Have you ever thought about what God “feels”? Is it possible that we ever hurt God’s feelings? I know I’m projecting my feeble humanity on God, and that is pretty limiting in and of itself. But our text would suggest that God is frustrated with his wayward children.
I don’t think there’s a parent alive, or anyone that has worked with children, that hasn’t had moments when pulling our hair out seems like the best option. Unruly children can be exhausting. Each time we have to remind them the reasons good behavior is expected, the more frustrated we can become. I’m sensing a bit of frustration in Amos’ prophecy from God. Will the people never understand?
Apparently, they must be reminded again of what God has done for them as a people. Their own history suggests many times God has come to their rescue. Why is it so hard for them to want to listen to such a giving God? It’s easy for us to point fingers at them for not listening, but I’m sure we have all had times in our lives when we’ve forged ahead thinking our agenda was brilliant. Sadly, with each failure we recognize that God was not part of that decision, we only thought he was. When is the last time you really listened for God’s voice before making a decision?
I’m seeing firsthand how a friend is dealing with some very trying circumstances in her ministry. She has people surrounding her that are pressuring her to move and do things she is not ready to do. Why is she not ready? Even though she has the support of her peers, she hasn’t gotten the confirmation from God. Her faithful perseverance in waiting on God is not only refreshing, it’s speaking volumes to those in her community.
The Israelites could do a better job of waiting on God, listening to the message he is giving them. Amos’ words from God merely remind the people of what they or their ancestors have witnessed. God then pronounces his judgment and let’s them see how there is no way for them to save themselves anymore. Other prophets would have given them the message to repent.
But the time has come for the Israelites to hear what happens next because of their disobedience. “From among all the families on the earth, I have been intimate with you alone. That is why I must punish you for all your sins.” Each time we approach God in prayer, we now have intimate moments like he shared with the Israelites. Do we think we are immune to punishment?
Some will say, “we’re safe now, Jesus saves us.” That’s true, Jesus saves us, and I am beyond grateful for the sacrifice he has made on my behalf. But I don’t think that salvation precludes me from the corrections God can make to keep me on track and keep me alert for the evil that surrounds me and wants to devour me.
What do you see God’s message here to be? How is it speaking to us today? Wrestle with that and reflect on the message God has for you today.
Let’s pray. Lord, forgive me for those times when I forge ahead without thinking of you or including you in my plans. Forgive me, too, when I don’t give you the honor you are due, I never mean to hurt your feelings. Help me always be mindful and careful not to take credit for your provisions. I am grateful for all the great things you have done in my life and want to glorify you in all I say and do. In Jesus’ name. Amen.