Today’s readings… (Nehemiah 11, (Amos 3), (1 Timothy 6)
We are reading the prophecy of Amos at the moment. We realize that the word ‘prophecy’ in many cases does not mean predicting the future, but rather messages from God about his observations and attitude toward the present state of things – with lessons taken from the past. Amos lived in Israel’s northern kingdom and he brought the inhabitants warnings about their increasing ungodliness, Of course these warnings often included predictions as to how God will act “for the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets” [3 v.7] and the northern kingdom had more and more warnings from the prophets before it was destroyed.
Amos makes some blunt statements about his responsibility before God, “the lion has roared who will not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken who can but prophesy?” [v.8] He parallels God speaking with the fear humans felt when a lion roared nearby – for there were no zoos in those days! But who took notice of messages from God? Who takes notice today of His word?
Israel was falling into spiritual darkness like the world is today, “’They do not know how to do right’, declares the LORD” [v.10] – our world today is just as bad – and getting worse, especially its failure to do ‘right’ as God sees what is ‘right’!
The most challenging question in today’s chapter is “Does disaster come to a city unless the LORD has done it? [v.6] The disasters the Creator particularly brings are the things he controls and not humans – these are seen in earthquakes, plagues, tsunami’s, droughts, floods, fires and massive storms – today we see these things multiplying!
Of course the secrets God revealed “to his servants the prophets included specific prophecies such as we looked at in Joel’s prophecy yesterday. The most challenging to us are those about the scattering and regathering of God’s nation – Israel – and above all – the return of Jesus Christ at a time of the world’s greatest trouble (Matt, 24 v.21-30) with its epicentre in the Middle East, especially around Jerusalem.
That will be the time when Moses’ question to the people in the wilderness will be repeated, “”Who is on the LORD’s side? Come to me” [Exodus 32 v.26] And those who really know “The Lord God has spoken” will show that they are – will you?