You Have Not Returned
Father, help me to understand Your heart, and awaken me so that I might long for You as You long for me.
Read Amos 4:1-13
 Hear this word, you cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy and say to your husbands, “Bring us some drinks!”  The Sovereign LORD has sworn by his holiness: “The time will surely come when you will be taken away with hooks, the last of you with fishhooks.  You will each go straight out through breaches in the wall, and you will be cast out toward Harmon,” declares the LORD.  “Go to Bethel and sin; go to Gilgal and sin yet more. Bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three years.  Burn leavened bread as a thank offering and brag about your freewill offerings- boast about them, you Israelites, for this is what you love to do,” declares the Sovereign LORD.  “I gave you empty stomachs in every city and lack of bread in every town, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the LORD.  “I also withheld rain from you when the harvest was still three months away. I sent rain on one town, but withheld it from another. One field had rain; another had none and dried up.  People staggered from town to town for water but did not get enough to drink, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the LORD.  “Many times I struck your gardens and vineyards, destroying them with blight and mildew. Locusts devoured your fig and olive trees, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the LORD.  “I sent plagues among you as I did to Egypt. I killed your young men with the sword, along with your captured horses. I filled your nostrils with the stench of your camps, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the LORD.  “I overthrew some of you as I overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. You were like a burning stick snatched from the fire, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the LORD.  “Therefore this is what I will do to you, Israel, and because I will do this to you, Israel, prepare to meet your God.”  He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth- the LORD God Almighty is his name. 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.
ReflectWhat is God's desire as expressed in this passage?
For Israel’s elite, life was decadent, complete with trophy wives demanding that others lavish attendance on them. Bashan was famed for its animals (1). But God rejects their extravagant lifestyles and worship. Why?Partly, this is because of the injustice (1) that accompanies their extravagant worship offerings (5). Also, their worship is refused because it’s not given according to God’s Law; leaven was banned from offerings by fire (Lev. 2:11), and the shrines in Israel were centered on idols, designed to draw attention away from Jerusalem, the place of God’s choosing (1 Kings 12:25-33). God’s people are not listening. They’ve ignored God’s discipline and warnings, though they’ve grown in seriousness and irreversibility through empty stomachs, drought without pattern, diseased gardens and crops, plagues and finally destruction (6-11). Although snatched smoldering from the embers, still the Lord laments. They have ignored God’s call to return to him (11). Their disobedience is entrenched and determined. Now, Amos declares to Israel, “prepare to meet your God” (12).
Are you prepared to meet with God? If not, how do you need to prepare? Write your thoughts about this.
Lord, You are beautiful and kind and good. You have no part in darkness. I want to live in the light of Your life.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Discovery is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.