Amazing grace, awful sinFriday, December 7, 2012
There's something particularly horrible about having a gift thrown back in your face. Yet that is exactly what God's people sometimes do with God's great and generous love for them.
Surprise! Another nation
Amos has a cunning strategy that he sometimes uses to nseak up on his readers. He tells his readers seven things. Because seven is a complete number, they think he has finished; then he adds one more, with a sting in the tail.
Read Amos 2 v 6-8
- - What nation is now in focus? Why is it particularly sad to find this nation in this list of sinful nations.
- - What sort of sins are highlighted?
- - How many sins are listed? Why this number?
Read verses 13-16
This was a time when the nation floried in its wealth and power. God refers to both here: an overloaded cart will crush Israel; her warriors will be overcome.
- - How many punishments will Israel's army suffer? Why this number? What point is being made, do you think?
Responding to God's kindness
Read verses 9-11
Nazirites were men uniquely dedicated to God's service. They set an example to the people of how to live for the LORD. One outward sign of their devotion was never to touch alcohol.
- - What great kindnesses has God shown to Israel in verses 9, 10, 11?
Read verse 12
- - How did Israel corrupt His good gifts to them?
Two of God's greatest gifts to us are His word and godly leadership. To take them and compromise them is a terrible abuse of God's kindness.
It is much easier for us to notice the sin of those outside God's people than for us to acknowledge and admit how those who call themselves His people are rejecting His loving rule.
Israel probably nodded along to 1 v 3 - 2 v 5, and would have wanted to ignore Amos' words to them.
- - How can you ensure you're as quick to see your own sinful flaws as you are those of others?
- - If God were giving a report on your own church fellowship today, what would He praise? What would He challenge?
- - What are you going to do about the challenges?
This devotional is taken from Explore—a daily Bible-reading devotional from The Good Book Company which enables you to engage with Scripture and which will encourage, equip and inspire you to live for Christ. Explore features contributions from pastors such as Dr Timothy Keller, Mike McKinley and Tim Chester.
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