March 29, 2012

Today you should read: Amos 5

Which Amos do you know better: the cookie or the minor prophet? Let’s be honest: the cookie. But the “not-so-famous Amos” packs quite a punch in a few brief chapters.

While much of what Amos wrote about is future prophecy and the “Day of the Lord” (see my previous post on that here), there are some great verses in this chapter that apply to us today, especially concerning repentance and faith. In fact, the most “famous Amos” verses are found here:

“Seek Me and live…” (4b)

“Seek the Lord and live…” (6a)

“Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the LORD, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said.” (14)

Notice a theme here? This is great stuff. Sadly, though, it has become mere church-talk or “Christianese” instead of a reality in our lives. I know it can be true of all of us: talking about following God and not actually doing it. This is the mark of a Pharisee. They were religious zealots, they knew the law, but their hearts were far from God. These are verses we need to heed, not just read.

Another convicting thought from this passage comes from verse 12a:

“For I know how many are your transgressions and how great are your sins…”

It reminds me that no sin is beyond the gaze of my God. He knows all and I need to quit pretending like He doesn’t see them. He desires true repentance and obedience.

Enough from me. What insights did you glean from today’s reading, CPC?

Posted by: Todd Thomas

Author: Center Point Church

A multi-campus church in central Kentucky. Our mission is to take everyone we meet one step closer to becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ.

6 thoughts on “March 29, 2012”

  1. Good post Todd! I must confess, I knew more about the cookie than the minor prophet until reading Jumpstart this week. My favorite verse from chapter 5 is v.24. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never failing stream! Do I pursue the things of God each day like justice and righteousness? God grant me the courage and strength each day to follow You and your precepts.

    P.S. Todd, thanks for making me crave a chocolate chip cookie at 5:45a.m.

  2. I don’t think it is coincidence that Amos warns the people not to follow after idols multiple times…..in every chapter. Verse 5 and 6, in chapter 5, particularly and explicitly warn about this. In verse 10, he goes on to tell how the people despise those who tell the truth. And then….the warning in verses 18-27 makes it pretty clear that God takes this very seriously! It also reminds me that often there are times that we have a blind spot to these idols. They can take many forms. I know I’ve certainly been there, ashamedly so, in my life. The best medicine…..as difficult as it is at times, is as we have been reminded….to truly and genuinely ask God to test our hearts. We can count on the sovereign God who loves us endlessly to come through when we pray that prayer. And the most wonderful part of that time of testing and revelation…..is that he welcomes us with the love that only he can……when we return to him wholeheartedly!! How grateful I am for his redemption, forgiveness, and reconcillation.

  3. What do you think our Father is saying in these verses?
    ““I hate all your show and pretense—
        the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies.
    22 I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings.
        I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings.
    23 Away with your noisy hymns of praise!
        I will not listen to the music of your harps.”

    Do you think HE is saying “putting on a show or event” isn’t what it’s about? Is HE angry that we put so much thought into putting together and planning event or services that we forget why and for who we are doing it? Or is it something else HE is saying? Would like your interpretation…..

    1. I think the verses are explained in the following verses ( 24-26). The reason God hates these things and does not accept them is because of the hearts behind them. God looks at the heart ( 1 Samuel 16:7). It is about the heart motivation. I think another good place to see this is in psalm 51. David says in verses 16 and 17 that God does not desire sacrifice but rather a broken and repentant heart. Then, David says in verse 19, once your heart is right, the sacrifices are pleasing to Him. It is not that God hates events or services, but rather that He wants it to come from a heart for Him. It is all about the heart motivation.

  4. Everybody: great thoughts!

    @Mike: every time I read Amos, I crave the cookie! That’s why I couldn’t help myself in taking about it. I love the question you posed: “Do I pursue the things of God each day like justice and righteousness?” Very good thought for all of us to wrestle with.

    @Tina: you are right. Addressing the issue of idolatry time and again in all of the prophets is by no accident. Makes me think of some important words God gave to Moses:

    “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:3-6 ESV)

    @Renee: good thoughts. Context is helpful, and personal application is necessary too! First: God is not disgusted with the festivals. In fact, HE instituted them! He gave them these festivals/memorials/sabbath worship as times for them to remember all He had done for them and to worship Him. The issue at hand is who was doing these events/festivals/worship services. He is disgusted with the people who put them on. Like I said in the post: their hearts were far from Him. It is a great reminder that much thought and prayer need to go into ALL that we do. Our “religious” services/events, and our business, work, family, etc. God needs to be the center of all of it. More than that… He needs to be the very center of our lives.

    @Sarah: convicting song! Thanks for sharing. It is an important reminder. We need to “plead for the orphan” and “defend the widow”. That’s why I love what we are doing with ICM, and especially in our area with Hayes and Community Emphasis Month. It’s a great time for all of us as Christians to meet needs, serve, and “let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never failing stream!”. But at the end of the day, if our hearts are not right in our serving, all we’ve done is practice self-righteousness. Jesus isn’t too fond of that either. Let’s tie together these two verses to make sure that we’re in the right place:

    You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (Deuteronomy 6:5 ESV) &
    Serve the Lord with gladness! (Psalm 100:2a ESV)

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