CAUSE AND EFFECT
Lord, thank You for making me part of Your family.
Read AMOS 3:1–15
Witnesses Summoned Against Israel
3 Hear this word, people of Israel, the word the Lord has spoken against you—against the whole family I brought up out of Egypt:
2 “You only have I chosen
of all the families of the earth;
therefore I will punish you
for all your sins.”
3 Do two walk together
unless they have agreed to do so?
4 Does a lion roar in the thicket
when it has no prey?
Does it growl in its den
when it has caught nothing?
5 Does a bird swoop down to a trap on the ground
when no bait is there?
Does a trap spring up from the ground
if it has not caught anything?
6 When a trumpet sounds in a city,
do not the people tremble?
When disaster comes to a city,
has not the Lord caused it?
7 Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing
without revealing his plan
to his servants the prophets.
8 The lion has roared—
who will not fear?
The Sovereign Lord has spoken—
who can but prophesy?
9 Proclaim to the fortresses of Ashdod
and to the fortresses of Egypt:
“Assemble yourselves on the mountains of Samaria;
see the great unrest within her
and the oppression among her people.”
10 “They do not know how to do right,” declares the Lord,
“who store up in their fortresses
what they have plundered and looted.”
11 Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“An enemy will overrun your land,
pull down your strongholds
and plunder your fortresses.”
12 This is what the Lord says:
“As a shepherd rescues from the lion’s mouth
only two leg bones or a piece of an ear,
so will the Israelites living in Samaria be rescued,
with only the head of a bed
and a piece of fabric from a couch.”
13 “Hear this and testify against the descendants of Jacob,” declares the Lord, the Lord God Almighty.
14 “On the day I punish Israel for her sins,
I will destroy the altars of Bethel;
the horns of the altar will be cut off
and fall to the ground.
15 I will tear down the winter house
along with the summer house;
the houses adorned with ivory will be destroyed
and the mansions will be demolished,”
declares the Lord.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
God has chosen you in Christ to be his child. Spend some time praising him and thanking him.
A small child runs into a busy road and is narrowly missed by a car. Mum is quite stern in her anger and metes out punishment. Why? Because of the special relationship she has with her child. Similarly, Israel had been privileged to be chosen by God out of all humanity to be his instrument for representing him to the rest of the world. He has lavished his love on the people, delivered them from slavery in Egypt, and has solemnly covenanted with them. They are his children in a special way. So when they repudiate that covenant and risk losing their relationship with God, he must resort to drastic means. God “shouts in our pains” today, too. Allowing us to undergo very hard times can sometimes be his way of drawing us back to himself.
The lion has roared (8). In answer to Israel’s unheard protests, Amos argues from an observed result to an assumed cause. If the result is calamity, the cause has to be God’s doing—“When disaster comes to a city, has not the Lord caused it?” (6b)—and Amos has no choice but to announce it (8b). Actually, sending Amos reflects God’s incredible mercy, for God does not desire the death of the wicked. His design is to lead them to repentance.
Israel is judged for failing to meet the responsibilities of her election. This is a sobering thought for God’s people today, who have been chosen to be his “holy nation” to declare his saving acts to the world. His choice of us carries with it responsibility. We are chosen not simply for the privilege of knowing God, the joy of forgiveness and the certainty of eternal life, but also—and inextricably—to serve God’s purpose of bringing salvation to his beloved world.
How well are you serving God’s purpose of bringing salvation to his world?
Lord, Your people understand the responsibility connected with being placed into Your family.