The Nation of Israel was enjoying a time of prosperity…but with this great prosperity came great division between the rich and poor. And because of it, the people became self-reliant, prideful, and walked away from God. Amos’s message to the people was that of denouncing their privileged life-style that exploited the poor, and calling them to repentance. He warned them of the consequences of their complacency in not doing what was morally right and just for all. Amos was a contemporary of the Prophet Isaiah who wrote in Isaiah 1:17, “Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of fatherless, plead the case of the widow.”
The Corona virus has us all weary with battle fatigue and frightened at this invisible enemy that has invaded our land. So today I would encourage you to take a step back, turn off the continuous loop of news shows, and as this verse exhorts, “consider what great things He has done for you.” Reflect on God’s mercy and providence if all your family and friends are healthy and safe. Contemplate His goodness if you have plenty of food in the house and are not in need. Meditate on His hand of protection that is keeping the vast majority of people safe in our Nation. Finally, ponder all the simple things God has done for you personally this week just to say, “I’m with you and I love you.”
Maybe you’ve never thought about God…but I can tell you this, He has always been thinking about you. Maybe you’ve never taken the time to search out answers you have about God…but trust me, He’s been making Himself known to you on a daily basis. Just take a look around…everything, including yourself, was created by Him. You don’t even have to initiate a conversation with some far off God…for He is already right there beside you, gently saying, “Here am I, here am I.”
We are to continue to love one another as family, even when the family unit becomes dysfunctional. For we can choose our friends, but we’re born into a family…and family last forever. So, regardless how messy it may get, as Christians, we’re to love each other with a brotherly love out of the common bond of Jesus Christ. Because the commonality we have with each other is far stronger than any friction.
Paul had not been with the Believers of the Church in Corinth for about three years. But he had gotten wind of the abuses that were happening concerning the Lord’s Supper…or if you will, Holy Communion or the Eucharist. Here he was instructing them to stop and soberly scrutinize and determine whether they were worthy of taking Communion…before they partook. When something becomes so ritualistic and automatic, we tend to perform it without thinking…going through the motions without allowing it to impact us. We are to examine ourselves first, before we participate…for who better to ascertain our own spiritual condition than us? And don’t worry, what you choose to ignore…the Holy Spirit will be faithful to point it out!
Jesus was spending time here teaching His disciples about priorities. He started out, by encouraging them not to be worried because they didn’t possess the “things” that the world viewed as valuable. Jesus instead told them to, “Seek first the kingdom of God.” In other words, when our priorities are in the right place…God first, Family next, the World last… God will bless and take care of us.
When we allow the wise counsel of the Holy Spirit to direct and guide our decisions…our decisions will be excellent ones. When we listen to that still small voice rather than blurting out the first thing that comes to mind…our words will be timely and principled. When our plans align with God’s plans for us…we can stand firm with integrity and strength, knowing we are right where God wants us…in the center of His Will.
Do you realize just how much God loves you? He’s not stingy or tight-fisted with His compassion towards you. Nor does His unconditional love depend on how good you are any peculiar day …or how many “works” you have on your mental score-sheet. God’s grace and love towards you is generous, abundant, and more than enough to cover anything that happens to you today.
Over a lifetime, you’ll probably be able to count those special Christian friends on just one hand. But there’ll be one person, one very unique friendship that will stick out in your mind. A bond between the two of you that defies time, miles, and blood…a brother or sister in the Lord, that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt, will be there for you, no matter what. Jonathan and David had that type of relationship…a connection that David called, “wonderful, a love more wonderful than that of women.” (II Samuel 1:25-26) If you haven’t reached out to this special person in a while, I urge you to do it today…if nothing more than to just thank them for their friendship, and celebrate the love you have for each other in Christ.
The important part of this Scripture is not what is said, but rather the space of time between when the building of the Temple stopped and it was restarted. For it was 16 years that no work was done at the building site. How many people do you think looked at the Temple foundation year after year and considered all the work a loss? We will all have setbacks in life…times when our forward motion is hampered or even stopped for a season… and we don’t know why. This delay is not a time to declare defeat…for with God, any setback is only temporary in His timetable. And if we have faith and persevere, any delay will have success in the end.