BLOWS FROM ABOVE

AMOS 9:1

“I saw the Lord standing beside the altar, and He said, ‘Strike the pillar capitals so that the thresholds will shake and break them on the heads of them all! Then I will put to death the rest of them with the sword; they will not have a fugitive who will flee, nor a survivor who will escape.’”

Anyone knows when you are engaging your enemy you always want the high ground. That gives you a better view of the enemy’s moves and you can better defend yourself. Also, when you strike, you strike from above. Being above your target can give you an edge in the fight.

God is standing in Amos’ vision and tells His Angel of the Lord to strike the place of worship that Jeroboam had built. Strike it from above. Crush it and anyone who is there worshipping. God was done with this façade of worship. He wanted it done away with.

APPLICATION

I don’t think you want to feel God’s blows from above, do you? Well, if you are in Christ, you have nothing to fear. That’s not how God treats His children. He may discipline you, but it will always be in love and to draw you to Him.

But for those who are not in Christ, they have no idea what is coming. They will be judged one day, and they will feel those blows from God. He will crush them and send them to their eternal punishment.

There is a person on television right now who claims to be an atheist. He has done a commercial to talk about his atheist group. Just because he doesn’t believe in God, doesn’t make God not exist. But he closes his commercial by stating that he is okay with burning in hell. He has no idea. We should all pray that all these who claim such nonsense will come to their senses and realize there is a God who loves them so much.

God, I am so thankful I don’t have to fear Your blows from above. I am safe in the arms of Jesus.

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Abiding, Battles, Blessing, Completeness, Consequences, Destruction, God's Will, Goodness, Harvest

FRUIT BASKET

AMOS 8:1

“This is what the Lord GOD showed me, and behold, there was a basket of summer fruit.”

I love most fruit. I especially fresh fruit. I have been blessed to be in Uganda during pineapple season. Wow! If you’ve never eaten fresh pineapple, you have missed out. It is so sweet and juicy. Man, I want some now.

So, why did the Lord use this image to give a message to Amos. Albert Barnes says, “The sight gave an idea of completeness.” The end of the harvest had arrived. A sense of finality. That’s what Amos is implying here to Israel. They had come to their end.

APPLICATION

We will all come to our final day at some point. Only God knows when that will be. We must do all we can to prepare for that day. That preparation has to begin with our spiritual being. It belongs to God, so He draws us towards Himself. That wooing is intentional, but we have to choose to respond.

Have you done that? Don’t be like that basket of summer fruit that has reached its expiration date. All that can be done then is to throw it out. We are meant for so much more. Will you yield yourself to Jesus and allow Him to use you while you are here on this earth?

I don’t want to “spoil.” I want to be used in God’s eternal plan. There are times when I don’t do that well and other times when I do it extremely well. It all depends on my current walk with Him. That’s why it is so important to stay close to the Master. Will you do that today? Allow Him to use you.

God, You are so good to me. I don’t deserve anything You give me, but I am so thankful.

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Accountability, Advice, Advocate, Belief, Bible, Confession, Destruction, Foundation, God's Will, Judgment

DEMO TIME

AMOS 7:8

“And the LORD said to me, ‘What do you see, Amos?’ And I said, ‘A plumb line.’ Then the Lord said, ‘Behold I am about to put a plumb line in the midst of My people Israel. I will not spare them any longer.’”

When a wall is found to be out of plumb, there is only one thing to do if you can’t get it into plumb. You have to tear it down. Sometimes you can pull it back into plumb. That will take some pulleys or belts. You won’t be able to pull it back and set it straight by yourself. You may have to resign yourself that you have to tear it down and start over.

God is telling Amos in today’s verse that Israel is so out of plumb that He is going to have to tear them down in order to build them back up. It won’t be pleasant. There would be pain involved. People may question it. But God knows it has to be done.

APPLICATION

How far out of plumb are you? If God held a plumb line up against you, what would He find? That’s why it is so important to come to Him daily (for me, minute by minute) and confess our sins. By doing that, we are essentially “replumbing” our spiritual lives. We need that constant rebuild.

But when we have gone too far, God has to resort to a more severe method. He may just have to tear you down to build you up. None of us want that, do we? We want it to be a pleasant experience.

I only want to be plumb. I want to meet God’s standards for my building, not the world’s. I could be collapsing, and the world would say I am fine. Wow! Don’t trust the world’s architects and contractors. Trust the One who knows how to use the plumb line.

Thank You, Lord, for holding Your plumb line against me. Reshape me in Your image.

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Bible, Choices, Cleansing, Completeness, Consequences, Destruction, Disciplemaking, Discipline, Encouragement, Foundation, God's Will, Judgment

PLUMB LINE

AMOS 7:7

“So He showed me, and behold, the Lord was standing by a vertical wall with a plumb line in His hand.”

My dad was a great carpenter. I have mentioned that before. He had the ability to build just about anything. He was meticulous. He never hurried a project. When building a wall, he made sure the walls were plumb. He used a level most of the time, but he had a plumb line that he occasionally used, just to make sure.

The Lord used a plumb line in this vision He showed Amos. You see, God is a perfectionist. He will only allow to stand what is perfect and whole. Israel had gotten out of plumb. They were leaning the wrong direction. The Lord knew He had to tear them down in order to build them back straight.

APPLICATION

He will do the same to us. If we claim to represent Him, He demands that we stay in plumb. We can’t lean crooked. When we do, we put the whole structure in danger. If we lean too far or too long the rest of the building can collapse. We are part of a larger structure than just ourselves.

People are watching us. They see how we live our lives. If we lean out of plumb, we endanger them. We could cause them to reject the teachings of Christ because of the way we live. Our leanings could crush them.

O beloved, we are called to be God’s workmanship. 1 Corinthians 3:10 says, “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, but someone else is building on it. Each one should be careful how he builds.” There you are. We have to be careful. Use the plumb line. Make sure your walls are stable.

Lord, help me to build straight and true. Let whatever I build be built on You.

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Accountability, Belief, Bible, Cleansing, Destruction, Eternity, Fire, Judgment

A CONSUMING FIRE

AMOS 7:4

“So the Lord GOD showed me, and behold, the Lord GOD was calling to contend with them by fire, and it consumed the great deep and began to consume the farmland.”

I have mentioned I grew up in a rural community. That meant I was surrounded by farmland. Every once in a while, a farmer would burn off his field. It was a controlled burn, but it still was hot and moved fast. I have watched farmers do this and have even helped on occasion. The fire destroyed everything in its path.

Fire is a symbol of God’s judgment. Amos had just stilled God’s hand in verse 3 (God relented). But here, we see God once again sending forth His judgment on the land. And just like that fire that farmer set, His fire will destroy whatever is in its path. His judgment is sure.

APPLICATION

Don’t think for a second that you can escape the fires of God’s judgment. He won’t excuse us. We have been warned. Many live their lives with no fear of eternity. Just because they don’t believe doesn’t make it untrue. God is real! His Word is true! God will have the last word.

And when God’s judgment comes, it will be too late to say, “Hold on God. I was going to get around to accepting Your Son.” Nope, that won’t work. If you are a believer, praise Him for your salvation. If you haven’t made that decision to follow Jesus, do it today.

I do not fear God’s judgment because I know I am secure. I have been sealed with the Holy Spirit and am headed to heaven. But there are many I know that aren’t secure. They haven’t made that decision. Others I know aren’t walking with the Lord. They are living to please the flesh and not the Spirit. Will you join me today in living for His Son? Will you trust Him to secure your eternity?

O God, my Savior, I praise You for the security I have in You. I pray others will come and experience the freedom they can have in You.

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Abiding, Battles, Bible, Calling, Choices, Confession, Destruction, God's Will, Judgment, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture

I’VE HAD ENOUGH

AMOS 7:2

“And it came about, when it had finished eating the vegetation of the land, that I said, ‘Lord GOD, please pardon! How can Jacob stand? For he is small.’”

