The Lord Mourns
Merciful and gracious God, let me hear the tender call of Your heart and understand that You are reaching out in love.
Read Amos 5:1-17
 Hear this word, Israel, this lament I take up concerning you:  “Fallen is Virgin Israel, never to rise again, deserted in her own land, with no one to lift her up.”  This is what the Sovereign LORD says to Israel: “Your city that marches out a thousand strong will have only a hundred left; your town that marches out a hundred strong will have only ten left.”  This is what the LORD says to Israel: “Seek me and live;  do not seek Bethel, do not go to Gilgal, do not journey to Beersheba. For Gilgal will surely go into exile, and Bethel will be reduced to nothing.”  Seek the LORD and live, or he will sweep through the tribes of Joseph like a fire; it will devour them, and Bethel will have no one to quench it.  There are those who turn justice into bitterness and cast righteousness to the ground.  He who made the Pleiades and Orion, who turns midnight into dawn and darkens day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land- the LORD is his name.  With a blinding flash he destroys the stronghold and brings the fortified city to ruin.  There are those who hate the one who upholds justice in court and detest the one who tells the truth.  You levy a straw tax on the poor and impose a tax on their grain. Therefore, though you have built stone mansions, you will not live in them; though you have planted lush vineyards, you will not drink their wine.  For I know how many are your offenses and how great your sins. There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes and deprive the poor of justice in the courts.  Therefore the prudent keep quiet in such times, for the times are evil.  Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is.  Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.  Therefore this is what the Lord, the LORD God Almighty, says: “There will be wailing in all the streets and cries of anguish in every public square. The farmers will be summoned to weep and the mourners to wail.  There will be wailing in all the vineyards, for I will pass through your midst,” says the LORD. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectDo you invite the Word of truth even when uncomfortable?
The Lord mourns. There is nothing for God other than grief over what is to come.Despite everything–their contempt for the poor, for justice, and their lavish but empty religious practice–still the Lord longs for his people to return. Even as he announces the fall of Israel, his word to them is, “Seek me and live” (4,6). God begs them to seek goodness and live (14), a powerful reminder that our relationship with our Holy God can never be divorced from right living and dealing. There is a desolate grief to this. For God to do nothing is to have his holiness demeaned. Yet, to act as his holiness demands is to pass through their midst in a way similar to the way he passed over Egypt (16,17; Exod. 12). The Lord mourns over his people and grieves over the choice he must make. He longs for his people to seek him afresh. He desperately longs to be with his people again rather than against them (14). But he must honor his own holiness and the covenant he made. Judgment must come, and the people of Israel, in their heedlessness, will be left with no one to lift them up (2).
It’s easy to mistake God’s patience for God’s permission. Ask the Lord whether that might be true in your life.
Lord of life, let me hear Your call to life and bring that call so that others might be saved.
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