Today’s Bible Reading: Amos 7-9:15; Revelation 3:7-22; Psalm 131:1-3; Proverbs 29:23
Today in Amos we read about two visions the Lord gave Amos about Israel’s potential future. One vision involved God sending a plague of locusts to wipe out the harvest (Amos 7:1). The second vision involved God sending a great fire onto Israel (Amos 7:4). But in each case Amos prays to God asking Him to forgive them (Amos 7:2, 5). And in each case God relents (Amos 7:3, 6)
Some will criticize the Bible over passages like this because they seemingly show a weak God who can be manipulated by man. But that is not the message of these passages at all. The message is that God responds to prayer. He may not always answer the way we want (although He did in these two cases). But He does hear us. And He does give us an answer. Sometimes the answer is “yes”. Sometimes the answer is “no”.
We cannot completely understand how God’s mind works. Nor should we expect to, being the creation – a less intelligent life form. There are some things about God we can understand completely and some we can’t. But too many people dismiss the Bible over passages like this because they claim they need to understand before they will believe. But not understanding everything is not an excuse to not believe anything.
When Amos speaks a prophecy against King Jeroboam of Israel one of the false priests spreads a lie that Amos is plotting to overthrow the king (Amos 7:10). I think Christians are viewed the same way today. We see the mistakes that our culture is making and the future that will bring so we speak out about it. But people don’t want to hear it because, like this false priest, they fear that their income from sin (i.e. abortion, pornography, etc) will dry up. So they spread lies when the wiser thing to do is obey God.
Notice that Amos was not a prophet by choice (Amos 7:14). He was simply responding to God’s calling. No matter who you are, if you belong to God, He is most likely calling you to serve Him in some capacity. Don’t think you need special training. Amos didn’t. I am not a professional writer, although I enjoy writing. I just felt compelled to write this blog as a service to God. It has helped me understand Him more and hopefully has been of benefit to those who have read it.
Jesus dictates two more letters to churches today in Revelation. The first is to the church in Philadelphia, Turkey. This church was located on the edge of civilized society and, as such, had an evangelistic opportunity to the barbarians who lived beyond it (Revelation 3:8). Despite the persecution they were receiving by the Jews who rejected the Christian movement, this church refused to back down from the truth. Jesus promises that such people – those who persevere without denying Him – will be saved from trouble during the Great Tribulation period which is still to come (Revelation 3:10). Many believe this protection will come in the form of The Rapture.
The final letter dictated by Jesus is the harshest. It was directed to the church in Laodicea and is the only letter without anything positive to say. In this letter Jesus criticizes the church as being lukewarm when it would have been better for them to be either cold or hot (Revelation 3:14). The Laodiceans had become wealthy and then subsequently lazy in their relationship with God (Revelation 3:15). They came to conclusion that they didn’t need Him. They didn’t reject Him outright – but they didn’t worship Him actively either.
Hot and cold water each have uses. But lukewarm water has no real use. As such, God has no use for lukewarm, or indifferent, followers. What Jesus wants is to be part of our lives (Revelation 3:19). Notice that He isn’t going to break the door down. He is going to stand on the outside and knock waiting for the invitation to enter. It is our decision to open the door of our hearts and welcome Him in.
I think it is really hard for us to admit that we have our limitations, either as individuals or as a race. But the fact is we cannot understand everything. To think otherwise is pride (Psalms 131:1). There are somethings about God, for example, that we simply cannot understand. But that should not prevent us from being open to having a relationship with Him.
Proverbs 29:23 expands on this idea today. The only thing that can result from pride is humiliation. Those people who are too prideful to believe in Jesus will be humbled when they see Him face to face. While those who live in humility – not thinking too much or too little of themselves – will be rewarded.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.