March 24, 2012

Today you should read: Amos 1:1-15

A reflection of your neighbor…

Well, today we are beginning the book of Amos!  This is a great story of God’s justice in punishing sin, yet proclaiming hope for the future.

Background:

Amos is a prophet of the Lord, who was by nature not anything special.  He was a shepherd, yet he was special in the eyes of the Lord.  He proclaimed what God wanted him to say to Israel in the midst of adversity.  No one liked him in Israel because of the message that he proclaimed.  He came telling Israel that they were on the brink of destruction.  God was going to destroy His own people for not staying faithful to the covenant He made with them.  The people didn’t listen.

Amos proclaimed this message during the same time period as Hosea.  Israel was rich, they were comfortable, they did as they pleased, and they worshiped Baal with horrible practices.

Amos 1:
Here, in Amos 1 and leading into Amos 2, God uses a special tactic.  You see, although Israel was worshiping Baal and disobeying the Lord, they still thought they were good since they were God’s chosen nation.  Their thoughts maybe went like this… “I’m God’s favorite and His chosen, I can dabble in sin and treat others wrongly and He will still like me best and make me prosper.”

So God starts the beginning of the chapter by describing the sin and impending destruction on the neighboring nations.  The neighbors of Israel were described in certain ways using certain structure, AND THEN, leading into chapter 2, Israel is described in the same way.  The purpose of all that you read in chapter 1 is to establish that Israel is just like the rest of the world.  They were supposed to be different; they were God’s people!!  Yet they look exactly the same as the world.

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

If you are God’s chosen, a son or daughter of His, your life is not supposed to look like your neighbor’s.  It’s not supposed to look like your friend’s life that doesn’t know Christ.  You are different.

Romans 12:2 says:

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

As Christians, we are supposed to be in the world, but not of the world.  So is your life a reflection of your neighbor’s?

Here are some questions for thought:

1.  What sin in my life looks just like the sin of the world?
2.  Am I trying to look like the world because of fear of what they’ll think of me?
3.  What is my life supposed to look like as God’s chosen?
4.  What steps do I need to take to fix it?

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione