What a metaphor God uses here in this teachable moment: a cup filled with his wrath to be shared. His anger overflows to other nations, not just Judah! God directed Jeremiah to the nations sharing in this promise of doom. They were surrounding nations and those, like Egypt, who had done business or had association in some way with Judah.
I’m unsure how Jeremiah would “make” those other nations drink. What does that even mean exactly? But Jeremiah claims to have been successful on that mission. Can you imagine what the other nations thought after hearing the God of Israel was not only pouring out his wrath on his own people but on them, too! Whether they listened or not is unknown. The time was coming when they’d be “crazed by the warfare” God was sending their way.
Can you imagine the abuse Jeremiah would have taken for being the messenger of this recitation from God. This is not a popular message. Nobody likes to be spoken about in a negative light. Certainly, what Jeremiah said about God’s people was true. Sometimes the truth can be brutal.
What emotions stirred for you when you read this passage? Right off the bat, I felt a bit defensive for God. The persons he described had abandoned him and hurt him deeply. The words may be harsh, but we can’t say they aren’t true.
What a great conclusion to the book of Micah which began with a resounding declaration of doom for Judah and Israel! How fitting that Micah closes this book with what seems almost like a prayer or song reminding us of God’s grace.
Jesus called himself the good shepherd in John 10. Micah uses that image, and I can’t help but think of Jesus. A shepherd guides his sheep and protects their welfare. Even so, the world will see and be amazed at what the Lord will do for us. I long for the day when people will “cover their mouths in silent awe, deaf to everything around them.” Can you even imagine?
We have the fifth and final vision Amos records for us. This one is special because of God’s presence seen by Amos at the altar. There are very few people who have seen God, so Amos is immediately set apart as belonging to a special class of God’s ambassadors. We can also be ambassadors for God in our own circles and beyond. What does that look like for you?
In this intimate encounter, God confirms all of the messages he has already given Amos. This vision is thought to be one Amos received at a time later than the other visions. Take a moment to just let these words settle. “Then I saw a vision of the Lord standing beside the altar.” Seeing God is an honor I can only imagine having. How will it feel?
Known as the “love chapter,” we see here how God desires us to live. That has been our focus over the past week. What a powerful passage to bring this theme to a conclusion. We know we are to love God and love others. But what is love? These verses beautifully showcase what love is as well as what it is not.
Paul uses actions words to describe love; it’s patient and kind. Love is not merely a feeling at all. When we love someone else, we exhibit patience and kindness towards them. If you struggle at times, it might help to think about the patience and kindness God has extended to you. It’s hard to say we love someone if we’re mean to them. Our love will be tested by circumstance, but even in the hard times love will prevail in the ways described here.