My father accepted Christ at age 80. It was after a stay in the hospital with heart failure. You have to understand that my dad was someone who could fix anything. He had always been able to do that. Now, here he was, laying in bed unable to “fix it.” It was then that he told the Lord that he had enough. He finally gave up and surrendered.

Even Amos was begging God to stop the judgment against Israel. He was fearful of their utter destruction. God will do whatever necessary to draw us to Himself. He will allow things in our lives that will push us to the point of repentance. Amos was witnessing such an event. God wasn’t done with Israel yet, but the people had to realize their need for a Savior.

APPLICATION

We are the same. I came to Christ after a period of rebellion and wrong living. I was playing the part of a Christian but had never really surrendered. It took God doing an incredible work in my life to draw me to Him.

God loves us so much. He is just waiting for us to say, “I surrender, Lord.” Then, instantly, He is there to welcome us into His loving embrace. We are ushered into His kingdom. We are a child of the King from that moment forward. But we have to surrender. Have you?

Oh, I pray you have surrendered your will for His. It is so much better. Life has purpose in His will. You will still face difficult times, but they are so much sweeter with Him. Yes, I said sweeter. Knowing that He allows us to go through these trials to make us more like Him is somewhat comforting. Had I rather not have trial? You had better believe it. But I trust Him. Do you?

Father God, You are the only one to whom I will surrender. I trust You through every storm.

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Affliction, Bible, Brokenness, Destruction, Discipline, Failures, Harvest

CROP FAILURE

AMOS 7:1

“This is what the Lord GOD showed me, and behold, He was forming a swarm of locusts when the spring crop began to sprout. And behold, the spring crop was after the king’s mowing.”

I have shared several times about my upbringing in Southwest Georgia. I grew up in a farming community. My uncle and cousins were farmers. So, I can relate to Amos’ descriptions of the crops and mowings. Crops are harvested according to their growth, not man’s schedule.

In verse 1 of chapter 7, we see Amos describing how God was judging Israel through crop failures. After the king’s mowing, which was probably the crop harvest that went to the king for taxes, they were hit with the locusts. This would have been devastating for the farmer. When their harvest is eaten up, they would have nothing to eat themselves or harvest to sell.

APPLICATION

We sometimes feel like our crops have failed. We may not be literally raising crops, but we are working and living in this world. Sometimes all our efforts fall short. It seems nothing we try to do works out. We are stuck and have no idea how to get unstuck.

Praise be to God! He knows exactly what we need to get unstuck. We need to turn to Him. Turn your attention to Jesus and allow Him to show you the way out. Offer to Him all your burdens. He can handle it. So, when your “crops fail,” let Jesus maintain your harvest.

I know I can never produce anything that is worthy of Jesus. Our efforts are rewarded by Him, but we must be willing to offer them as a sacrifice. Now, I don’t mean a literal sacrifice. I mean we have to sacrifice ourselves. That’s what God wants – us. Will you give it to Him today?

Lord, I am thankful for the privilege to give of myself. I want You to have all of me.

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Battles, Bible, Destruction, Discipline, Encouragement, Following, Leading, Protection, Rescue, Scripture

ROUGH RIDE

AMOS 6:12

“Do horses run on rocks? Or does one plow them with oxen? Yet you have turned justice into poison, and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood,”

I’m a member of a hunting lease here in Tennessee. I love going out there to hunt. One section of the lease, which I love to hunt, has become almost inaccessible due to the condition of the road. This road is full of rocks and ruts. Without a four-wheeler or a four-wheel drive truck, you are out of luck.

Amos uses the imagery of horses running on rocks in verse 12. I’m not a horse expert, but even I know that is destructive and harmful to the horse. It will end with broken legs which could lead to death. Get the picture. The Israelites had turned justice and the fruit of righteousness into something destructive and perhaps deadly.

