Archive for the ‘Amos’ Category

Word for Today – Amos 9:11

Here is the last entry of my Bible musings. I’m so glad that Amos ended on an encouraging note. The Personality post will begin next week. Blessings, Shona.

Repair, Raise Up, and Rebuild

I am never disappointed when I study the Old Testament prophets. Sobered . . . yes. Disappointed . . . never! Amos takes us to some hard places, but the last few verses of his book leave us with hope.

“On that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen, and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old” (Amos 9:11 NRSV).

Reading all the judgment contained in Amos take us places we’d rather avoid, but God works even in the midst of our darkest days. I know the verse I am about to share is every Christian’s backup quote when friends or family in distress, but, truly, there is power behind the words of Romans 8:28:

“We know that all things work together for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”

(more…)

Posted by on June 24th, 2011 No Comments

Word for Today – Amos 8:12

Run To and Fro

God is speaking, once again, to Amos through the vision of the fruit. So far, Amos’ intervention has prevented God from administering the punishment Israel deserved. However, Israel remains, like the basket of fruit in Amos 8:1, ripe for judgment.

Verses 9 and 10 describe the pain Israel will sow after reaping ungodly attitudes and actions. But what stands out to me in this section of Scripture is the shortage that will accompany Israel’s mourning:

“The time is surely coming, says the Lord God, when I will send a famine on the land; not a famine of bread, or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it” (Amos 8:11-12 NRSV).

With Christian bookstores still in existence, churches on every corner, and all the spiritual resources on the Internet, it’s hard to imagine God’s Word not being readily available. I’m always running into the statistic that the Bible is the number one selling book of all time. Who knows, maybe there will not be a physical shortage of biblical material, but rather of spiritual inspiration for understanding. I don’t know, but either way, I cannot imagine a famine of God Word.

Talk of such a shortage makes me wonder what we, as Christians, have to pass down as far as knowledge. What kind of spiritual legacy do we share with others? I can only share my own experiences. In my little circle of life, I’ve seen Christians who possess little interest in the deeper things of God. I’ve seen other with a voracious appetite to grow. I’ve been around non-Christians with favorable views of Jesus, but not so much of Christians.

In Amos’ day, it seems that very few emulated God, and Amos warned of the judgment they were sowing. And part of that judgment included a famine of God’s Word.

Are we headed in that direction? A time is coming when God’s message will not be as readily available as it is today. People will run to and fro, but will not find it. That is an unmistakable signal for us to take full advantage of Christian resources while we have them. There will come a time when the main influence in a lost world is the contents of our hearts and minds.

Let’s devour God’s Word and hide it in our hearts and minds. Encouraging and equipping others multiplies godly lives. There is powerful living in God’s Word.

Word for Today: People will run to and fro, let them find God’s knowledge and wisdom in you.

Posted by on June 22nd, 2011 No Comments

Word for Today – Amos 9:1

Not One of Them Will Escape

As we dive into the last chapter of Amos, it is as if judgement bombs are exploding all around us. God has been rumbling at Israel throughout the entire book, and Amos, like a good weatherman, faithfully warned the people of the coming storm. But in both the literal and prophetic sense, the storm will not be stopped.

“I saw the Lord standing beside the altar, and he said: ‘Strike the capitols until the thresholds shake, and shatter them on the heads of all the people; and those who are left I will kill with the sword; not one of them shall flee away, not one of them shall escape'” (Amos 9:1 NRSV).

Passages like this confuse people . . . Christian and non-Christian alike. It is hard for us to reconcile a loving God who shakes the world to its core and wields a life-taking sword. Isn’t he suppose to be the God of Kumbaya?


He is the One and only God. He is present everywhere, including the warm, fuzzy moments by the campfire. But he is much, much more. He is love and righteousness. (more…)

Posted by on June 20th, 2011 No Comments

Word for Today – Amos 8:2

What Do You See?

Amos 8. Wow, I’ll admit I pulled out a commentary on this one. I was able to grasp the judgement in the latter part of book, because it seems all the other chapters have been leading up it. However, I wanted to focus on the beautiful basket of summer fruit, but I needed some assistance understanding that vision.

In previous posts we’ve looked at Israel’s lack of compassion and Jacob’s pride and, honestly, I didn’t want to go there again. I can only present judgment from so many angles before it seems I am beating a dead horse, and I thought a beautiful basket of fruit would be a nice change. I am thankful for J. Vernon McGee who offered insights on this topic.

“This is what the Lord God showed me–a basket of summer fruit. He said, ‘Amos, what do you see?’ And I said, ‘A basket of summer fruit’” (Amos 8:1-2 NRSV). (more…)

Posted by on June 19th, 2011 No Comments

Word for Today – Amos 7:12

Flee Away

Being a prophet was not an easy profession. Just ask Elijah, Jeremiah, Jonah, and Amos. Prophets are not known for only foretelling coming events, but they also proclaimed timely and often unpopular messages to the people. Such was the case with Amos.

