Today’s readings.. (Nehemiah 13), (Amos 5), (2 Timothy 2)
What do you desire? Many children will be starting to have in mind what they desire as Christmas presents! As we continue to read the prophet Amos we note how he states, “Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! Why would you have the day of the LORD?” [5 v.18] This verse provides food for much thought. We desire the Day of the LORD! Why? We long for the day when our Saviour comes when he reigns over all the earth and will control the nations as we will read in Micah next week (Ch.4 v.1-3).
What kind of people desire the “day of the Lord” – when they should not? They were only hearing half the message of the prophets, and turning a ‘deaf ear’ to the parts they did not like, or did not understand. It is like that today when many churchgoers think God is purely a God of love and only select the Bible verses that appear to tell them that. A contemporary of Amos was Obadiah whose short message we will read on Friday. He prophesied of the time when “the day of the LORD is near upon all nations” [1 v.15] Some people in Israel were looking for that day to come – so that their enemies would be destroyed, blind to the fact that they deserved destruction too!
Only those truly trying to walk righteously in the sight of God should desire the day of the LORD, knowing it will be a time of great distress for the world as a whole. The day of the Lord that was coming on the northern nation of Israel in those days would particularly affect certain classes of people; note what Amos writes, “Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory and stretch themselves out on their couches … who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp … invent for themselves instruments of music, who drink wine in bowls and anoint themselves with the finest oils …” [6 v.4-6]
Those words of Amos are very appropriate for way many live today, they live for the here and now, they find it impossible to believe in any long term future. Let us make sure we desire the day of the LORD for the right reasons being fully aware of what is to take place on that ultimate day. ‘Day’ does not mean 24 hours – remember our reading of Joel’s prophecy a few days ago.
Finally, take to heart the words in v.14,15 in today’s chapter, “Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the LORD, the God of hosts, will be with you … Hate evil, and love good …” May that we the way we think, live and desire to see happen – knowing that when our Lord comes, he will welcome such people into his kingdom..