APPLICATION

What have you turned around? We tend to want to see things our own way. We justify our sins. We make excuses for our behavior. We blame it on genetics today. The perversions of the flesh are explained away. That’s the same as riding horseback on rocks.

Why don’t we all simply go the Word and let it guide us? If we would do that, our life would go so much smoother. I am not saying we wouldn’t face challenges. We would. But we would know how to face them and get through them.

I am thankful the Lord has led me to filter all my decisions through His Word. It has a way of directing me. That filter is never going to lead me in a direction that is harmful to me. It will always point me to Jesus, which is exactly where I want to be. So, stop riding on rocks!

Father, Your road may not be free of obstacles, but I know I can trust You to guide me. I do not fear the journey, as long as I am with You.

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Abiding, Accountability, Bible, Commands, Destruction, Following, Holy Spirit, Judgment, Modeling, Repentance, Scripture

DEMOLITION

AMOS 6:11

“For behold, the LORD is going to command that the great house be smashed to pieces, and the small house to rubble.”

I can demolish a building as fast as anyone. Taking a sledgehammer and tearing down a cabinet is invigorating, lol. Ripping up an old carpet is rewarding. Demolition has to happen before new construction can begin. It all has a purpose.

Amos tells us in today’s verse that the Lord didn’t discriminate between the wealthy and the poor when it came to judgment. A rich sinner and a poor sinner were treated the same. It did not matter who you were. If you were living disobediently, you were going to be held accountable by God.

APPLICATION

Aren’t you glad God treats us all the same? I am reminded, though, of Psalm 103:10 where the Psalmist says, “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our guilty deeds.” Thank goodness. I wouldn’t stand a chance.

God loves us enough to call us on our sin. His Holy Spirit, who indwells us at salvation, convicts us and leads us to the throne of grace. If you are a believer, you cannot remain in your sinful state long. The Holy Spirit doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, He will take the sledgehammer to you.

I want that accountability. I want to be reminded who I belong to. I need that. I know I could never repay the Lord for what He has done for me. I will try to live each day to honor Him and lead others to Him. How about you?

Lord, thank You for convicting me when I fall short. Sometimes I am blind to my sin and need reminding who I represent.

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Advocate, Battles, Bible, Destruction, Encouragement, Failures, Obedience, Repentance, Scripture, Submission

DESTRUCTION

AMOS 5:9

It is He who makes destruction flash upon the strong, so that destruction comes upon the fortress.”

If you have ever seen a house demolished, you can understand the Hebrew word used here for “destruction.” There is no way to demolish a house without using some pretty, violent actions. For instance, if a large piece of equipment is used, they will probably just smash and flatten the house and then haul the pieces away. Smash, pound, grind!

Amos says here that the Lord will do the same to the strong and to the fortress. You would think the strong and a fortress could put up a better fight than that. But not against the Creator of the universe. His power is beyond comprehension. When He destroys something, it is pulverized. Nothing can stand up to His fist of judgment.

APPLICATION

How does this verse apply to us today? Is God trying to destroy us? Of course, not. But He will humble the proud. He will allow things to come into our lives to bring us down to a level where we can listen to Him. We can build up walls (fortresses) in our lives to try to repel God. We think we can handle things on our own.

Instead of risking those wrecking balls that knock the wind out of you, how about taking down those walls yourself? Ask the Lord to reveal to you the walls of self-sufficiency in your life. Once you have identified them, start taking them down brick by brick.

When I was a little boy, my dad had me help take down a brick wall. I forget now where it was, but he was adamant about salvaging those brick. So, we did it gently, preserving most of the brick. Then he had me chip off the mortar and stack those brick. Later on, he used those salvaged brick to build a backyard sink and fish cleaning table. Why am I telling you that story? Your walls that you tear down may very well be used by God in your life for another purpose. Just watch what He does with them.

Father, thank You for tearing down my walls that I put up. I want to be used by you however You see fit.

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