Amaziah, the priest at Bethel, could be considered the precursor to today’s modern tattle-tale or trouble maker. He ran to King Jeroboam of Israel and “tattled” on Amos. Not because the prophet did anything wrong, but more so because Amaziah did not like Amos’ message: the truth.

After wagging his tongue to the king, this so-called leader slinks backs to Amos:

“‘O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, earn your bread there, and prophesy there, but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is the temple of the kingdom’” (Amos 8:12-13 NRSV).

(more…)

Posted by on June 15th, 2011 No Comments

Word for Today – Amos 7:8

A Plumb Line

Amos 7 started out with God refraining from judgements of locusts and fire on the people of Israel. However, after Amos and God’s discussion of judgement God starts talking tools:

“See, I am setting a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel; I will never again pass them by’ (Amos 7:8 NRSV).

A plumb line is used to ensure the straightness of line such as a wall, an edge, etc. Several years ago I wall papered my kitchen. I was a little worried about the straightness of my project since I have a tendency to hang things cock-eyed. Everything I put up tilts a tad to the right. Thankfully my wallpaper-hanging kit included a plumb line that help me hang the paper straight and avoid seasickness in my kitchen.

Israel was in desperate need of a plumb line because their lives became cock-eyed as a nation. The plumb line was God’s provision for his people; a spiritual tool to show them how crooked they had become as a result of their individual and corporate sin. (more…)

Posted by on June 13th, 2011 No Comments

Word for Today – Amos 7:2

How Can Jacob Stand?

My Bible subtitles Amos 7 “Vision of Judgement.” Here we go again – a somber, but necessary lesson using not less than locust. Sigh.

Every summer as a young girl my family spent time with my grandparents in central Oklahoma. The hot and humid environment hosted a smorgasbord of bugs that I never encounter in my arid home state of New Mexico. The only ones I liked were the fireflies that lit up the evening sky. But, the grasshoppers…ew, need I say more?

Although grasshoppers are bit different than locust in their behavior, every time I see “locus” in the Bible, the plentiful varieties of grasshoppers in rural Oklahoma are my reference point, and God gets my attention.

As a city-slicker child on the farm, I tried my best to stay away from those creep crawlers, but they were unavoidable when we headed to the fishing pond behind grandma and grandpa’s house. They jumped in my hair, my clothes, my exposed flesh, and, I’m not afraid to admit it, I screamed like a girl! (more…)

Posted by on June 9th, 2011 No Comments

Word for Today – Amos 6:8

I Abhor the Pride of Jacob

OK folks, another post from Amos that probably will not leave you with the warm fuzzies, but when God speaks it is always good to pay attention.

“The Lord God has sworn to himself (says the Lord, the God of hosts): I abhor the pride of Jacob and hate his strongholds” (Amos 6:8 NRSV).

When I read this section I wondered why God singled Jacob out as an example of pride. After flipping around in my Bible I found a few things that, I think, pointed me in the right direction.

(more…)

Posted by on May 23rd, 2011 No Comments

Word for Today – Amos 6:1

Alas For Those Who Are at Ease

I did not have to go far into Amos 6 to find a verse that captured my attention.

“Alas for those who are at ease in Zion” (Amos 6:1 NRSV).

Experience tells me that many things go wrong when we feel too at ease, too comfortable. I used to play in a bell choir, and I usually performed better if I didn’t do so well during the dress rehearsal. But, if I had a perfect practice, I felt more at ease going into the performance and usually made the silliest mistakes. Being less than perfect so close to the actual performance kept my mind sharp, otherwise I let my guard down.

I’ve seen this principle in play many times: a winning sports team gets too at ease with their winning season only to lose to a team with a more ravenous appetite for victory. I’ve heard it said that many drowning victims are excellent swimmers who let their guard down in the water, and that people who get too used to luxury forget about reality. Feeling too at ease often leads to complacency.

Complacency! That’s exactly what, according to Amos 6, happened to those people Amos is targeting with his message: (more…)

Posted by on May 4th, 2011 No Comments

Word for Today – Amos 5:21

I Despise Your Festivals

One of the most profound things about Christianity is the thing many people miss . . . relationship! It took me years to figure out Jesus is about relationship and not so much about religion.

” I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies” (Amos 5:21 NRSV).

But wait, you may ask, isn’t church a solemn assembly that Christians attend every Sunday morning and sometimes even on Wednesday evening? Isn’t it unchristian not to celebrate Christmas and Easter? What about personal quiet time or our scheduled prayer time? Shona, are you telling me that God does not like those things?

Well, even though I am not a theologian, I would have to answer, yes, there are times when God probably doesn’t like your efforts in those areas. He says so right here in His own words recorded in Amos, so I think it’s important to consider God’s perspective. He wants relationship at the top of your spiritual “to-do” list.

We see the same desire when Jesus addressed the Pharisees in the Gospel of Matthew. He called these religious leaders a brood of vipers and told them to bear “‘fruit worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:7-8 NRSV), because they were more worried about their rituals than the conditions of their hearts and their conduct toward others.

(more…)

Posted by on May 1st, 2011 2 Comments